United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Tennessee State
University's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 73)
and Defendant William Johnson's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 76); Plaintiff Response in Opposition to
Tennessee State University's Motion (Doc. No. 85); and
Defendant Tennessee State University's Reply (Doc. No.
87). For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant Tennessee
State University's Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED and the Court
STRIKES Williams Johnson's Motion for
Summary Judgment as moot because the Court already dismissed
him from the case. (Doc. No. 76).
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Essam Hamido, brought this action under Title VII and 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against his employer, Tennessee State
University (“TSU”), and the Interim Assistant
Dean at TSU, Dr. William Johnson (“Dr. Johnson”).
(Doc. No. 38). Plaintiff, an Associate Professor in the
Department of Human Performance and Sports Science at TSU,
alleges that Dr. Johnson discriminated against him on the
basis of race, color, and national origin. (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges Dr. Johnson continued to discriminate
against him even after Dr. Johnson was promoted from
Department Head to Interim Assistant Dean. (Id.).
Specifically, Plaintiff states he was not assigned overloads
or graduate classes in the academic semester, not assigned
classes at the requested time of day, the classes he
previously taught were reassigned to other professors, he was
not assigned summer courses, and he was given a poor
performance evaluation in the 2013-2014 academic year.
(Id.). Plaintiff further alleges Defendant TSU was
aware of the alleged discrimination and permitted it to
continue. (Id.). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as certain injunctive relief.
Dr. Johnson filed Motions to Dismiss on August 22, 2017 (Doc.
Nos. 40, 42), and Plaintiff replied. (Doc. Nos. 53, 54). The
Court granted in part, and denied in part TSU's Motion to
Dismiss and dismissed Dr. Johnson from this action. (Doc.
Nos. 80, 82). The Court also dismissed Plaintiff's
Section § 1983 claim, his claims for religious and
disability discrimination under Title VII, and his request
for punitive damages and a written apology. However, the
Court found Plaintiff stated a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to promote under Title VII, based on Plaintiff's
charge he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc. No. 79).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In evaluating a motion for summary
judgment, the court views the facts in the light most
favorable for the nonmoving party, and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Bible
Believers v. Wayne Cty., Mich., 805 F.3d 228, 242 (6th
Cir. 2015); Wexler v. White's Fine Furniture,
Inc., 317 F.3d 564, 570 (6th Cir. 2003). Claims that a
fact is, or is not, in genuine dispute must be supported by
the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). However, a “mere
‘scintilla of evidence' within the record that
militates against the overwhelming weight of contradictory
corroboration does not create a genuine issue of fact.”
Id. (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986)). If a rational trier of
fact could not find for the nonmoving party, summary judgment
should be granted. Slusher v. Shelbyville Hosp.
Corp., 805 F.3d 211, 215 (6th Cir. 2015) (citing
Miller v. Sanilac Cty., 606 F.3d 240, 247 (6th Cir.
VII makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or
refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise
to discriminate against any individual with respect to his
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex,
or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (1);
Benefield v. Mstreet Entertainment, LLC, 197
F.Supp.3d 990, 1001 (M.D. Tenn. Jul. 1, 2016). To analyze
claims under Title VII this court applies the burden-shifting
approach from the McDonnell Douglas line of
cases. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973); see also Tennial v.
United Parcel Service, Inc., 840 F.3d 292, 303 (6th Cir.
2016); E.E.O.C v. Memphis Goodwill Industries Inc.,
675 F.Supp.2d 846, 850-51 (W.D. Tenn. Dec. 22, 2009).
“To establish a prima facie case of employment
discrimination a plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) he is
member of a protected class; (2) he suffered an adverse
employment action; (3) he was qualified for the position at
issue; and (4) he was treated differently than
similarly-situated non-protected employees.” Golden
v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville and Davidson Cty., 263
F.Supp.3d 684, 692 (M.D. Tenn. Jul. 1, 2017) (citing
Wright v. Murray Guard, Inc. 455 F.3d 702, 707 (6th
Cir. 2006)). “Once the plaintiff establishes a
prima facie case, the burden then shifts to
the defendant to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory
explanation for its actions.” Hawthorne v.
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 203
F.Supp.3d 886, 892 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 25, 2016) (citing
Seay v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 339 F.3d 454, 463 (6th
Cir.2003). “If the employer does so, the burden shifts
back to the plaintiff to demonstrate the employer's
explanation is pretext.” McDonnell Douglas,
411 U.S. at 802-04.
argues Plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie case
for racial discrimination because Plaintiff suffered no
adverse employment action and Defendant did not treat him
differently than similarly-situated employees. (Doc. No. 74).
An adverse employment action is defined as a
materially adverse change in the terms and conditions of
employment.” Hollins v. Atl. Co., 188 F.3d
652, 662 (6th Cir. 1999). Such a change usually includes
“a decrease in wage or salary, a less distinguished
title, a material loss of benefits, significantly diminished
material responsibilities, or other indices that might be
unique to a particular situation.” Id. It
“must be more disruptive than a mere inconvenience or
an alteration of job responsibilities.” Id.
“Moreover, the employee's subjective view of the
significance and adversity of the employer's action is
not controlling; the employment action must be materially
adverse as viewed by a reasonable person in the
circumstances.” Sands v. Jackson State Cmty.
Coll., 2006 WL 1174469, at *5 (W.D. Tenn. April 29,
2006) (quoting Davis v. Town of Lake Park Florida,
245 F.3d 1232, 1239 (11th Cir.2001)).
Blackburn v. Shelby Cty., 770 F.Supp.2d 896, 919
(W.D. Tenn. Feb. 18, 2011).
responds by stating that Defendant failed to promote him,
which resulted in him not receiving a pay increase and title
change and his classes were reassigned. (Doc. No.85 at
4).Plaintiff's discrimination claims are evaluated under
the same McDonnell Douglas standard. Russell v.
Drabik, 24 Fed.Appx. 408, 412 (6th Cir. 2001). To
establish a failure to promote claim, Plaintiff must show,
“1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he applied
for and was qualified for a promotion; (3) he was considered
for and denied the promotion; and (4) other employees of
similar qualifications who are not members of the protected
class received promotions.” Gee v. Liebert
Corp., 58 Fed.Appx. 149, 154 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing
Allen v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 165 F.3d 405, 410
(6th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff spends a large portion of his response and
Statement of Undisputed Facts arguing about Dr. Johnson's
alleged racism towards him, students, and teachers at TSU.
Plaintiff argues Dr. Johnson treated him differently from
white employees, and thus Dr. Johnson conveyed racism towards
him that adversely impacted Plaintiff's academic
reputation at TSU. Plaintiff alleges the appointment of Dr.
Jason Smith, a white employee without tenure, to interim
Department Chair, when Plaintiff had tenure, constitutes an
example of racial discrimination. Plaintiff further argues
that Dr. Johnson changed his teaching assignment schedule
based on racial discrimination when Dr. Johnson assigned
Plaintiff's class to a white teacher. However, under
the McDonnell Douglas standard, the alleged racist
behaviors of Dr. Johnson may be relevant to establish
“pretext” for an ...