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Beydoun v. Chrysler LLC Group

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 5, 2015

FARID ALI BEYDOUN, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRYSLER LLC GROUP, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MARIANNE O. BATTANI, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Chrysler Group, LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 32). The Court heard oral argument on the motion on December 17, 2014, and at the conclusion of the hearing took the matter under advisement. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

A. Beydoun's Employment with Chrysler

Plaintiff Farid Beydoun began working at Chrysler as a spot welder in April 2000, a position subject to a collective bargaining agreement with UAW Local 1264. In October 2010, Beydoun became a Team Leader for one of the spot welding units. He maintains that he was one of the best Team Leaders at Chrysler and was an exemplary employee. Team leaders are not supervisors, but they are responsible for recording production data and providing coverage if someone needs a break from work. Team leaders report to separate supervisors, who in turn report to the area managers. Each plant also has a human resources department.

B. Robert Bedford Incident

Shortly after becoming a Team Leader in 2010, Beydoun began having disputes with some of his team members, as well as other hi-lo drivers from the material controls department. In fact, Beydoun acknowledged several conflicts during the three years in which he served as Team Leader. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, pp. 52-54, 67-78). One of the first incidents involved Robert Bedford, whom Beydoun claims called him a "fathead motherfucker" in May 2011. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 89). In another related incident, Bedford said to him, "come a litter closer and see what happens to you." (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 93). In his deposition, Beydoun concedes that Bedford had problems with everyone and that he was upset with Beydoun because he was Team Leader. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, pp. 90-91). After the incident, Bedford left work and did not return for several months. However, in September 2011, Beydoun filed a grievance when he learned Bedford was returning. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 94). The grievance was denied. Beydoun had no other incidents with Bedford other than one instance when Bedford drove by Beydoun and "smirked." (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 98).

C. Costell McIntosh Incident

In January 2012, Beydoun got into a verbal altercation with hi-lo driver Costell McIntosh. According to Beydoun, McIntosh threatened him by saying "I'm the wrong motherfucking hi-lo driver to F' with." (Doc. No. 32, Ex. E). McIntosh denied the incident and also denied using profanity, because as a Jehovah's witness, it would be against his religion. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 164). Both individuals were sent home that day. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 165). After an investigation, human resources could not determine which party was being truthful. Therefore, both McIntosh and Beydoun were docked 3-4 hours of pay. However, Beydoun filed a grievance challenging the dock in pay and had his penalty reduced to 2 hours. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, p. 165).

D. Beydoun Files Union Charges

Several months later in October, Beydoun filed a charge against his Union with the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") regarding representation issues. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. H). In addition, he filed a charge against the Union with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for religious discrimination arising out of the McIntosh incident. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. I). Beydoun claims that after he filed the NLRB charge, Union President Bobby Stuglin passed him in the hall and said, "man, why are you suing me?" (Doc. No. 32, Ex. A, pp. 221-23).

On October 31, Beydoun went to the Labor Relations Department and complained that his supervisor told him he could no longer work in excess of nine hours a day. Two meetings were held to discuss the issue, during which Beydoun claimed he was being retaliated against for filing charges against the Union. Human resources generalist Amanda Darr conducted an investigation and found no evidence of harassment or retaliation. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. L).

In November 2012, Beydoun filed a diversity complaint with Chrysler alleging that several Union officials discriminated against him based on his religion. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. F). Specifically, Beydoun asserted that McIntosh's religion (Jehovah's witness) was given preference over his because the investigation assumed Beydoun was lying about McIntosh's threat. As a result, Darr investigated the complaint. However, she found no evidence to substantiate the claim that McIntosh's religion was given preferential treatment or was even a factor in the January 2012 incident. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. G). In her notes dated November 2, 2012, Darr mentions that "HR was unaware that the issue of religion was an issue during this investigation between Mr. Beydoun and Mr. McIntosh. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. K).

E. Gary Dura Incident

On November 10, 2012, Beydoun told one of his supervisors to "kiss my ass" over a radio used on the plant floor. (Doc. No. 32, Ex. M, p. 26). Area Manager Gary Dura overheard the comment and believed Beydoun was arguing with a supervisor. He also thought Beydoun said "kick his ass." (Doc. No. 32, Ex. M, p. 29; Ex. N). He then asked to see Beydoun in his office to speak to him about "what was going on." (Doc. No. 32, Ex. M, p. 35). During the conversation, Beydoun claimed it was a joke and became irate, calling Dura a racist, a liar, and a coward, which Beydoun admitted during his deposition:

Q: Okay. And Gary Dura is the one, your supervisor, or actually at the time was acting as the area manager, that you called a liar and a coward; is that right?
A. Yes. Actually, it was a coward and a liar. Mixed up the words.

(Doc. No. 32, Ex. 150). As a result, Beydoun received a three-day disciplinary ...


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