United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. 12) AND DISMISSING CASE
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an employment case. Plaintiff Wardell Williams (Williams) is
suing his employer Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) claiming
reverse sex discrimination, retaliation, and disability
the Court is HFHF's motion for summary judgment. For the
reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.
material facts as gleaned from the record follow.
a non-profit healthcare organization which operates several
hospitals and medical centers in Southeastern Michigan,
including Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Williams is
employed by HFHS as a Nurse Assistant at Henry Ford Hospital.
He has been employed by HFHS since 2005.
his employment with HFHS, Williams has had documented
instances regarding his behavior, job performance, and
attendance. During the period from August 11, 2008, through
February 29, 2016, Williams received eight separate
corrective action notices. (Corrective Action Materials, Def.
Ex. 4.) Several of these were for attendance. Id.,
at 2-6, 8. Others were for misconduct, including behaviors
that were "argumentative," "disruptive,"
"rude," "disrespectful," and
"confrontational." Id. at 1.
5, 2015, Williams received a "documented
counseling" for attendance and a "written
warning" for misconduct on September 21, 2015
(Corrective Action Materials, Def. Ex. 4, at 6-7). Williams
filed an appeal under HFHS's Alternative Dispute
Resolution Procedure. He received a favorable outcome with
respect to the September 21, 2015, written warning. (1/12/16
Hearing Notes, Def. Ex. 5; 1/13/16 Letter, Def. Ex. 6.). The
May 5, 2015 attendance warning remained in his file, as did
the other warnings and reprimands. (Evans Dep., Def. Ex. 7,
January 2016, Williams' supervisor, Patricia
Kosel-Rozanski (Kozel-Razanski) spoke to Williams regarding
his job performance. (Kosel-Rozanski Dep., Def. Ex. 9, at
32-33; 1/29/16 Meeting Notes, Def. Ex. 10.). During the
meeting, Kosel-Rozanski asked if Williams had "an issue
with women because it seem[ed] that he always had issues with
women on the unit." (1/29/16 Meeting Notes, Def. Ex. 10;
Kosel-Rozanski Dep., Def. Ex. 9, at 33.) Kosel-Rozanski
explained at her deposition that she asked this question
because Williams was "hard to manage," was
"insubordinate" and was "not listening."
(Kosel-Rozanski Dep., Def. Ex. 9, at 33.). In an effort to
improve Williams' relationships with co-workers,
Kosel-Rozanski suggested a "team-building
activity." (Kosel-Rozanski Dep., Def. Ex. 9, at 33, 34;
1/29/16 Meeting Notes, Def. Ex. 10.). Williams
"agreed;" the remainder of the conversation was
"nice." (1/29/16 Meeting Notes, Def. Ex. 10.).
February 2016, Williams filed a complaint with the Human
Resource (HR) department claiming that he was being harassed
by Kosel-Rozanski. (3/28/16 Investigation Report, Def. Ex.
11, at 1.). Williams also said that he was being targeted,
constantly accused of not working and subjected to excessive
criticism. Id., at 1. The HR department conducted an
investigation of the complaint, including 13 witness
interviews and a full "departmental assessment."
Id. at 2-5.) Based on the investigation, the HR
department concluded that Williams had not been
"harassed" by Kosel-Rozanski, but she could use
coaching on how to deal with difficult employees. (3/28/16
Investigation Report, Def. Ex. 11, at 3, 6; see also 5/9/16
Letter, Def. Ex. 12; Evans Dep., Def. Ex. 7, at 6, 21.).
Christine Evans, the HR investigator also recommended that
Williams receive coaching or training on accepting and using
constructive feedback, and how to communicate so that when
responding to others he adheres to team member standards.
(3/28/16 Investigation Report, Def. Ex. 11, at 6-7.)
February 2016, several co-workers complained that Williams
had become "increasingly difficult to work with"
and was lacking in "teamwork and compassion."
(Co-worker Complaint Materials, Def. Ex. 8 at 1, 3, 10.
Co-workers also reported that he was continuing "to bate
people and bully them in a passive aggressive manner."
Id., at 9. At this time, Williams was working in the
"B-3" unit, which is an orthopedics unit, and was
reporting to Kosel-Rozanski. (Williams Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at
20.) The orthopedics unit consisted of both male and female
employees, including two male employees that Kosel-Rozanski
had hired herself. (Kosel-Rozanski Dep., Def. Ex. 9, at
10-14.) When Kosel-Rozanski attempted to counsel Williams
regarding the co-worker complaints, he became "loud and
very upset." (Co-worker Complaint Materials, Def. Ex. 8,
at 7. Williams also engaged in conduct toward Kosel-Rozanski
that she considered to be threatening. Id. at 8.
of 2016, Williams requested and was granted a leave of
absence due to stress. (6/17/16 Letter, Def. Ex. 13; Williams
Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at 75.). While he was on leave of absence,
HFHS made arrangements for him to transfer to the MICU unit.
(6/17/16 Letter, Def. Ex. 13.). When he returned, Williams
said he was "happy to get off B-3." (Williams Dep.,
Def. Ex. 2, at 75-76.). During his deposition, Williams was
asked whether he "wanted to get off of the B-3
unit." Id. at 76. His answer was "Yes.
Yes. Yes." Id.
Williams transferred to the MICU-5 unit, Williams started to
have "psychological problems" because his mother
was in an intensive care unit at another hospital. (Williams
Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at 76-79.) According to Williams, these
problems began a "couple of weeks" after he
transferred into the MICU. Id. at 79-80.
order to accommodate Williams, HFHS granted him a leave of
absence from July 22, 2016, through September 12, 2016.
(7/20/16 Letter, Def. Ex. 14; 8/11/16 Medical Certification,
Def. Ex. 15; Williams Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at 82-83.). HFHS also
gave Williams time off to care for his mother. (7/13/16
Letter, Def. Ex. 16; Williams Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at 82-83.).
After his mother passed away, Williams requested to be
transferred to another unit, as it was difficult for him to
work in a unit that was similar to the unit where his mother
had passed away. (10/10/16 Letter, Def. Ex. 17; 11/8/16
Request for Accommodation, Def. Ex. 18; Williams Dep., Def.
Ex. 2, at 84-86.). HFHS reassigned Williams to the
Neuroscience 6 West unit, where he is currently working and
enjoys it. (11/11/16 Email, Def. Ex. 19; Williams Dep., Def.
Ex. 2, at 11, 86.).
admits that HFHS "accommodated" him by moving him
into "the new neuroscience floor, instead of intensive
care." (Williams Dep., Def. Ex. 2, at 86.) Williams also
stated at his deposition that is getting along smoothly with
his current supervisor and coworkers on Neuroscience 6 West.
Id. at 132. Williams says he "like[s]"
being in the neuroscience unit, and is working with the
people who "care about" him. Id. He
describes his work environment as being filed with
being happy in his new location, on January 19, 2017,
Williams filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that he had
requested a "reasonable accommodation" on or about
October 10, 2016, and his request "was denied."
(1/19/17 EEOC Charge, Def. Ex. 20.) He also said that he had
been subjected to "different terms and conditions of
employment" based on "disability" and
"sex." Id. The EECO eventually issued a
right to sue letter. (1/25/17 Notice of Dismissal, Def. Ex.
April 2017, Williams filed this case in state court claiming
(1) sex discrimination under Michigan's Elliot Larsen
Civil Rights Act, (2) retaliation, and (3) disability
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.