Redd v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.

Decision Date24 September 2014
Docket NumberCase No. CV-12-BE-3986-S
PartiesGUY REDD, Plaintiff, v. UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama

Plaintiff Guy Redd asserts claims of race discrimination, brought pursuant to Title VII and § 1981, and retaliation, brought pursuant to Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended. The matter comes before the court on "Defendant United Parcel Service, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment." (Doc. 34). The Plaintiff responded (doc. 40), and the Defendant has replied (doc. 45); this motion has received thorough briefing. For the reasons stated in this Memorandum Opinion, the court FINDS that the motion for summary judgment is due to be GRANTED as to all remaining claims.


In 1984, the Defendant, United Parcel Service, hired the Plaintiff, Guy Redd, an African American male. Redd has held a number of different positions over the years, both hourly and in management. In 2005, after more than twenty years at UPS, Redd assumed his first management role, and the next year he became a Business Manager at UPS's Birmingham facility. TheBirmingham facility includes three package centers as well as a Preload operation—an early operation during which packages are unloaded from trailers and loaded onto UPS trucks—and a Local Sort operation—a late afternoon operation during which the packages obtained from customers during the day are sorted onto feeder trucks for further processing.

UPS Business Managers report directly to a Division Manager who oversees multiple UPS facilities. When Redd first became a Business Manager, he reported to Division Manager Stan Garrett, also African American. Garrett testified that Redd's performance in 2006 and 2007 did not fully meet expectations, and he placed him on a Management Performance Improvement Plan (MPIP) at least one of those years1, a plan that is intended to help a member of management succeed.

Redd next reported to Division Manager Dale Mowery, a Caucasian, and UPS reassigned Redd from the Birmingham Central package center to the early morning Birmingham Preload operation. Although the exact period that Mowery supervised Redd is unclear, Mowery ceased to be Redd's division manager in the summer of 2009.

On October 23, 2008, Redd claims to have complained to former UPS Employee Relations Manager Guy Sciro about alleged discrimination against him by Mowery and UPS Security Manager, Tim Breedlove, also a Caucasian. Both Redd and Sciro confirm that Redd met Sciro at a Jack's Hamburger's fast food restaurant, and asked Sciro to read a four-page memorandum from Redd to "UPS" with a copy to Jeff Poulter, UPS's Alabama Human Resource Manager2 regarding "Unmerited Treatment." In the memo, Redd identified himself as a "Black male"; complained about the manner in which Dale Mowery, a Caucasian Division Manager, and Tim Breedlove, a Caucasian Security Manager, treated him and questioned his integrity during an August 2008 interview regarding a weekend security audit; queried on page four whether the motivation behind their treatment was a "racial issue"; mentioned his fear that he was being "targeted"; and requested that UPS undertake a "formal investigation." (Redd Dep. Doc. 36-2, at 10-13).

According to Redd, he told Sciro specifically that he thought he was being discriminated against because of his race, and gave Sciro a copy of the memo to take with him. Redd did not give a copy of the memo to Poulter directly, but Redd testified that Poulter knew about the memo because Poulter came out to the Preload operations on October 24, 2008, the next day, and said to Redd: "I've got your memo3, but I've got to find somebody and do something, and I'll get withyou later." (Redd Dep. Doc. 36-1, at 82, p. 327). However, Poulter never got back with Redd about his complaints in the memo, and no evidence exists that UPS conducted an investigation of the memo's complaints.

In the summer of 2009, UPS demoted Mowery, transferring him out of Alabama, and Redd reported to an interim manager for a few months. From September 2009 until early April 2010, Redd next reported to Jaime Diaz, who is Hispanic and was new to Alabama, having transferred in from Kansas on August 1, 2009. Diaz had no communication with Redd's former manager Mowery about Redd; Diaz testified that he did not receive any assessments of his new charges and considered all to have a clean slate.

When Diaz became his Division Manager in August, Redd was responsible for the Preload operation and Birmingham Central package center. Diaz testified that he concluded Redd was struggling with his responsibilities. The Business Manager on the Local Sort at that time, Bob Kibler, a Caucasian, had several more years of operations experience than Redd, including more experience with the Preload operations. Diaz testified that the months before the winter holidays represent UPS's peak season, so with peak season approaching, he switched Kibler and Redd, moving the more experienced Kibler to the Preload position, a job that handled twice the volume of packages that Local Sort handled. According to Diaz, he considered the move a lateral one for Redd, as Redd retained the title of Business Manager and no changeoccurred in his pay or benefits. Redd retained the responsibility for the Birmingham Central package center.

Redd, however, did not like the change in job duties or the evening hours, considering the Local Sort position less desirable. Redd considered Diaz to be overly critical of him, holding him accountable for improper actions and poor attendance of Presort hourly employees and supervisors, and Redd believed that the job change and Diaz's criticism of him was based on racial discrimination and retaliation for the 2008 complaint about Mowery.

After Redd's move to Local Sort, two serious service failures occurred in Local Sort operation under his management, one in January of 2010 and in March of 2010. The January 2010 incident resulted in a service failure involving more than 2,400 packages.

Diaz testified that he continued to view deficiencies in Redd's performance after the move to Local Sort, determining that Redd needed to improve his performance on late and missed service issues and that Redd's operation needed improvement in the area of net delivered pieces per hour (a measure of time required to complete delivery of packages for Redd's package center); the range of dispatch (the distribution of package volume among the package cars for Redd's package center); and Local Sort pieces per hour (a measure of the efficiency of the flow of packages). According to Diaz, he evaluated Redd's performances in these areas as worse than the other Business Managers reporting to Diaz, and therefore, placed Redd on an MPIP on or about January 15, 2010.

Redd proffers UPS's Alabama District Balanced Scorecard for January of 2010 as evidence that he was not performing poorly, showing that the Birmingham Central unit under his management ranked nine out of thirty-one Alabama units. The scorecard does not purport torank individual employees, but ranks whole units by location. The other Birmingham units under Diaz's control were Birmingham SE—ranked seven out of 31 Alabama units—and Birmingham SW—ranked 21 out of 31 Alabama units. During the latter half of January, Redd was on MPIP with increased monitoring and accountability, and the evidence does not reflect the ranking of the unit under Redd's management in the months before Diaz placed him on MPIP. Redd provided no other Scorecard and no other evidence evaluating the performance of other Business Mangers under Diaz.

In his declaration, Diaz testified that the purpose of the Scorecards is not to measure the performance of individual Business Managers, and the Scorecards are not valid measures of any particular Business Manager's performance because "many of the elements reflected on the scorecard do not correlate to things within an individual manager's control and there are factors that might improve or reduce the ranking of areas of operation listed on the [Scorecards] for which a Business Manager has no accountability or right to claim credit." (Diaz Decl. Doc. 36-5 at 10).

From Redd's point of view, Diaz continued to treat him unfairly after the move to Local Sort, and Redd characterizes as discriminatory and/or retaliatory the following actions that Diaz took after the move: requiring Redd to complete the tasks of others, including Kibler; requiring Redd to investigate overtime for employees not assigned to him; requiring Redd to review concerns that were not part of his center; requiring Redd to monitor drivers in other centers as well as his own; continuing to hold Redd accountable for Preload employees' actions and errors even though Redd was no longer the Preload manager; and, ultimately, placing Redd on an MPIP.

The MPIP was intended to be a useful tool for performance improvement, and during the pendency of the MPIP, Redd's position, job duties, salary, and benefits remained the same. The MPIP called for specific corrective steps and enumerated objective goals with processes to be in place by January 22, 2010, a week after Redd's placement on the MPIP, with a final review in 90 days. Redd, Diaz, and Poulter signed the MPIP, and Redd understood the consequences of failing to improve. In his deposition testimony, Redd objected to the fairness of the piece-per-hour number because Local Sort had not achieved that number in ten years. Diaz held follow-up meetings with Redd on at least three occasions but those meetings ceased when Redd submitted a complaint against Diaz in February 2010.

On February 14, 2010, Redd submitted a two-page memo to HR personnel at UPS, entitled "Unjust Treatment," asserting that Diaz's placing him on MPIP was discriminatory and represented retaliation for his October 2008 complaint about Mowery's treatment of him:

I assert that I am experiencing

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