United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ROBERT E. CARTER, Plaintiff,
WAL-MART STORES, INC., WAL-MART STORES EAST, LP, JOHN MURPHY, MATTHEW MIKESELL, and SHANNA KANAPS, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
plaintiff Robert E. Carter brings claims against defendants
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, John Murphy,
Matthew Mikesell, and Shanna Kanaps for violations of the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), and
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-3(a). Carter alleges that defendants
retaliated against him after he filed a discrimination
complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce
Development Equal Rights Division. Defendants suspended and
ultimately terminated Carter.
court granted Carter leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. Dkt. 4. The next step is for the court to
screen the complaint and dismiss any portion that is legally
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a
defendant who by law cannot be sued for money damages. 28
U.S.C. § 1915. When screening a pro se litigant's
complaint, the court construes the allegations liberally and
in the plaintiff's favor. McGowan v. Hulick, 612
F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2010).
has moved for leave to file an amended complaint. Dkt. 5. I
will grant the motion and consider the amended complaint for
screening purposes. But because Carter has not stated any
claims upon which relief can be granted, I will dismiss his
the following facts from Carter's amended complaint. Dkt.
is a convicted felon (securities fraud, wire fraud, intent to
commit access device fraud). In December 2016 and January
2017, he applied for and secured a job at a Walmart
distribution center; he disclosed his convictions during the
application process. After Carter had been at Walmart for a
few weeks, he met with Murphy, the human resources manager,
and Kanaps, the operations manager. Murphy began the meeting
by saying, “You are not in any trouble or anything and
you are not being fired or losing your job.”
Id. ¶ 54. Murphy continued, “We just
wanted to talk to you because several of the associates have
been talking about you.” Id. Murphy and Kanaps
had learned that Carter had been telling his coworkers that
he planned to run for political office. Murphy asked Carter
whether he had “talked about finances in any way with
any of the associates.” Id. ¶ 56. Carter
said that he hadn't. Then Murphy handed Carter a Forbes
magazine article and asked Carter whether it was about him.
The article discussed Carter's 2010 trial and
convictions. Carter asked what was going on, and Murphy said,
“I am asking about it because an associate gave it to
me. . . . You are not losing your job. . . . We just wanted
to talk to you.” Id. ¶ 60. Carter
explained that he had disclosed the convictions during the
application process; Murphy reemphasized that they wanted to
employ Carter and that they “believe in second
chances.” Id. ¶ 61. The meeting ended
month later, on March 7, 2017, Murphy summoned Carter to his
office again. Mikesell, the asset protection manager, was
there, too. Murphy explained that they had a few questions
for Carter about his convictions and stated, “You are
not being fired or anything[.]” Id. ¶ 64.
Murphy had received a letter from the Walmart Global Security
Department that indicated that Carter (1) had applied for a
position with the Asset Protection Division, and (2) had not
disclosed all of his convictions during the background check.
Neither statement was true, and Carter told Murphy as much.
Murphy explained, “Well, if you just answer the
questions that they have asked on this form and explain what
you have told us, then this should all be fine.”
Id. ¶ 75.
the meeting, Carter called a “legal advisor.”
Id. ¶ 76. The advisor (presumably a lawyer)
told Carter to file a discrimination complaint with the
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights
Division for violations of the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.
Carter did so the following day. Then he went to work and
gave Murphy a copy of the background check report that
verified that he had disclosed his convictions during the
application process. Murphy acknowledged as much: “You
are exactly right, its [sic] right here in black and
white.” Id. ¶ 82. Carter then told Murphy
that he had filed a discrimination complaint because Walmart
had discriminated against him because of his convictions.
Murphy, visibly frustrated, concluded the meeting, and Carter
returned to work.
following day, March 9, Murphy called Carter and told him
that he was suspended with pay. Carter didn't understand
why, especially because Murphy had assured him that his job
wasn't in jeopardy. Murphy told Carter, “Well you
are the one who started this with filing the complaint,
making this legal.” Id. ¶ 87. So later
that day, Carter filed a charge with the EEOC for
next day, Carter received three emails from Walmart
requesting that Carter authorize a background check because
he had purportedly received a conditional offer of
employment. But Carter had not applied for any other
positions with Walmart. Carter believes that Walmart
generated false applications to create a reason to fire him.
Carter called Murphy, and Murphy told him that he needed to
consent to the background check. When Carter asked why,
Murphy said that they needed his consent to begin
“[t]he investigation regarding the failure to disclose
the 2006 convictions.” Id. ¶ 100. In
Carter's view, “Murphy had no reasonable
explanation for what was happening, ” so Carter refused
to consent to the background check. Id. ¶ 105.
days later, on March 15, Murphy called Carter and told him
that he had been terminated. When asked why, Murphy
responded, “Well it's because you would not consent
to the background check.” Id. ¶ 108. So
Carter filed a retaliation complaint with the Wisconsin
Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division.
received an exit interview form in the mail following his
termination. It stated that he had been involuntarily
terminated for gross misconduct. That was the first that
Carter had heard of any misconduct on his part.
April 12, 2017, the EEOC issued Carter a Right to Sue letter.
It had “determined that the protected status based on a
conviction record created under Wisconsin law was not a
protected class enforceable under a ...