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Williams v. Donahoe

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

November 13, 2014

BENNY WILLIAMS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK R. DONAHOE, Postmaster General, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CHARLES A. SHAW, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on defendant Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Benny Williams, Jr., appearing pro se, has responded to the motion. Defendant did not file a reply brief, and the time for doing so has passed. For the following reasons, the Court will grant defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

Plaintiff brings this action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq. ("ADEA"), against defendant for employment discrimination on the basis of age. Plaintiff was hired as a temporary, non-career casual vehicle operator for the United States Postal Service ("USPS"). His term of service expired on December 31, 2010, and his assignment was terminated on that day. Plaintiff alleges the USPS unlawfully discriminated against him because three younger drivers were hired as casual employees in November 2010, and were still employed on December 31, 2010. He states also that a dispatch supervisor harassed him by commenting that he drove "like an elderly person." (Compl. at ¶ 12). The USPS denies age discrimination, stating that it terminated plaintiff on December 31, 2010 because his temporary position ended.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

The standards applicable to summary judgment motions are well settled. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment shall be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The initial burden is placed on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op., Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir. 1988) (the moving party has the burden of clearly establishing the non-existence of any genuine issue of fact that is material to a judgment in its favor). Once this burden is discharged, if the record does in fact bear out that no genuine dispute exists, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party who must set forth affirmative evidence and specific facts showing there is a genuine dispute on that issue. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). In determining whether the moving party has met its burden, all evidence and inferences are to be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Johnson v. Enron Corp., 906 F.2d 1234, 1237 (8th Cir. 1990).

With this standard in mind, the Court accepts the following facts as true for purposes of resolving this motion for summary judgment.[1]

III. Facts

Plaintiff alleges he was subjected to unlawful discrimination based on his age in violation of the ADEA. Plaintiff was 55 years of age during his employment with the USPS. Plaintiff was employed under a temporary, non-career appointment with the USPS as a "Casual Tractor Trailer Operator, " at the St. Louis Processing and Distribution Center, effective May 8, 2010. By letter dated May 7, 2010, plaintiff was advised that "[u]pon successful completion of one appointment, providing your services are needed, a second appointment may be granted."

The Employee and Labor Relations Manual ("ELM"), Section 419.11, defines a "casual employee" as follows: "Casual employees are nonbargaining unit, noncareer employees with limited-term appointments. These employees are employed as a supplemental workforce, as described in collective bargaining agreements, to perform duties assigned to bargaining unit positions."

The ELM, Section 365.33 defines "Termination or Separation of Temporary of Casual Employees" as follows:

An employee serving under a temporary appointment may be separated at any time after notice in writing. In determining the proper action for a particular case, the following criteria are used:
a. Termination, expiration of appointment, is a term used to separate an employee whose services are no longer needed.
b. Separation is the term used when describing the discontinuance of the service of a temporary or casual employee because of unsatisfactory performance that ...

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