United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
J. Pechman United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on the parties' Motions for
Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the Motions (Dkt. Nos. 32,
36), the Responses (Dkt. Nos. 54, 69), the Replies (Dkt. Nos.
61, 76), and all related papers, and having considered the
statements of the parties at oral argument, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion in its entirety and DENIES
Plaintiff's Motion in its entirety.
Michael Gilmore filed this action against The Boeing Company
(“Boeing”) for employment discrimination on the
basis of race and disability. Plaintiff asserts claims for
employment discrimination, hostile work environment,
retaliation, and failure to accommodate his disability under
the Washington Law Against Discrimination
(“WLAD”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq. (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 1981,
et seq. (“Section 1981”), and the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101,
et seq. (“ADA”).
who is African American and suffers from obstructive sleep
apnea, worked for Boeing as a Nondestructive Inspection
Technician (“NDI Technician”) from September
2011-August 2015 in its Tukwila and Auburn facilities. (Dkt.
No. 1 at 3, 5; Dkt. No. 69 at 2.) As an NDI Technician,
Plaintiff was tasked with inspecting airplane parts for
imperfections and defects. (Dkt. No. 36 at 2-3.) As these
parts were later to be incorporated into passenger airplanes,
accuracy and attention to detail in their inspection were
critical. (Id. at 2.)
result of his sleep apnea, Plaintiff claims he suffered from
daytime somnolence which made it difficult for him to stay
awake at work. Boeing claims Plaintiff was repeatedly
observed sleeping at work, and was repeatedly advised to
request an accommodation. The relevant timeline of events is
2011-2012, Plaintiff was observed sleeping at work several
times. (Dkt. No. 36 at 3.) When confronted by his supervisor,
Paul Adams, Plaintiff explained that he had a medical
condition. (Id.) Mr. Adams advised Plaintiff to
initiate a request for accommodation with Boeing Medical.
2013, after Mr. Adams observed him sleeping at work several
more times, Plaintiff identified his condition as sleep
apnea. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff requested to work a
later shift, which he explained would help him accommodate
his sleep apnea. (Id.) Mr. Adams granted the request
and again advised Plaintiff to initiate a request with Boeing
2014, Mr. Adams again observed Plaintiff sleeping at work.
(Id.) Mr. Adams referred the matter to Human
Resources for discipline. (Id. at 4-5.)
15, 2014, after learning of the pending discipline, Plaintiff
submitted medical documentation to Boeing Medical.
(Id. at 5; Dkt. No. 38, Ex. D.) Boeing's
Reasonable Accommodation Procedure required that such
documentation identify both “the medical necessity of
the requested accommodation” and the employee's
“functional limitations.” (Dkt. No. 36 at 3 n.2.)
Plaintiff's documentation showed he had been diagnosed
with sleep apnea on June 1, 2010, but did not identify
functional limitations nor recommended any accommodation.
(Dkt. No. 38, Ex. D.)
25, 2014, Boeing issued Plaintiff a Corrective Action
Memorandum (“CAM”) for sleeping at work (the
“July 2014 CAM”). (Dkt. No. 36 at 5; Dkt. No. 40,
January 2015, Joseph Benavides assumed supervision over
Plaintiff and other NDI Technicians in his group. (Dkt. No.
36 at 6.) During a team meeting, Mr. Benavides greeted
Plaintiff by saying “good morning, sunshine, ”
and thereafter referred to him as “sunshine”
several more times. (Id.; Dkt. No. 69 at 5.) At the
same team meeting, Plaintiff claims he overheard Mr.
Benavides use the term “little hood rats.”
(Id. at 6.) On January 27, 2015, Plaintiff told Mr.
Benavides he found the term “sunshine” racially
offensive. (Dkt. No. 38, Ex. H.)
the same time, Mr. Benavides confronted Plaintiff regarding
problems with his attendance, including chronic lateness.
(Dkt. No. 36 at 6.) Plaintiff explained that he suffered from
sleep apnea and asked Mr. Benavides for help using his leave
benefits. (Id.) Mr. Benavides advised Plaintiff to
contact Boeing Medical, and provided him with a Reasonable
Accommodation and Health Care Provider Form (the
“Reasonable Accommodation Form”). (Id.)
January 23, 2015, Plaintiff submitted the Reasonable
Accommodation Form to Boeing Medical along with documentation
from his physician stating he needed to “come into work
occasionally late as he will sleep through alarm.”
(Dkt. No. 36 at 6-7; Dkt. No. 38, Ex. E.) Boeing's
Disability Management Representative reviewed the request
with Plaintiff, and together they agreed he would use Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave and personal
leave to adjust his schedule as needed. (Dkt. No. 36 at 7;
Dkt. No. 38, Ex. H.) Plaintiff claims he was not late to work
once offered this accommodation. (Dkt. No. 36 at 7; Dkt. No.
38-7 at 192:4-10.)
May 2015, Plaintiff voluntarily transferred from Boeing's
Tukwila facility to its facility in Auburn. (Dkt. No. 36 at
3.) Plaintiff requested a later shift in Auburn, but was told
this would not be feasible given the facility's
production environment and shift schedule. (Id. at
7.) Mr. Benavides advised Plaintiff to continue using FMLA
and personal leave to adjust his schedule as needed.
13, 2015, Plaintiff received a second CAM for failing to
comply with a company policy requiring NDI Technicians to log
out of a document called the “NDI log” (the
“July 2015 CAM”). (See Dkt. No. 40, Ex.
U.) The NDI log was used to record and track airplane part
inspections, and Boeing claims that failure to exit the log
properly resulted in lost data and lost production time.
(Dkt. No. 36 at 8.) Boeing claims that prior to the July 2015
CAM, Plaintiff and other NDI Technicians were repeatedly
warned that failure to exit the log properly would result in
August 11, 2015, Plaintiff received a third CAM for violating
Boeing's “No Walk Away Policy, ” which
prohibited employees from leaving a certain machines
unattended. (Id. at 9.) Boeing claims Plaintiff
improperly left an AUSS machine unattended for over an hour,
and as a result “gallons of water spilled out of the
tank and onto the shop floor near live electrical
outlets.” (Id.; Dkt. No. 40, Ex. M.)
to company policy, Plaintiff was terminated in August 2015
for having received his third CAM in ...