Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hosp., No. 90-5984

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore MANSMANN and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges, and RONEY; NYGAARD
Citation940 F.2d 54
Docket NumberNo. 90-5984
Decision Date08 August 1991
Parties56 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 986, 57 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 40,909 Talmadge W. HAYES, Appellant, v. COMMUNITY GENERAL OSTEOPATHIC HOSPITAL and Bert McBrayer, Appellees.

Page 54

940 F.2d 54
56 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 986,
57 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 40,909
Talmadge W. HAYES, Appellant,
v.
COMMUNITY GENERAL OSTEOPATHIC HOSPITAL and Bert McBrayer, Appellees.
No. 90-5984.
United States Court of Appeals,
Third Circuit.
Argued May 7, 1991.
Decided Aug. 8, 1991.

Elliot A. Strokoff (argued), Strokoff & Cowden, P.C., Harrisburg, Pa., for appellant.

Vincent Candiello (argued), Audrey F. Miner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Harrisburg, Pa., for appellee.

Before MANSMANN and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges, and RONEY, Senior Circuit Judge. *

Page 55

OPINION OF THE COURT

NYGAARD, Circuit Judge.

The primary issue in this appeal is whether 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 provides a cause of action for a racially motivated discharge. The district court held that racially motivated employment termination claims are not actionable under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981, 730 F.Supp. 1333, and that Hayes was fired for non-discriminatory reasons. We will affirm.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

Appellant Talmadge W. Hayes was employed by the Community General Osteopathic Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for more than nineteen years before being discharged on May 16, 1988. Hayes worked as a Purchasing Manager and was the Hospital's only black management level employee.

In November of 1986, Hayes' supervisor, Bert McBrayer, reprimanded Hayes for smelling of alcohol. A few weeks later McBrayer gave Hayes written notice that again "the odor of alcohol was present about [his] person." The notice warned Hayes that he could be suspended or terminated if he smelled of alcohol again. In January of 1988, McBrayer issued another warning marked "final notice" to Hayes regarding his "problem with alcohol."

On the morning of April 25, 1988, Hayes called his secretary to say he was experiencing car trouble near Philadelphia, would not be able to make it to work, and, therefore, would take the day off as a personal day. Hayes' secretary had Hayes speak to McBrayer. Hayes told McBrayer that his car had been towed and he was awaiting repairs, and agreed to try to make it to work later in the day. Nevertheless, Hayes remained absent.

When Hayes arrived at work the next day, McBrayer immediately questioned him about the car trouble. Hayes reiterated what he said the day before on the phone: his car had been towed and repaired near Philadelphia. McBrayer demanded towing and repair receipts. Hayes then modified his original story, explaining instead that a relative had repaired his car. When Hayes refused to verify this new story, McBrayer gave Hayes one hour to submit his resignation, or else be fired. Hayes resigned.

Later, the Hospital's President allowed Hayes to rescind his resignation in order to grieve his termination through the Hospital's internal grievance procedure. Hayes did not succeed in his grievance hearing, and the Hospital's President converted Hayes' resignation into a formal discharge. At trial, the Hospital President testified that he formally discharged Hayes because he had lied to McBrayer about why he took the day off. A Hospital Vice President testified that Hayes admitted that he had lied to his supervisor about why he took the day off. The Hospital admits that Hayes' job performance was "reasonable" and "acceptable" until his termination.

Hayes filed a complaint in the district court against McBrayer and the Hospital, alleging his termination was racially motivated in violation of both Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et seq. (Count I), and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 (Count II). In Count II, Hayes also alleged that he was denied access to the same full and fair internal grievance procedure the Hospital affords white employees who challenge discharge.

Before discovery, the district court granted the Hospital's Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), motion to dismiss that portion of Count II of Hayes' complaint which alleged his right to enter into a contract had been violated by his racially motivated discharge. The district court held that Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 109 S.Ct. 2363, 105 L.Ed.2d 132 (1989), barred such a claim under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981.

Nevertheless, the district court allowed Hayes to proceed on his Sec. 1981 allegation that his right to enforce an employment contract had been infringed by a discriminatory denial of access to the Hospital's internal grievance procedure. Following discovery, however, the district court granted partial summary judgment to the

Page 56

defendants on this remaining Sec. 1981 claim as well. 1

After trial, the jury returned an advisory verdict in favor of Hayes. The district court entered judgment against Hayes on his Title VII claims, concluding, contrary to the advisory verdict, that Hayes was discharged for a nondiscriminatory reason: lying to his supervisor about why he took a personal day.

II.

RACIALLY MOTIVATED DISCHARGE UNDER 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981

Hayes argues that the district court erred by dismissing his claim that his discharge was racially motivated, violating 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981. Our standard of review of a dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) is plenary. Jablonski v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290 (3d Cir.1988). We apply the same test used by the district court in the first instance. Society Hill Civic Association v. Harris, 632 F.2d 1045, 1054 (3d Cir.1980). The district court may not grant a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(c) "unless the movant clearly establishes that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, ... view[ing] the facts presented in the pleadings and the inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Id. (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Sec. 1386, at 690 (1969)).

In Patterson, the Supreme Court held that employee claims of racial harassment on the job are not actionable under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981. 2 The Court held Sec. 1981 applies only to racial discrimination in the making or enforcement of private contracts and "cannot be construed as a general proscription of racial discrimination in all aspects of contract relations ..." 491 U.S. at 176, 109 S.Ct. at 2372. Section 1981's anti-discrimination protections extend only to conduct involved in contractual formation, not to problems arising after a contract has been entered into, such as discriminatory breach of an employment contract or discriminatory working conditions. Id. at 176-77, 109 S.Ct. at 2372-73. The Court held that racial harassment of an employee occurring after formation of an employment contract was actionable as an unlawful employment practice under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but not under Sec. 1981. Id. at...

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42 practice notes
  • In re Hopkins, Bankruptcy No. 06-15503bif.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Third Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • June 22, 2007
    ...party. Sikirica v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 416 F.3d 214, 220 (3d Cir.2005); see, e.g., Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991); Institute for Scientific Information, Inc. v. Gordon & Breacit, Science Publishers, Inc., 931 F.2d 1002, 1004 (3d Cir.1991); ......
  • Aiken v. Bucks Ass'n for Retarded Citizens, Inc., Civ. A. No. 91-2672.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • July 14, 1992
    ...on-the-job harassment, is conduct occurring after the formation of a contract. See, e.g., Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 940, 117 L.Ed.2d 110 799 F. Supp. 527 Section 101(2)(b) of the Act, codified at 42 U.S......
  • Taj Mahal Travel, Inc. v. Delta Airlines, Inc., No. 97-5652
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 30, 1998
    ...of the District Court's dismissal of a complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) is plenary. See Hayes v. Community Gen. Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991). We must accept as true the allegations in the complaint, and draw all reasonable factual inferences in Taj Mahal's favor. See T......
  • Bermingham v. Sony Corp. of America, Inc., Civ. A. No. 92-987 (AJL).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 19, 1993
    ...of contracts."), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 956, 117 L.Ed.2d 124 (1992); Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hospital, 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991) (Patterson applies to the making and enforcing of contracts), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 940, 117 L.Ed.2d 110 (1992);......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • In re Hopkins, Bankruptcy No. 06-15503bif.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Third Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • June 22, 2007
    ...party. Sikirica v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 416 F.3d 214, 220 (3d Cir.2005); see, e.g., Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991); Institute for Scientific Information, Inc. v. Gordon & Breacit, Science Publishers, Inc., 931 F.2d 1002, 1004 (3d Cir.1991); ......
  • Aiken v. Bucks Ass'n for Retarded Citizens, Inc., Civ. A. No. 91-2672.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • July 14, 1992
    ...on-the-job harassment, is conduct occurring after the formation of a contract. See, e.g., Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 940, 117 L.Ed.2d 110 799 F. Supp. 527 Section 101(2)(b) of the Act, codified at 42 U.S......
  • Taj Mahal Travel, Inc. v. Delta Airlines, Inc., No. 97-5652
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 30, 1998
    ...of the District Court's dismissal of a complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) is plenary. See Hayes v. Community Gen. Osteopathic Hosp., 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991). We must accept as true the allegations in the complaint, and draw all reasonable factual inferences in Taj Mahal's favor. See T......
  • Bermingham v. Sony Corp. of America, Inc., Civ. A. No. 92-987 (AJL).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • March 19, 1993
    ...of contracts."), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 956, 117 L.Ed.2d 124 (1992); Hayes v. Community General Osteopathic Hospital, 940 F.2d 54, 56 (3d Cir.1991) (Patterson applies to the making and enforcing of contracts), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 940, 117 L.Ed.2d 110 (1992);......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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