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United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
December 10, 2020, Argued; May 21, 2021, Decided
GREGORY, Chief Judge:
This appeal arises out of a former employee's allegations of same-sex sexual harassment by his supervisor and retaliatory termination. Chazz Roberts ("Roberts") appeals from the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of his former employer, Glenn Industrial Group, Inc. ("Glenn Industrial" or "the company"), on claims of [*2] sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. We affirm the district court's summary judgment as to Roberts' retaliation claim, but vacate summary judgment as to his sexual harassment claim and remand for further proceedings.
] In reviewing the district court's award of summary judgment, we state the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to Roberts, the nonmoving party. Smith v. Collins, 964 F.3d 266, 274 (4th Cir. 2020). Glenn Industrial is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based corporation that provides underwater inspection and repair services to utility companies. Because underwater inspections and repairs are high-risk activities, Glenn Industrial prioritizes workplace safety. All of Glenn Industrial's non-office employees are male.
In July 2015, Glenn Industrial hired Appellant Roberts as a "dive tender," or diver's assistant. At the time, Roberts received and signed for a copy of the company handbook, which included a "no harassment" policy. The policy required that all complaints of sexual harassment be reported to the company's CEO, Richard Glenn ("Glenn").
From the beginning of Roberts' employment, his supervisor, Andrew Rhyner ("Rhyner") repeatedly called Roberts "gay" and made sexually explicit [*3] and derogatory remarks towards him, including statements referring to him as a "fucking retard" or having "retard strength," and asking him "how much dicks [he] would suck for money." J.A. 48-49. Roberts stated that "pretty much every time I'm around Andrew I was getting harassed by him." J.A. 41. Rhyner also physically assaulted Roberts at least twice. On one occasion, Rhyner slapped Roberts' safety glasses off his face, pushed him, and put him in a chokehold. On another occasion, Rhyner slapped Roberts, knocking his helmet off his head, when he, in Rhyner's estimation, "said something stupid." J.A. 53. Roberts complained to Rhyner's supervisor, Bruce Evans, at least four times over the course of his employment. Evans told Roberts to "suck it up." J.A. 48. Roberts also complained to another supervisor, Brandon Neal, who witnessed some of Rhyner's conduct.
Finally, Roberts voiced his concerns to Ana Glenn ("Mrs. Glenn"), Vice President of Glenn Industrial, the company's Human Resources Manager, and wife of the company's CEO. His complaints, made in November 2015 and January 2016, described Rhyner's conduct in detail. Roberts did not, however, complain directly to Glenn. Rhyner was not [*4] disciplined or counseled, and his harassment of Roberts continued.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 15224 *; 998 F.3d 111
CHAZZ J. ROBERTS, Plaintiff — Appellant, v. GLENN INDUSTRIAL GROUP, INC.; GLENN UNDERWATER SERVICES, INC.; GLENN UNDERWATER SERVICES, LLC, Defendants — Appellees., EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Amicus Supporting Appellant.
Prior History: [*1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Graham C. Mullen, Senior District Judge. 3:17-cv-00745-GCM.
Roberts v. Glenn Indus. Grp., Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14034, 2019 WL 356809 (W.D.N.C., Jan. 29, 2019)
Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART.
harassment, protected activity, sex, retaliation, sexual harassment, termination, complaints, prima facie case, district court, same-sex, decisionmaker, adverse action, sexual, adverse employment action, summary judgment, hostile, causal connection, temporal proximity, retaliation claim, causation, employees, causal relationship, contends, fired, sexual harassment claim, workplace, routes, constructive knowledge, work environment, argues
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