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Schaffhauser v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 23, 2015

Chris Schaffhauser, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
United Parcel Service, Inc., Defendant - Appellee

Submitted June 10, 2015.

Page 900

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

For Chris Schaffhauser, Plaintiff - Appellant: James Henry Penick III, Alicia Austin Smith, Eichenbaum & Lilles, Little Rock, AR.

For United Parcel Service, Inc., Defendant - Appellee: Marcus M. Crider, Waller & Lansden, Nashville, TN.

Before GRUENDER, MELLOY, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 901

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Christopher L. Schaffhauser challenges his demotion from manager to supervisor at United Parcel Services (UPS). Schaffhauser, a white male, alleges race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981; Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ; and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-123-101 et seq. (ACRA). He also asserts failure to accommodate his medical condition under the ACRA and the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The district court[1] granted summary judgment to UPS. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

Initially hired in 1987, Schaffhauser worked as a Plant Engineering Manager from January 1, 2007 to March 8, 2012. He received training on UPS's anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and ADA policies. According to UPS's Professional Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy:

The Company prohibits unprofessional and discourteous actions, even if those actions do not constitute unlawful harassment.
. . . .

Page 902

Accordingly, derogatory or other inappropriate remarks, slurs, threats or jokes will not be tolerated.
. . . .
Each employee must exercise his or her own good judgement [sic] to avoid engaging in conduct that may be perceived by others as harassment.

In February 2012, Schaffhauser was at work chatting with Neal L. Sharkey (an African-American manager), Quentin Goodwin (an African-American supervisor), and Harold A. Williams (an African-American supervisor). According to Schaffhauser, Goodwin said, " I wish Rodney Barefield would take a swing at me and I would knock that motherf**r out." Schaffhauser commented, " If he ever hit me, I would hit him back so hard it'd knock the black off him." He admits making the comment, that it could be racist, and that it was a mistake, but claims he was just joking and did not intend it to be racist.

In his report to the human resources director, Schaffhauser claimed that his medical condition was a " contributing factor in [his] poor choice of words." He asked that UPS consider his disability, give him " a vote of confidence," and keep him " in my current position." The human resources director demoted Schaffhauser from manager to supervisor.

Schaffhauser sued UPS, alleging reverse race discrimination and failure to accommodate a disability. The district court ...


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