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Seymore v. Johnson

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 22, 2017

ARTHUR SEYMORE, Plaintiff,
v.
JEH CHARLES JOHNSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          F. DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Arthur Seymore has brought suit against his former employer, defendant Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. In substance, Seymore contends that defendant retaliated against him for bringing an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint concerning alleged unpaid overtime and discrimination on the basis of race.

         Defendant has moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are undisputed.

         Plaintiff Arthur Seymore is an African-American man and a former employee of the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”). (Def. SMF ¶ 1). Defendant Jeh Charles Johnson is the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The TSA is an agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

         In January 2010, the TSA hired Seymore as a part-time transportation security officer at the Provincetown Municipal Airport in Massachusetts. (Dow Decl. ¶ 5). In the fall of 2012, Seymore was transferred from the Provincetown Airport to the Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, and had his status changed from part-time to full-time. (Def. SMF ¶ 6).

         In November 2012, Seymore contacted an Equal Employment Opportunity counselor concerning allegedly unpaid overtime. (Compl., Ex. 13). In January 2013, he filed a formal complaint with the Department of Homeland Security alleging that TSA employees at the Provincetown Airport discriminated against him on the basis of race. (Id.).

         On September 29, 2013, while Seymore's allegations were pending, Transportation Security Manager Jenifer Wainscott called Seymore into her office to discuss his use of sick leave, which she considered inappropriate. (Def. SMF ¶ 9). Thereafter, on October 6, 2013, Wainscott placed Seymore on a leave restriction.

         The leave restriction was detailed in a memorandum. (Def. SMF ¶ 10). Under the terms of the memorandum, Seymore was required to request scheduled leave at least seven days in advance, request emergency leave at least an hour before his scheduled report time, and, under some circumstances, provide supporting documentation for his absences. (Dow Decl., Ex. 6). It further provided that “Your work hours are 1215 to 2045. These include a 30-minute lunch break. You are expected to be at work and be ready to begin working at 1145 every day . . .” (Id. ¶ 5). The memorandum stated that the restriction would either be reviewed within 180 days or it would lapse. (Id. at 2).

         On April 21, 2014, Seymore sent an e-mail to TSA Federal Security Director David Kane informing him that he had “been on [leave restriction] reporting to work 30 minutes early without pay since 10/6/2013” and requesting that the restriction be removed. (Balakrishna Decl., Ex. 3). On April 26, 2014, another TSA employee, Rob Snyder, sent Seymore an e-mail informing him that the leave restriction had expired on April 4, 2014, 180 days after it was issued. (Id.). On May 7, 2014, Kane sent Seymore another e-mail, which stated that after an investigation, he determined that the leave restriction “contained a typographical error that directed you to begin working at 1145 everyday rather than your regularly scheduled start time of 1215. I apologize for this mistake.” (Id.). Kane requested that Seymore provide an accounting of the days on which he arrived early in order to compensate him for that time. (Id.). Seymore did not provide such an accounting and was not compensated for any extra time. (Def. SMF ¶ 24).

         B. Procedural Background

         Seymore filed this lawsuit on May 30, 2014, alleging seven counts arising under state and federal law. On March 26, 2015, defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court granted that motion with respect to Counts One, Three, Six, and Seven, and otherwise denied it. The remaining counts allege claims for retaliation in ...


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