St. John v. Postmaster General of United States, 040212 FED3, 11-1855

Docket Nº:11-1855
Opinion Judge:SMITH, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:PAUL M. ST. JOHN, Appellant v. POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
Judge Panel:Before: FUENTES, SMITH, and JORDAN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 02, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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PAUL M. ST. JOHN, Appellant

v.

POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

No. 11-1855

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

April 2, 2012

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) March 27, 2012

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania District Court No. 2-09-cv-04196 District Judge: The Honorable Michael M. Baylson.

Before: FUENTES, SMITH, and JORDAN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Paul M. St. John filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that his employer, the United States Postal Service (USPS), retaliated against him because of testimony he provided at an administrative hearing on an earlier charge of national origin discrimination. St. John is of Scottish heritage. This action, according to St. John's complaint, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-3 and 2000e-16, as amended. After the close of discovery, the USPS successfully moved for summary judgment. This timely appeal followed. 1

St. John, who was born in Scotland, has been employed by the USPS as a City Carrier at the post office in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, since May of 2003. On November 3, 2004, St. John filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that he had been discriminated against based on his national origin when management, particularly his supervisor James McGinn, did not pay him for eight hours of sick leave. In addition, St. John alleged that he had been discriminated against when his supervisor placed him on "leave without pay" status for a 40-hour period. On March 15, 2007, during an EEOC hearing, St. John was asked how his employer's actions affected him. St. John responded that he "could have throttled [McGinn]" and shortly thereafter stated that he "could kill [McGinn]."2

Due to concerns about workplace violence, the USPS has instituted a zero-tolerance policy regarding any violence or threats of violence. The USPS's counsel at the EEOC hearing viewed St. John's statements about his current supervisor as a violation of the zero-tolerance policy. In accord with that policy, she notified the human resources manager, who convened a "Threat Assessment Team" to determine whether action should be taken against St. John because of...

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