United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
STEVEN L. HANSON, Plaintiff,
KALAHARI DEVELOPMENT LLC, d/b/a KALAHARI RESORT & CONVENTION CENTER, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
Steven Hanson worked as a supervisor in the maintenance
department at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center from
2014 to 2016. Hanson contends that Kalahari violated his
rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in two ways:
(1) failing to respond appropriately when he was harassed by
coworkers because of his religion; and (2) terminating him
for complaining about the harassment.
has filed a motion for summary judgment on all of
Hanson's claims. Dkt. 12. Hanson has moved to strike one
aspect of Kalahari's reply brief in support of their
summary judgment motion because it introduces new evidence.
Dkt. 25. The court will grant the motion to strike, but that
evidence makes no difference to the result in this case. Even
if the court disregards the evidence, Kalahari is entitled to
summary judgment on all of Hanson's claims.
following facts are undisputed, except where noted.
Hanson hired as maintenance supervisor
December 2014, Hanson was hired to work in the maintenance
department at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in
Lake Delton, Wisconsin, which is operated by defendant
Kalahari Development, LLC. After completing an initial
probationary period, Hanson assumed the role of third shift
supervisor of the maintenance department in March 2015.
During his employment at the Kalahari, Hanson reported to
Jeff Beckwith, the facilities manager.
first year and a half at the Kalahari passed without
incident, for the most part. Hanson acknowledges that there
were some personality clashes within the maintenance
department, and Beckwith observed that Hanson's tendency
to tell his peers how to do their jobs was a source of
friction between Hanson and the other supervisors. But the
events that gave rise to this litigation didn't occur
until the final two-and-a-half months of Hanson's
supervisors' meeting in September 2016, as part of an
icebreaker exercise initiated by Beckwith, Hanson revealed
certain of his religious convictions to his colleagues.
Hanson is a Seventh Day Adventist. When prompted to disclose
a fact that others would not know about him, Hanson said that
he “believed in the Ten Commandments and commented
about how some people at work took the Lord's name in
vain.” Dkt. 21, ¶ 4.
following week, on September 19, Hanson led the
supervisors' weekly meeting because Beckwith was absent.
During this meeting, some of Hanson's colleagues
complained about having to work weekends because it
interfered with their religious observances. Hanson responded
that weekend work is a necessary aspect of working in the
hospitality industry. He noted that, as a Seventh Day
Adventist, he is supposed to refrain from working and focus
only on worshipping the Lord from Friday sundown until
Saturday sundown. Nonetheless, he had never requested that
the Kalahari accommodate his religious beliefs by giving him
Saturdays off. (Hanson says that he left this meeting feeling
“attacked and distraught, ” id. ¶
10, but he doesn't explain why.)
that day, Hanson discovered that someone had drilled a hole
through a Bible, stuck a bolt in it, and chained it to his
work cart. Hanson immediately informed Beckwith what happened
and emailed Todd Nelson, the owner of the Kalahari, the
It is so great working with these so called professionals. I
want video documentation of WHO put a bolt through a red holy
bible that was [on] a chain in the indoor maint[enance] shop
and then walked out of the shop to hang it on the tool box .
. . . I support good natured horseplay but this is not cool
especially after I publicly announce I believe in and follow
the ten commandments during one of the lets get to know each
other meetings in this FAMILY ORIENTATED BUSINESS.
Dkt. 14-3, at 2. Nelson responded, “Sorry this happened
to You. I have forwarded this onto Jeff Beckwith and my ...