Hall v. Dekalb County Government, 2013 WL 104810 (11th Cir. Jan. 9, 2013)

Facts: Plaintiffs alleged they did not have opportunity to access or train on the Building Automated System (BAS) as other white employees did, which adversely affected their marketability. Also, the County gave them few overtime and comp time than a white employee. Finally, they claimed that the County retaliated against them after receiving their EEOC Charges by reassigning them to other team.

Procedural history: The County submitted evidence and moved the court for summary judgment. The District Judge, recommended by Magistrate Judge, granted the County’s motion because the court found that neither refusal of giving access or train on BAS, nor giving few overtime and comp time than only one white employee, constituted an adverse employment action. As to retaliation, the magistrate found that reassignment was not an adverse employment action either because the pay, job duties and many thing else were almost identical to their previous positions. In response to the County’s motion, plaintiffs additionally claimed racial harassment, which was also not taken into account by the lower court because that was only a one-time incident.

Issues:
1. Whether plaintiffs made a prima facie case by asserting they had experienced an adverse employment action?
2. Whether plaintiffs were unlawfully retaliated by the County which reassigned them to another team and suspended one of them after receiving EEOC complaints?
3. Whether they were placed in a hostile environment in which one white employee called one of them “boy” on only one occasion?

Holdings: No, no and no.

Reasoning:
Discrimination Claim
1. They provided no evidence that limitations of their ability to train on and use the BAS affected the terms, conditions, or privileges or their employment as mechanics, or that limitation constituted a serious and material change to in their employment.
2. With regard to overtime and comp time, they failed to prove that similarly situated white workers were treated more favorably. They only claimed they had less overtime and comp time than one white employee, not white employees in general. Also, there was evidence showing they in fact made more overtime and comp time than white employees at the time.

Retaliation Claim
1. One of plaintiffs, Hall, did not allege what impact a written counseling had to his employment, thus being deemed non-adverse by the court.
2. No causal connection was established between EEOC complaint and Hall’s suspension by plaintiffs.
3. Plaintiffs failed to prove that the reassignment had adverse and negative impact their employment.

Hostile environment
Plaintiffs failed to bear the burden of proof. Only one occasion does not suffice.

Judgment: The case was affirmed.

Briefed by: Victor You

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