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Mohammed v. Mail Contractors of America

January 19, 2007

AL-MAHDI MOHAMMED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MAIL CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Black

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

This is a race and religion employment discrimination failure-to-hire case brought by Plaintiff Al-Mahdi Mohammed ("Mohammed") against Defendant Mail Contractors of America, Inc. ("MCA") under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., as amended, and Ohio state law.

Mohammed alleges that MCA failed to hire him, and, thus, discriminated against him because of his race and religion. MCA responds that Mohammed was not hired initially because he verbally assaulted Audrey Blackwell, an MCA Company Dispatcher at MCA's Cincinnati, Ohio terminal. MCA also states that Mohammed was not hired on subsequent applications both because of his verbal assault and because other applicants filed their applications first.

Ultimately, Mohammed fails to offer any credible evidence that could allow a reasonable jury to infer that the legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons proffered by MCI for its actions are false, and that its true reasons for not hiring Mohammed reflect unlawful racial or religious discrimination.

MCA is engaged in the hauling of mail and other products across the United States via tractor-trailer. (See Doc. 45-3, Ex. B, Affidavit of Audrey Blackwell at ¶ 4.) On September 29, 2003, Mohammed applied online for an extra board driver position with the Company at its Cincinnati, Ohio terminal. (Mohammed Dep., p. 122: 17-22.) He was subsequently not hired for this position

After applying online, Mohammed alleges that he spoke to MCA's Little Rock, Arkansas headquarters. (Mohammed Dep., p. 109: 7-25.) Mohammed alleges that MCA's headquarters told him that he was approved for an interview and that he needed to contact Audrey Blackwell at MCA's Cincinnati terminal to schedule his interview. (Mohammed Dep., p. 110: 1-3.)

Mohammed alleges that he then called Blackwell and scheduled an interview for November 14, 2003. (Mohammed Dep., p. 110: 4-5). Mohammed claims that when he appeared for the scheduled interview, Blackwell failed to be present.

Mohammed subsequently called Blackwell to complain. (Doc. 45-3, Ex. B, Blackwell Aff. at ¶ 7.) Blackwell apologized to Mohammed, explained that she had no documentation of a scheduled interview with Mohammed, and told him she would look into it. (Id.) At that point, Mohammed became hostile and told Blackwell that she was "unprofessional" and "inconsiderate" and that she had "wasted his time." (Id.)

The very next day, Mohammed repeatedly called Blackwell and was again very hostile towards her. (Id. at ¶¶ 9 and 11.) During their telephone conversations, Mohammed demanded to know why his interview had not been rescheduled, accused Blackwell of being a "racist," and claimed that he knew he would not be interviewed because he was Muslim. (Id.; Mohammed Dep. pp. 105: 23--25, 106: 1--24, 107: 17--24, 113: 14--24, 114: 11--25, 115: 1-21.) Blackwell assured him those claims were false and unfounded. (Doc. 45-3, Ex. B, Blackwell Aff. at ¶¶ 9 and 14.) Mohammed proceeded to call Blackwell's fellow MCA employee a "liar." (Id. at ¶ 9.) Blackwell ended the conversation at that point. (Id.)

Based upon Mohammed's hostility and unprofessional behavior towards Blackwell, MCA decided not to interview or hire Mohammed for the position. (Id. at ¶ 10; see also Doc. 45-4, Ex. C, Affidavit of Sue DeSerisy at ¶ 7.)

During this period and after, Mohammed continued applying online for other positions with MCA. (Mohammed Dep. pp. 122: 17-22, 126: 16-25, 127: 1-20, 129: 7-17, 131: 17-25, 132: 4-14; 19-21, 133: 7-18, 134: 4-18, 138: 12-25.) Mohammed was not interviewed or hired for these positions because of his November 2003 verbal assault of Blackwell and MCA's policy of hiring applicants whose application MCA received first. (Blackwell Aff. at ¶¶ 5, 9, and 11; DeSerisy Aff. at ¶¶ 7 and 8.) Blackwell did not base her decision not to interview or hire Mohammed on either his race or religion. (Blackwell Aff. at ¶ 15.)

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment shall be granted if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The trial judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986); Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986).

In the present case, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., as amended ("Title VII"), the Court employs the familiar McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework at the summary judgment stage. Burns v. City of Columbus, 91 F.3d 836, 843 (6th Cir. 1996) (citing McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973)).

Under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework, a presumption of discrimination is created when and if Mohammed meets his burden of establishing a prima facie case of employment discrimination. Godfredson v. Hess & Clark, Inc., 173 F.3d 365, 371 (6th ...


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