United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
SUBMIT NEW EVIDENCE
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by
Defendant BRC Rubber & Plastics, Inc. (“BRC”)
(Filing No. 34). Also pending before the Court is a Motion
for Leave to Submit Newly Discovered Evidence in Opposition
to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Plaintiff Byron Roderick (“Roderick”) (Filing No.
39). Roderick filed this lawsuit after he felt he had
experienced discrimination and harassment based on his sexual
orientation at BRC, his former place of employment. In his
Amended Complaint, Roderick asserts a claim for sex
discrimination and harassment under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.
(“Title VII”). For the following reasons,
Roderick's Motion to submit new evidence is
denied and BRC's summary judgment motion
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the facts are
presented in the light most favorable to Roderick as the
non-moving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d
582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
a rubber and plastic injection molding company that operates
a manufacturing plant in Hartford City, Indiana, where it
makes rubber injection molding for the automotive industry
(Filing No. 34-2 at 2). After working at BRC for twenty-three
years Roderick resigned his employment at BRC on June 1,
2017, alleging discrimination and harassment based on his
sexual orientation. Roderick is an openly gay male, and
during his employment at BRC, most of the employees were
aware that he is gay (Filing No. 34-1 at 2, 5, 8).
began working at BRC on November 10, 1993 as a press
operator. About six months later, he moved into the position
of lead quality employee on the day shift in the quality
department at BRC's Hartford City plant, where he
remained for most of his of employment. The quality
department day shift consisted of two individuals auditing
parts on the floor and three individuals in the office, which
included Roderick in the office. Linda Overmyer
(“Overmyer”) was Roderick's supervisor for
nine years in the quality department. Id. at 5-6.
several years, Roderick had workplace attendance problems.
BRC provided multiple warnings to Roderick about his
attendance. On June 18, 2010, Roderick was given a warning
for a second time of being absent without calling in. A month
later, on July 23, 2010, he received another warning for
absences. Three days later, on July 26, 2010, Roderick
received yet another written warning for attendance problems.
On August 18, 2010, he received a final written warning for
his absences and was notified if he accumulated three more
attendance points he would be terminated. On September 10,
2010, Roderick received a warning that he had accumulated
another attendance point. Id. at 23-24, 90-94. The
following year, Roderick received a “verbal
warning” on February 9, 2011, for again accumulating
eight points on his attendance record. He continued to
receive warnings about his workplace attendance issues in
2013 and 2014 (Filing No. 34-1 at 95-100).
admits that in 2016 and 2017, his attendance was
“horrible.” (Filing No. 34-1 at 23.) He received
further warnings about his attendance problems on August 2,
2016, September 6, 2016, November 22, 2016, and March 8,
2017. Id. at 24, 102-04, 106.
March 8, 2016, Roderick received a warning for laughing at an
employee who had made a mistake, which made the employee feel
embarrassed and stupid. Id. at 101. On January 26,
2017, he received a warning for eating on the production
floor. Id. at 105.
August 2016, Roderick had a meeting with Dave Laspas
(“Laspas”), BRC's operations manager, and
Mary Conden (“Conden”), BRC's human resources
manager (Filing No. 34-1 at 10- 11; Filing No. 34-2 at 3).
The meeting was held to address a complaint made by another
BRC employee who alleged that Roderick was messaging his
girlfriend about the possibility of making a sex video for
money. In the meeting with Laspas and Conden, Roderick denied
that his messages had anything to do with making a sex video,
and Roderick rationalized that what happened outside of work
hours was none of BRC's business (Filing No. 34-3 at 2;
Filing No. 34-2 at 5; Filing No. 34-1 at 10-11).
and Overmyer (Roderick's direct supervisor) had already
met with Roderick regarding the incident, and he had told
them that what happened outside of work hours was none of
BRC's business, so Laspas and Conden decided to meet
together with Roderick after the initial meeting between
Roderick and Conden and Overmyer (Filing No. 36-2 at 2;
Filing No. 34-2 at 3- 4). When Roderick explained to Laspas
and Conden that his conduct outside of work hours was not
BRC's concern, they clarified that Roderick represented
BRC at all times, even outside of work hours, and he
acknowledged understanding their position and explained that
he would block the other BRC employee and his girlfriend on
Facebook (Filing No. 34-1 at 11). During the meeting,
Roderick also was counseled about his poor attendance, which
they explained was affecting his overall performance, and he
was encouraged to make a concerted effort to improve his
2016, Chuck Chaffee (“Chaffee”), BRC's owner
and CEO, and other members of BRC's management team were
aware of poor performance and other problems in the quality
department at the Hartford City plant. BRC management asked
Laspas, as the operations manager, to take any corrective
action necessary to improve the Hartford City quality
department (Filing No. 34-5 at 1). There were numerous,
ongoing discussions with Overmyer, the manager of the quality
department, about communication issues and other issues that
were affecting the whole department (Filing No. 34-1 at 9).
the August 2016 meeting, Laspas began assigning new tasks to
Roderick. The team members in the quality department,
including Roderick, were informed during a meeting that
Laspas was taking over the day-to-day operations of the
department because of the ongoing issues in the department.
Laspas had one-on-one meetings with each member of the
quality department and planned to have additional one-on-one
meetings every thirty days. Laspas and Conden had discussions
with team members of the quality department throughout 2016
concerning the ongoing problems in the department (Filing No.
34-1 at 9-10; Filing No. 34-2 at 5; Filing No. 34-3 at 5).
September 2016, Roderick met with Laspas, Conden, and
Overmyer to discuss how Roderick's work performance had
not improved. Roderick was counseled that his performance
needed to improve, he needed to report safety issues, and he
needed to assist other employees when requested. After the
meeting, Overmyer told Roderick that she did not have a
problem with his work performance, but Roderick knew that
Overmyer also was being counseled (Filing No. 34-1 at 12-13).
October 21, 2016, Roderick again met with Laspas, Conden, and
Overmyer. Laspas told Roderick that he was frustrated with
Roderick's performance despite numerous coaching
sessions. Laspas also told Roderick that Roderick had shown a
lack of commitment, desire, and interest in performing his
assigned duties. Laspas informed Roderick that these matters
needed immediate attention, and he placed Roderick on a
performance improvement plan, of which Roderick received a
copy. Laspas told Roderick that he had never seen anyone
successfully complete a performance improvement plan, but
Laspas would be there for Roderick if he needed help.
Id. at 14, 15, 88.
approximately thirty days, Laspas informed Roderick that
Roderick had not complied with his performance improvement
plan, and BRC was moving him out of the quality department
and returning him to production. BRC gave Roderick the option
of taking a job as a press operator or an inspector/finisher.
BRC also gave Roderick the choice of any shift, and Roderick
chose to be an inspector/finisher on the third shift. Other
employees in the quality department also were moved to other
positions. Near the end of 2016, Overmyer was demoted in the
quality department from the position of quality manager to
quality engineer. Around that same time, Vicky Brinker
(“Brinker”), another employee in the quality
department, had been receiving counseling because of work
performance issues, and BRC removed Brinker from the quality
department because of her work issues. Overmyer and Brinker
were the two other employees who worked with Roderick in the
office of the quality department. Roderick explained that
nobody wanted to deal with Laspas because he was tough on
everybody and threatened to walk people “out the
door” (Filing No. 34-2 at 7; Filing No. 34-1 at 15-17).
December 1, 2016, Roderick sent an email to BRC's owner,
Chaffee, to “inform [him] of [Roderick's] feelings
concerning his current situation” following his
“recent demotion.” (Filing No. 36-4 at 14.)
Roderick complained that he had been “meticulously
criticized for every effort [he had] put forth, ” which
made him feel “increased anxiety due to the hostile
environment that has been created by this situation.”
Id. Roderick's email to Chaffee concluded,
“Dave Laspas has threatened to walk employees out the
door, myself included. So I try to avoid him.”
called Roderick after receiving the email and explained to
Roderick that BRC management had asked Laspas to restructure
the quality department as needed to help the company. Chaffee
told Roderick that he would look into the issue and then ask
the company president and human resources manager to review
the issue (Filing No. 34-5 at 1-2; Filing No. 34-1 at 18,
December 5, 2016, the human resources manager met with
Roderick to discuss his concerns. Roderick told him that he
was being harassed, he was upset with the whole situation,
and he was upset with “the way Dave has done
people” by his threatening behavior and threatening
people to walk them out (Filing No. 34-1 at 19; Filing No.
34-6 at 1-2). Roderick did not tell the human resources
manager that he had been singled out by Laspas, but rather,
that Laspas treated all BRC's employees poorly (Filing
No. 34-6 at 2).
December 8, 2016, Roderick met with the human resources
manager, the plant manager, and the new quality department
manager. Roderick was offered an opportunity to return to the
quality department during the day shift with a fresh start,
to resume the document control function that Roderick
previously had performed, and to receive his pay at his
previous level. Roderick was told he still would have to deal
with Laspas even though he worked a different shift because
Laspas, as the operations manager, ultimately was in charge
of the facility. BRC made this offer after internal
discussions because Roderick had been a long-time employee,
he had expressed a desire to remain in the quality
department, and BRC believed that Roderick might be able to
improve his performance with the new manager in the quality
department. The choice whether to return to his previous
position and pay or to remain on third shift was left up to
Roderick. Roderick told them that he wanted to remain on
third shift so that he could avoid Laspas. After the December
8, 2016 meeting, neither the human resources manager nor any
other employee of BRC received any further complaints from
Roderick concerning Laspas (Filing No. 34-1 at 21- 22; Filing
No. 34-6 at 2).
work hours on the third shift were 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Laspas generally worked from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On
occasion, Laspas would come in at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m.
because he was working on a new system for BRC. While
Roderick was working on the third shift, between January 2017
and June 1, 2017 (when Roderick quit his job at BRC), Laspas
went out of his way to walk by Roderick a total of three
times and said Roderick's name and nothing else. Laspas
walked through all areas of the plant because he was the
operations manager. Roderick acknowledged that Laspas did
nothing else toward him ...