United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
REIDINGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on the Defendants'
Motions for Summary Judgment [Docs. 59, 61].
Plaintiff Robert Louis Gary initiated this action in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California on November 22, 2016, asserting claims of
employment discrimination based on his race in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1981. [Doc. 1]. The action was transferred to
this Court on May 8, 2017. [Doc. 34].
Plaintiff, who is African-American, alleges in his Complaint
that he was denied a promotion and equal pay in whole or in
part on the basis of his race. [Id. at 17].
Specifically, the Plaintiff asserts that he was discriminated
against when he was not promoted in the first quarter of 2014
(“Q1 2014”) and instead was promoted later in the
third quarter of 2014 (“Q3 2014”). He also
alleges that, because of this delay in his promotion, his
compensation has lagged compared to the compensation paid to
other white employees who were more quickly promoted.
Defendants Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) and Wayne
Hawkins (“Hawkins”) move for summary judgment
with respect to the Plaintiff's claims. The Court held a
hearing on these motions on July 6, 2018. Having been fully
briefed and argued, these motions are now ripe for
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A fact is “material” if it “might
affect the outcome of the case.” News and Observer
Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d
570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010). A “genuine dispute”
exists “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
asserting that a fact cannot be genuinely disputed must
support its assertion with citations to the record or by
showing that the adverse party cannot produce admissible
evidence to support that fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).
“Regardless of whether he may ultimately be responsible
for proof and persuasion, the party seeking summary judgment
bears an initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Bouchat v.
Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522
(4th Cir. 2003). If this showing is made, the burden then
shifts to the non-moving party who must convince the court
that a triable issue exists. Id. Finally, in
considering a party's summary judgment motion, the Court
must view the pleadings and materials presented in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, and must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant as well.
Adams v. Trustees of Univ. of N.C. -Wilmington, 640
F.3d 550, 556 (4th Cir. 2011).
the forecast of evidence in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff as the non-moving party, the following is a
recitation of the relevant facts.
is a global technology company that provides a social
networking service for users worldwide. [Normandy Dec. at
¶ 3]. Facebook operates data centers that house the
company's large computer storage systems, including the
data center in Forest City, North Carolina, where the
Plaintiff is employed. [Id.; Gary Dep. at 30-31].
Defendant Hawkins is a white male who was
formerly the facilities manager at the Forest City
data center. [Hawkins Dep. at 11-12].
Plaintiff began his tenure at Facebook as a contract Critical
Facilities Technician through Siemens Corporation
(“Siemens”) in July 2012. [Gary Dep. at 29].
Siemens' contract was overseen by Hawkins. [Id.
at 40]. The Plaintiff was eventually offered a position with
Facebook as a Critical Facilities Technician (later called
Critical Facilities Engineer or “CFE”) at the
Forest City facility. As part of that transition process, the
Plaintiff was interviewed by, among others, Hawkins.
[Id. at 33]. The Plaintiff accepted the position on
October 28, 2012, and began his duties on November 12, 2012.
[Id. at 36, 39].
Plaintiff was brought in at an entry-level, or
“IC1” level, position. [Gary Dep. at 39]. Each
CFE at the Forest City data center is assigned to an IC
(individual contributor) level based on the quality of his or
her performance. [Normandy Dec. at ¶ 6]. A CFE is
considered for promotion to the next highest IC level once he
or she has succeeded at the existing level and consistently
demonstrated the skills necessary to succeed at the higher
level. Each employee's performance is assessed in
semi-annual performance reports. [Id.]. As for
employee compensation, Facebook's Compensation Department
controls all pay decisions. [Singh Dec. at ¶ 7].
Managers in the Forest City data center do not set pay for
other employees. [Id.]. Rather, the Compensation
Department sets employee pay under a formula that considers
numerous factors, including the employee's performance
review rating, IC level, and existing pay. [Id.].
November 2012 until February 2013, the Plaintiff worked the
third shift, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., alternating between
three and four days per week. [Gary Dep. at 41-42, 43]. Based
upon his performance in the first and second quarter of 2013,
the Plaintiff was assessed as “meet[ing] all
expectations” and was awarded a bonus. This performance
assessment was signed by Hawkins. [Gary Dep. Ex. 4; Gary Dep.
at 64-65]. In February 2013, the Plaintiff transitioned from
third to first shift, and he remained in that position until
June of 2013. [Gary Dep. at 44, 53]. In June 2013, the
Plaintiff was asked to resume his position on third shift,
and the Plaintiff accepted the arrangement, thereby entitling
him to a shift differential raise. [Id. at 54]. Upon
resuming third shift, the Plaintiff's supervisor and
primary evaluator was Matt Hamrick. [Id. at 55]. The
Plaintiff continued in his third shift position from June
2013 until June 2014 when Hamrick offered him another first
shift position. [Gary Dep. at 55, 56].
Plaintiff was initially on a list of IC1 employees to be
promoted for the Q1 2014 performance review period based upon
his work product during the second and third quarter of 2013.
[Faccone Dep. at 49-50]. When that promotion list was sent to
Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park (MPK), MPK decided
there were too many employees on the promotion list, thus
requiring the Forest City managers to reevaluate those
employees, including the Plaintiff. [Faccone Dep. at 49-51].
A group of several managers, including James Swensen, Wayne
Hawkins, Matt Hamrick, Wesley Gordon, and James Faccone,
therefore met to reevaluate the promotion decisions for Q1
2014. [Faccone Dep. at 37-38, 50]. The Plaintiff was one of
the employees the managers decided to take off the promotion
list. [Faccone Dep. at 53].
review of the Plaintiff's performance was led by Hawkins.
Of the other managers present, Gordon did not have any input
regarding the Plaintiff's performance as Gordon
supervised CFEs in another building. [Hawkins Dep. at 40].
Faccone, as the global facilities manager, was responsible
for evaluating the performances of all CFEs at the Forest
City data center [Marciari Dec. at ¶ 8]; however, he
admitted that he did not review any documents pertaining to
the Plaintiff's performance prior to this meeting.
[Faccone Dep. at 49]. As the Plaintiff's current
supervisor, Hamrick offered some feedback and a peer summary
review, which he completed in late 2013 shortly after he
began supervising the Plaintiff. [Hamrick Dep. at 31-33,
122-23, 126-29]. While the group agreed that the Plaintiff
was “trending towards promotion” [Hawkins Dep. at
110; Hamrick Dep. at 123], the group decided not to promote
the Plaintiff to IC2 at that time ...