Dalberiste v. GLE Associates, Inc., 051920 FED11, 20-11101

Docket Nº:20-11101
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:MITCHE A. DALBERISTE, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. GLE ASSOCIATES, INC., a Florida Corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before MARTIN, ROSENBAUM, and LAGOA, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 19, 2020
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

MITCHE A. DALBERISTE, Plaintiff - Appellant,


GLE ASSOCIATES, INC., a Florida Corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 20-11101

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

May 19, 2020


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 0:18-cv-62276-RS

Before MARTIN, ROSENBAUM, and LAGOA, Circuit Judges.


Mitche Dalberiste ("Dalberiste") appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of GLE Associates, Inc. ("GLE") and moves for summary affirmance. For the following reasons, we grant Dalberiste's motion and summarily affirm the decision below.


Dalberiste is a practicing Seventh-day Adventist whose religion forbids him from working on the Sabbath, which occurs from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. In April 2016, Dalberiste applied for an industrial hygiene technician position at GLE, a company that provides worksite engineering, architectural, and environmental services, including asbestos monitoring by industrial hygienist technicians.

One of GLE's customers is Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station ("Turkey Point" or "station"). Each year, Turkey Point schedules planned outages, where part of the station is closed for maintenance. An outage typically lasts from thirty to sixty days but in one year lasted eighty days. GLE was hired for the Fall 2016 outage. Turkey Point, and not GLE, determines the number of GLE technicians needed to work during an outage.

GLE technicians assigned to Turkey Point for the outages are required to pass extensive background checks and complete several safety and training courses before they can begin working at the station. Having satisfied these requirements, the technicians are given a badge to enter and work in Turkey Point during the outage. Because Turkey Point intends to resume operations as quickly as possible, GLE technicians assigned to Turkey Point during an outage are expected to work seven days per week in twelve-hour shifts.

In April 2016, Dalberiste was interviewed by GLE for a technician position. GLE initially did not hire Dalberiste and issued a turndown letter around April 28, 2016. Dalberiste reapplied for the same position in June 2016, and on June 21, 2016, GLE offered him the technician position. Dalberiste's offer letter stated that he might be required to work nights and weekends. After Dalberiste accepted the position, he informed GLE for the first time that he would not be able to work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. GLE did not offer to accommodate Dalberiste's religious observance and rescinded its job offer in July 2016.

Later that month, Dalberiste filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which gave him a Notice of Right to Sue letter in June 2018. On September 21, 2018, Dalberiste sued GLE and alleged that the company engaged in religious discrimination, retaliated against him based on his religion, and failed to accommodate his religious observance in violation of Title VII and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

GLE moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it could not have accommodated Dalberiste without incurring undue hardship. After finding that Dalberiste established a prima facie case of religious discrimination, the district court turned to GLE's burden to demonstrate that it could not reasonably accommodate Dalberiste without undue hardship to its business. Dalberiste argued that GLE could have shifted other technicians' work schedules and duties to accommodate his religious observance. Relying on Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 432 U.S. 63 (1977), however, the district court concluded that Dalberiste's proposed accommodations would force GLE to bear more than a de minimis cost. The district court reasoned that Dalberiste's accommodations would require other GLE technicians to bear an additional workload of an already demanding job, would force GLE to change its scheduling and work assignment procedures, would force GLE to incur additional costs to hire an additional employee, would put GLE's...

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