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Schauf v. Inn

March 24, 2009

STEVEN SCHAUF, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAMPTON INN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

A. Introduction and Background

On January 8, 2008, Steven Schauf, Jr., appearing pro se, filed the above-captioned action alleging discrimination based on race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e (Doc. 1). Therein, it appears that Schauf alleges three general aspects of his employment that he believes were discriminatory: (1) that he was required to wear long sleeve shirts to cover his tattoos, (2) that he was reassigned from his job as a desk clerk to a job as a housekeeper, and (3) that he was laid off from his position and was never rehired.

Schauf is a Native American and has tattoos on both arms. Hampton Inn hired Schauf as a part-time desk clerk in October 2006. At that time, he was informed that Hampton Inn's dress code prohibited desk clerks from having any tattoos exposed. As a result, he was required to wear a long sleeve shirt while working at the front desk.

Because occupancy decreases during the winter, Hampton Inn typically has to reduce the hours of its employees. In an effort to keep Schauf's hours from being reduced during the slow season, Hampton Inn offered him the position of houseman. Schauf took the position, which did not include any reduction in his hourly pay. Despite the change in his position, he continued to wear long sleeves. At least one other houseman, a Caucasian, wore short sleeves even though he had visible tattoos on his arms. However, Schauf soon learned that he did not enjoy the houseman position.

In December 2006, Hampton Inn informed Schauf that he was being laid off during the remainder of the slow season, subject to recall after business picked up again. Schauf was never called back to work, even though Hampton Inn called others back in and hired additional employees.

On December 19, 2008, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 14). Schauf submitted his reply on January 26, 2009 (Doc. 23). Having fully reviewed these documents, the Court hereby GRANTS summary judgment in favor of the Defendant and against Schauf.

B. Standards Governing Summary Judgment Motions

Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56(c) provides:

[Summary judgment] should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact that the movant is entitled to as a matter of law.

Because the primary purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims, the non-movant may not rest on the pleadings but must respond, with affidavits or otherwise, setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Oest v. IDOC, 240 F.3d 605, 610 (7th Cir. 2001); Moore v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 221 F.3d 944, 950 (7th Cir. 2000). The "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

The burden is on the non-moving party to produce specific facts that show a genuine issue for trial. FED.R.CIV.P. 56(e); Moore, 221 F.3d at 950. "Conclusory allegations and self-serving affidavits, if not supported by the record, will not preclude summary judgment." Haywood v. North American Van Lines, Inc., 121 F.3d 1066, 1071 (7th Cir. 1997); see alsoFED.R.CIV.P. 56(e) ("an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading").

In ruling on a summary judgment motion, this Court must construe the evidence and all inferences reasonably drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the ...


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