United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS DISTRICT JUDGE.
16, 2015, Plaintiff Kevin Grant ("Grant") sued his
former employer, Target Corporation ("Target") in
state court, alleging that Target wrongfully terminated his
employment in April 2015. In July 2015, Target removed the
case to federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1332. [ECF No. 1]. Presently before this Court is
Target's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 34]. For
the reasons set forth below, Target's motion is
initially filed his complaint in Essex County Superior Court,
seeking damages for breach of contract (Count I), violation
of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count II),
wrongful termination in violation of public policy (Count
III), misrepresentation (Count IV), and defamation (Count V).
[ECF No. 8]. On July 28, 2015, after removing the case,
Target filed a motion to dismiss all counts for failure to
state a claim. [ECF Nos. 1, 6]. On September 3, 2015, this
Court dismissed Counts II, III, and IV with prejudice, and
dismissed Count V without prejudice. [ECF No. 15]. On
September 23, 2015, Grant amended his complaint to state two
claims: breach of contract (Count I) and defamation (Count
II). [ECF No. 17]. Grant now voluntarily agrees to dismiss
his defamation claim (Count II). [ECF No. 39 at 1 n.l].
Accordingly, the Court will only address Target's summary
judgment motion with respect to the breach of contract claim
following facts are drawn from the statements of undisputed
material facts and responses [ECF Nos. 36, 40, 44], unless
otherwise noted. SeeD. Mass., Local Rule 56.1. Where
the facts are disputed, the Court views the record in the
light most favorable to Grant, the non-moving party. See
Mariasch v. Gillette Co.. 521 F.3d 68, 70 (1st Cir.
November 2014 to April 28, 2015, Grant was employed by Target
as a "Store Team Leader, " which is the highest
level of management at a Target store. Target is an at-will
employer, but Grant claims that he did not understand the
significance of being an "employee at-will." [ECF
No. 40 ¶ 2].
"Counseling & Corrective Action"
has a "Counseling & Corrective Action" policy
("the Policy") available to Human Resources and
Management personnel that provides guidelines for disciplinary
or corrective action for team members with performance
issues. Grant did not sign the Policy, manifest assent to its
provisions as a condition of his employment, or negotiate
over its terms. [ECF No. 40 ¶ 15]. Grant first saw the
Policy after he was hired, during his training. Id.
It explicitly and immediately states in the opening section,
under the caption "POLICY:"
This policy establishes broad guidelines designed to achieve
fair and equitable treatment for all team members. It
does not, either by itself or in conjunction with any other
company documents, policy, practice, procedure or verbal
statement, create an employment contract, express or implied,
or define the employment relationship or limit how that
relationship may end. Team members are employed at will,
meaning they or the company can end the employment
relationship anytime, for any reason. This policy does not
alter the at will status of any team member. . . .
As a guideline, this policy is not all-inclusive. Rather, it
is intended to outline unacceptable team member conduct
during employment and establish recommended procedures for
dealing with team member conduct or work performance that
does not meet Company standards. This policy may change from
time to time as business needs dictate with or without
advance notice to those affected, and Target Corporation
reserves the right to depart from these guidelines when it is
[ECF No. 40 ¶ 16]; [ECF No. 36-13] (emphasis in
original). The Policy further states that the
"Corrective Action Guidelines Summary is intended as a
reference tool, and not as an all-inclusive list of
infractions." Id. ¶ 18. It specifies, for
example, that one form of "Gross Misconduct" is
"Detrimental Behavior, " and the listing suggests
that the typical response is termination. The Policy states
throughout that these are "guidelines" and
"recommended procedures, " and are not
all-inclusive. See, e.g., [ECF No. 36-13 at 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 9, 19, 20].
March 2015, Grant was temporarily designated the Store Team
Leader of the Target store in Haverhill, Massachusetts. [ECF
No. 40 ¶ 20]. He oversaw three levels of employees:
executive team leaders ("ETL"), team leaders, and
team members. Id. ¶ 22. Grant had four ETLs
reporting directly to him, one of whom was the ETL of Human
Resources. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. During his time
as Store Team Leader, Grant reported directly to ...