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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Northern Division
March 30, 2021, Decided; March 30, 2021, Filed
Case No. 19-CV-13656
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY FEES, AND DISMISSING CASE
Plaintiff, Ryan Boshaw, filed a five-count complaint against Defendants Midland Brewing Company, Donna Reynolds, and Dave Kepler on December 12, 2019. ECF No. 1. Two months later, Mr. Boshaw filed an amended complaint. ECF No. 9. He alleges that Defendants discriminated against him because of his sexuality while he was employed by the Midland Brewing Company ("MBC") and then terminated his employment because of his sexuality in violation of Title VII and Michigan's Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act ("ELCRA"). Id. He also alleges that Defendants Reynolds and Kepler violated the ELCRA through a civil conspiracy to terminate his employment based of his sexuality. Id.
On November 30, 2020, Defendants filed a motion for [*2] summary judgment. ECF No. 16. Response and reply briefs were timely filed. ECF Nos. 19, 20. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion will be granted.
MBC hired Plaintiff Ryan Boshaw on March 2, 2018 to work as a server. ECF No. 16-4 at PageID.220. Over the next 15 months, he was promoted multiple times, ultimately to the position of Front of House ("FOH") Operations Manager. See infra I.B. Once promoted to FOH Operations Manager, his direct supervisor was Defendant Donna Reynolds, the Restaurant Manager. ECF No. 16 at PageID.124-25. Defendant Dave Kepler is the majority owner of MBC. Id.
Prior to his time at MBC, Plaintiff worked for numerous restaurants in the Midland, Michigan area. At the time of his deposition, Plaintiff had celebrated being sober for four years. ECF No. 16-4 at PageID.194-97. On his MBC application, Plaintiff explained that he left multiple restaurants due to professional growth and career opportunities, because "you can't really put that I was terminated for sobriety reasons on an application for a job when you're trying to get your life together." ECF No. 16-4 at PageID.202-03. He also testified that he did not want MBC to know about his prior terminations. [*3] Id. at PageID.205.
Plaintiff alleges that after working at MBC for a few months as a server, he and Reynolds discussed his sexual orientation and masculine appearance. Plaintiff testified that Reynolds told him in July 2018 that he would not be promoted unless he removed his relationship status from Facebook and changed his appearance. ECF No. 16-4 at PageID.234; see also ECF No. 9 at PageID.48 "([Reynolds] then suggested that Plaintiff remove his relationship status from his facebook page, remove visible piercings, and style his hair differently. The cumulative effect of these changes would be to hide his status as a homosexual, and appear more stereotypically masculine.").
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2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60621 *; 2021 WL 1192916
RYAN BOSHAW, Plaintiff, v. MIDLAND BREWING COMPANY, DONNA REYNOLDS, and DAVE KEPLER, Defendants.
sexual orientation, termination, promotion, masculine, conversation, Facebook, argues, civil conspiracy, retaliation, sex discrimination, restaurant, sex, genuine issue of material fact, direct evidence, alleges, hide, adverse employment action, discriminatory, discriminated, homosexual, sexuality, courts, email, summary judgment motion, appearance, employees, interview, mandatory, analyzed, hostile