United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE
Hubert Goodman sued his former employer, Defendant Cummins,
Inc., alleging that Cummins subjected him to disparate
treatment, a hostile-work environment, and constructive
discharge on account of Goodman’s race and nationality.
Goodman brings claims under the Equal Protection Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Cummins has moved for
summary judgment on all claims. The Court decides as follows:
Hubert Goodman began working for Defendant Cummins, Inc. in
May 1997 and he has held a number of positions during his
tenure with Cummins. Cummins operates worldwide and places
certain high-potential employees in temporary assignments in
another country for a term of six months to three years,
known as “expatriate” assignments. (Linda Shi
Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 60-3; Lisa Eckelkamp Dep.
10–12, ECF No. 60-4.) These expatriate assignments are
viewed as an investment in Cummins employees. (Shi Decl.
¶ 3, ECF No. 60-3.) From 2010 to 2013, Goodman held an
expatriate assignment in Singapore. From 2013 to 2016, he
held an expatriate assignment in Vietnam, working as a
Managing Director for a joint venture between Cummins and the
Swiss-based company DKSH. (Goodman Dep. 21, ECF No. 60-1;
Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 60-2.) Goodman’s
general responsibilities in that position were sales,
service, and support, including people management, profit and
loss responsibility, and being part of the leadership team
for Asia Pacific. (Goodman Dep. 79, ECF No. 60-1.) He
reported to the Executive Managing Director of Asia Pacific,
Peter Jensen-Muir, and the Board of Directors for the joint
venture. (Goodman Dep. 15, ECF No. 60-1; Jensen-Muir Dep. 6,
ECF No. 60-2.) Goodman ultimately resigned from Cummins
effective September 30, 2016. He claims he was constructively
the time that Goodman was on his expatriate assignment in
Vietnam, he received satisfactory performance evaluations.
(Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 60-2.) He received
raises and bonuses. He never received an unsatisfactory
evaluation or a warning about his job performance. And
Goodman was never advised by anyone at Cummins that his job
was in jeopardy. (Goodman Dep. 282, ECF No. 60-1.)
expiration of his expatriate assignment in Vietnam required
Goodman to find another role at Cummins. (Shi Decl. ¶ 6,
ECF No. 60-3.) Cummins does not hold a particular job open in
an employee’s home country when the employee accepts an
expatriate position. (Shi Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 60-3.)
Instead, an employee must network with other Cummins
employees to identify a potential role. (Satterthwaite Dep.
110, 116, ECF No. 60-8.) Goodman understood that he could
return to the United States without having a role and Cummins
would allow him to find a role upon his return. (Goodman Dep.
160, ECF No. 60-1.)
2015, Goodman requested from Jensen-Muir information on
relocating back to the United States and on a one-way move to
Asia (i.e, working in a localized role without expecting to
repatriate). (Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 60-2.)
Jensen-Muir committed to working with Goodman to find a role
in the United States and supporting his business travel to
the United States to facilitate his search. (Id.)
Jen-sen-Muir confirmed in subsequent communications with
Goodman that Cummins would repatriate him. (Id.) In
late 2015, President of the Distribution Business Unit Tony
Satterthwaite informed Jensen-Muir that Goodman had requested
consideration for “localizing”-transitioning to
local employment status without the expectation of
repatriation back to the home country- in Vietnam.
(Id.; Shi Decl. ¶ 5, ECF No. 60-3.) But by then
the joint venture board was already interviewing candidates
for Goodman’s replacement. (Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶
13, ECF No. 60-3.)
December 2015, Goodman explored an opportunity with the joint
venture rather than returning to the United States. (Goodman
Dep. 113–14, ECF No. 60-1.) Goodman understood that the
board had decided they would probably bring in a new person,
but he asked for consideration anyway. (Goodman Dep. 116, ECF
No. 60-1.) The board concluded that another candidate, Milind
Madani, was the superior candidate for the position.
(Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 18, ECF No. 60-2.) In April 2016,
Jensen-Muir again contacted Satterthwaite and the Executive
Director of Human Resources for Distribution to reiterate his
support for repatriating Goodman to the United States.
(Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 19, ECF No. 60-2.)
early April 2016, Goodman filed a complaint through
Cummins’ Ethics Point website, complaining about
certain interactions with Jensen-Muir. (Goodman Dep. 167
& Ex. 13, ECF No. 60-1; Shi Decl. ¶ 8, ECF No.
60-3.) Then in mid-May, Goodman emailed the President of the
Distribution Business Unit, Tony Satterthwaite, claiming that
Jensen-Muir had been “badmouthing” him. (Shi
Decl. ¶ 8 & Ex. 7, ECF No. 60-3.) Satterthwaite
responded that he was unaware of any such “badmouthing,
” but he would ask Shi to initiate an investigation.
(Satterthwaite Dep. 123–24, & Ex. 20; ECF No.
60-8.) Both matters were referred to Right Environment
Manager for Asia Pacific, Stacey Gard, for investigation.
(Shi Decl. ¶ 8 & Ex. 8; ECF No. 60-3.) In the course
of her investigation, Gard tried several times to contact
Goodman, but he failed to respond. (Shi Decl. Ex. 8, ECF No.
60-3 at 145.) At the end of her investigation, which included
interviewing three witnesses identified by Goodman, Gard
concluded that Goodman’s complaints were
unsubstantiated. (Shi Decl. Ex. 8, ECF No. 60-3 at 138, 144.)
2016, while Goodman was in the United States, Jensen-Muir
offered to extend Goodman’s expatriate assignment to
allow him more time to find a U.S. role. (Goodman Dep. 199,
ECF No. 60-1; Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 21, ECF No. 60-2.)
Jensen-Muir understood that Goodman wanted to consider the
offer and wait until the week of July 4, 2016 to respond.
(Jensen-Muir Decl. ¶ 21, ECF No. 60-2.) Goodman accepted
the three-month extension, making his Vietnam assignment end
date October 15, 2016. (Goodman Dep. 202, ECF No. 60-1.)
Goodman understood that he could return to the U.S., that is,
repatriate, without having a role and find a role upon his
return. (Goodman Dep. 160, ECF No. 60-1.)
11, 2016, Goodman sent an email to Vice President - Chief
Human Resources Officer Jill Cook, notifying Cummins that he
had “been subjected to illegal discrimination on the
basis of national origin, additionally age and race.”
(Goodman Dep. 235–36 & Ex. 25, ECF No. 60-1; Shi
Decl. ¶ 12, ECF No. 60-3.) Goodman’s email did not
provide any detailed information about the alleged
discrimination. The complaint was referred to Director of
Human Resources – Service Functional Talent Management,
Larry Williams, for investigation. (Shi Decl. ¶ 12, ECF
No. 60-3.) Williams interviewed several witnesses, including
Goodman, and in mid-August 2016, determined that the
complaint was unsubstantiated. (Shi Decl. Ex. 10, ECF No.
60-3 at 156.)
Goodman’s expatriate assignment ended, Cummins
presented him with several employment opportunities, but he
decided not to pursue them. (Compl. ¶¶
106–07, ECF No. 1.) First, Robert Enright, General
Manager of New and ReCon Parts in Cummins’ Supply Chain
Organization, emailed Goodman on June 1, 2016, and spoke with
him around June 8, about a potential relationship manager
role in his organization, with a potentially higher salary
grade level than his current level. Goodman stated that he
would get back to Enright in early July about his interest in
the role. (Enright Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 60-10.) However,
Goodman failed to respond throughout July and in late August
emailed Enright, declining to be considered for the position
in favor of “wait[ing] till my return before committing
to a role.” (Goodman Dep. 222–23, 225, 226, ECF
No. 60-1; Enright Decl. ¶¶ 4-6 & Ex. 1, ECF No.
60-10.) By that time, Enright had started moving forward and
asked Goodman to advise if he would like to be included in
the process. (Enright Decl. ¶¶ 5-6 & Ex. 1, ECF
No. 60-10.) Goodman advised Enright that he did not have an
interest in being included in the selection process for the
role. (Id.) Enright ultimately hired Patrick Wolf
for the position, and as of the date of Enright’s
declaration at the end of October 2018, Wolf was still in
that role. (Enright Decl. ¶ 8, ECF No. 60-10.)
around August 15, 2016, Norbert Nusterer, President of the
Power Systems Business Unit, contacted Goodman about
potential project manager roles in his business unit.
Nusterer said that he did not actually have a job, but was
willing to find something for Goodman. (Goodman Dep.
244–46, ECF No. 60-1; Nusterer Dep. 49 & 99, ECF
No. 60-9 at 4.) At first Goodman was interested, but the next
day he told Nusterer that he preferred not to pursue any
opportunities in the Power Systems space and that he had lost
all trust in Cummins. (Goodman Dep. 246–47, ECF No.
60-1; Nusterer Dep. 49 & Ex. 99, ECF No. 60-9 at 5.)
addition, during Goodman’s June 2016 visit, Bill Haley,
the Supply Chain Leader (and part of the distribution
leadership team) said to Goodman that if he could not find a
role, Haley would give him a job. (Goodman ...