United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS.
43 & 47]
Y. PEARSON JUDGE.
before the Court are two motions: (1) Plaintiff Scott
Swysgood's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 43) and (2) Defendants Board of Education of the
Northwestern Local School District of West Salem and
Superintendent Jeffrey Layton's Amended Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 47). The parties have
filed memoranda in opposition. ECF Nos. 50 &
51. They have also filed replies. ECF Nos.
53 & 54. Plaintiff has filed a sur-reply to
Defendants' motion. ECF No. 58. For the reasons
that follow, Plaintiff's motion is denied, and
Defendants' motion is granted, except as to
Plaintiff's breach of contract claim.
Plaintiff's Employment at the Northwestern Local School
began working as the Transportation Coordinator/Head Bus
Mechanic for the Northwestern Local School District in
January 2012. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 3. As part of
his job, Plaintiff was in charge of supervising the
transportation department. ECF No. 40-1 at PageID #:
1059. This included, among other things, preparing and
scheduling bus routes and assigning drivers. Id. at
PageID #: 1060. Plaintiff also had duties as head
mechanic, such as performing repairs on vehicles Northwestern
owned. Id. at PageID #: 1061.
employment with the school district was through contract. He
signed the first of three contracts on February 1, 2012.
ECF No. 1-1. The contract listed an annual salary of
$22, 109.00. Id. This total came from an hourly rate
of $19.46, paid for 142 work days in the year. Id. A
heading at the top of the contract stated “SUPPORT
EMPLOYEE'S CONTRACT -TWO YEAR(S)
LIMITED.” Id. (emphasis in original).
later entered into a three-year contract that paid him an
annual salary of $49, 131.00. ECF No. 1-3. This
contract listed an annual hourly rate of $23.62, paid for 260
work days in the year. Id. As with his prior
contract, this one contained a heading describing the
document as a “SUPPORT EMPLOYEE'S CONTRACT.”
entered into one more contract. For the 2016-17 school year,
Plaintiff's salary was “$55, 401.00 in addition to
a 1% salary bonus.” ECF No. 1-5. This contract
did not include an hourly rate, but it did specify that the
contract contemplated 260 working days. Id. The
contract also did not have a heading listing Plaintiff as a
support employee. The contract listed things not included in
his prior contracts, such as term life insurance, medical
insurance and reimbursement for unused vacation days.
August 3. 2016, two days after the 2016-17 contract went into
effect, Plaintiff received a document that contained a
heading of “SALARY NOTIFICATION: SUPPORT STAFF.”
ECF No. 1-7. The notification, which was not part of
Plaintiff's contract, listed his salary as $55, 955.00.
Id. It also stated “[a]ny additional hours or
days your supervisor may ask you to work should be so noted
on a time sheet and submitted to the Treasurer's Office
for additional compensation.” Id.
Accumulation of Excess Hours
his time working at the Northwestern Local School District,
Plaintiff kept records of the hours that he worked so as to
document how many hours over forty he worked each week.
ECF Nos. 1-2, 1-4, and 1-6.
Plaintiff contends that he had accrued 4912.25 hours of
compensatory time by the time his employment ended. ECF
No. 43 at PageID #: 1267. Each month, Plaintiff would
give a copy of the hours he had accrued the prior month to
either Layton or his secretary. ECF No. 30-1 at PageID #:
293-94. Layton would then review the time sheet listing
the hours, sign the time sheet, and scan a copy of the time
sheet onto his computer on the school's computer network.
Id. at PageID #: 295.
parties dispute whether Plaintiff was owed monetary
compensation for these hours. In his deposition, Plaintiff
testified that Layton told him when he began working in the
school system that he should keep track of all his time
because Plaintiff “would be compensated for it at a
certain time.” ECF No. 39-1 at PageID #:
985-86. Plaintiff also testified that Kim Wellert, a
school board member, told him that he was entitled to
compensation for his earned compensatory time. Id. at
PageID #: 949. Layton testified that he told Plaintiff
that he did not have to use the compensatory time record
sheet, because it was intended for hourly employees. ECF
No. 30-1 at PageID #: 309. Layton also testified that he
sensed Plaintiff “felt validation” from
submitting the time sheets, and, due to that, he never told
Plaintiff to stop handing them in to him. Id. at PageID
Northwestern School District has three types of employees:
(1) hourly employees; (2) administrative employees; and (3)
certified employees. ECF No. 36-1 at PageID #:
760-62. The parties dispute whether Plaintiff was an
hourly employee or an administrative employee.
employees are eligible to participate in an informal flex
time policy. Id. at PageID #: 328. According to
Layton, administrators could use flex time for need-based
requests when they were up-do-date on their responsibilities.
Id. at PageID #: 328. Administrators did not
necessarily have to log their hours, but Layton liked to see
documentary requests for longer flex time requests, such as
taking an entire week off of work. Id. at PageID #:
329. The use of flex time required Layton's
approval. Id. at PageID #: 341. Layton also
testified that an administrator could only use flex time
during the school year in which they earned that time; an
administrator could not carry over flex time from a prior
year. Id. at PageID #: 260-61. Layton explained that
the accrual of overtime pay for hourly workers required
pre-approval, whereas administrators did not need to attain
pre-approval before working extra hours. Id. at PageID #:
330-31. A document entitled “SUPPORT STAFF
SUPPLEMENTARY PAY PLANS, ” states that employees may
accrue up to “240 hours (160 overtime hours)” of
compensatory time and “employee[s] will be compensated
for time beyond this maximum accrual at the rate of one and
one-half time his or her normal hourly rate of pay.”
ECF No. 41-1 at PageID #: 1196.
contends that he worked as an hourly employee, rather than an
administrative employee. Plaintiff testified that he did not
understand himself to be an administrator. Rather, he
believed that his job consisted of “work[ing] on the
buses and tak[ing] care of the supervision” of bussing
for the school system. ECF No. 39-1 at PageID #:
885. He also testified that no one told him his position
was an administrative position. Id.
admits that there were “several times that [he] took
comp time, ” and, when he did so, he completed forms to
verify his use of compensatory time. Id. at PageID #:
931. For example, Plaintiff took compensatory time to
attend a ceremony to commemorate his son joining the Navy.
Id. at PageID #: 984-85. Plaintiff admitted that he
could use compensatory time “at any time, ” so
long as Layton approved. Id. at PageID #: 126.
date, Plaintiff has not received any payments for
compensatory time he accrued. Throughout his time in the
school system, Plaintiff did not ask Layton why he did not
receive overtime pay on a monthly basis. Id. at PageID
End of Plaintiff's Employment
wrote a letter to the school board stating, as of August 1,
2016, he intended to use his available compensatory time
“to run out [his] current 2016-2017 school year
contract.” ECF No. 41-1 at PageID #: 1169.
Plaintiff's contract for the 2016-2017 school year began
on August 1, 2016. See ECF No. 1-5.
rejected Plaintiff's request, because Plaintiff would not
be able to meet his job responsibilities if he took an entire
year off of work. ECF No. 30-1 at PageID #: 336-37.
on August 1, 2016, Plaintiff did not complete any work for
the school district. He came into work on the first, second,
and third of August, but he only did so to speak with Layton.
ECF No. 39-1 at PageID #: 968. He claimed that he
was up to date with his responsibilities, so he was using
comp time. Id. Also during that time, Plaintiff
removed a tool chest he kept at work. ECF No. 42-3 at
PageID #: 1249. The chest was higher than five feet tall
and about ten feet long. Id. And, ...