An employee brought action against his employer, alleging claims for employment discrimination and failure to pay overtime under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Texas state law. A district court granted the employer’s summary judgment motion and thus the employee appealed. William Noack claimed that the YMCA began discriminating against him shortly after he was hired as a part-time childcare employee in March of 1999. First, he claims that in the summer of 2000, he was mockingly presented with a gag “Bee Charmer” award for having reported a beehive at the base of a tree located approximately twelve feet from a main hiking trial used by children at a YMCA day camp. Second, he says that in 2000, he was improperly disciplined for taking a young girl to the bathroom in violation of the YMCA’s policies. In lieu of termination for his misconduct, Noack was transferred to a new facility. Third, also in 2000, he says he was refused a promotion to the “site director” position at a specific location he desired because he was a male, although he was in fact promoted to site director at a different YMCA facility (and later to multi-site director). Fourth, in 2005 he was given a gag “Mr. Handy Man” award, allegedly evidencing that he was demoted to menial labor. Fifth, he was reprimanded for sending personal e-mails on work time, although others engaging in the same conduct were not. Noack v. YMCA of Greater Houston Area, 418 Fed. Appx. 347, 350 (5th Cir. 2011).
Noack also alleged that the YMCA’s discriminatory actions continued throughout 2007 and afterward. In August of that year, Noack complained to his supervisor about his work load and inability to work paid overtime. She reminded him about the YMCA’s budget constraints and its policy against employees working overtime. Despite that conversation, Noack worked two hours of unauthorized overtime the next week. When the supervisor was made aware of the situation, she sent him home because he had completed the maximum number of workable hours that week. The next week, the supervisor gave Noack a written reprimand regarding the incident. Noack asserted that this reprimand was retaliation for having requested payment for the number of overtime hours he had worked.
Shortly after receiving the written reprimand, Noack wrote his supervisor an e-mail alleging that the YMCA engaged in discriminatory hiring practices. In that e-mail, Noack alleged that she had instructed him not to hire too many African–American people and to keep African–American employees separated from each other. Id. at 352. Noack also testified on appeal that his supervisor made a similar statement regarding hiring men. The supervisor replied to the email by expressing her support for hiring a diverse staff that would reflect the diverse community that the YMCA served.
Approximately a month after receiving the written reprimand, Noack met with human resources (HR) personnel to express several more complaints. In this meeting, Noack complained about both the overtime policy and the YMCA’s alleged discriminatory hiring practices. He also complained about being transferred to a different facility in 2000 after the incident in which he took the young girl to the restroom. Then about two weeks after his meeting with HR, Noack tendered his resignation. His resignation e-mail stated that he was leaving voluntarily “to go on and do other things.” That same day, an HR employee met with Noack and asked him to provide an estimate of the amount of unpaid overtime he had worked in the last three years. Noack estimated the unauthorized overtime at 138 hours. The YMCA paid him for the requested amount despite the fact that Noack did not have any documentation to indicate the number of hours that he worked or the tasks that he completed. Id. 353.
Subsequently, Noack filed this lawsuit, contending that the YMCA violated Title VII by discriminating against him based on his sex. He also claimed under the same statute that the YMCA systematically discriminated on gender and racial grounds, affecting his employment by hindering him from hiring male or black employees. That discrimination, Noack claims, led to a hostile work environment and to his constructive discharge. In addition, he alleged that the YMCA illegally retaliated against him pursuant to the FLSA after his request for his unpaid overtime pay.
The YMCA filed for summary judgment on all counts. In a detailed report, the magistrate judge recommended granting the YMCA’s summary judgment motion. After reviewing Noack’s objections to the recommendation, the district court adopted the magistrate judge’s memorandum and recommendation and entered final judgment in favor of the YMCA. Noack appealed, arguing that the district court improperly granted the YMCA’s motion for summary judgment because the district court improperly excluded admissible evidence and wrongly considered inadmissible evidence. In the alternative, Noack argued that the motion for summary judgment was improperly granted because genuine issues of material fact were in dispute. However, the Fifth Circuit found that the lower court did not err in its granting of the summary judgment and thus affirmed the lower court’s decision.
It should be noted that pursuant to 5th Cir. R. 47.5, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5th Cir. R. 47.5.4.