Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McDaniel v. Progress Rail Locomotive, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 9, 2019

David McDaniel, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Progress Rail Locomotive, Inc., Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued September 4, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:17-cv-07904. John Robert Blakey, Judge.

          Before Rovner, Scudder, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

          ST. EVE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff-appellant David McDaniel alleges his former employer, defendant-appellee Progress Rail Locomotive, Inc., unlawfully discriminated against him on the basis of age and retaliated against him for complaining about a superior, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of Progress Rail. We affirm.

         McDaniel has not supplied evidence of any similarly situated employee that would allow a factfinder to determine whether any adverse employment action he experienced was the result of age discrimination or retaliation against him. Summary judgment was therefore appropriate.

         I. Background

         A. Progress Rail's Policies

         Progress Rail, a manufacturer of diesel-electric locomotives and diesel-powered engines, requires its employees to comply with applicable Shop Rules governing health and safety in the workplace. Although McDaniel argues that Progress Rail's policies call for it to issue punishments in a progressive manner, the Shop Rules specifically state that violations or other inappropriate behavior "will be sufficient grounds for corrective disciplinary action ranging from reprimand to immediate discharge, depending upon the seriousness of the offense in the judgment of Management."

         Shop Rule 31 prohibits the "[d]isregard of safety rules of common safety practices." One of these safety rules bars employees from lifting any load over 35 pounds without a mechanical lifting device. Another safety rule forbids the use of cell phones when operating equipment. Cell phones are also "not permitted to be out in the open or visible within the aisle lines of a manufacturing area," save for exceptional work-related purposes.

         When Progress Rail has reason to believe an employee has violated a Shop Rule, its procedures call for an investigatory interview and a disciplinary hearing prior to issuing discipline. The employee's supervisor leads this process and memorializes it in various forms. At the disciplinary hearing, the employee may call witnesses, and the employee is entitled to union representation. Raymond Maroni, Manager of Labor Relations, reviews the severity of each infraction and the employee's disciplinary history to ultimately determine whether and to what extent discipline is appropriate. When safety violations result in personal injury, a separate Safety Committee investigates the incident and determines any consequences.

         B. McDaniel's Conduct and Subsequent Investigations

         Progress Rail hired McDaniel in 2005 and employed him as an "S15 Specialist, Material," also known as a Material Handler, for almost twelve years until his termination in April 2017. In this role, McDaniel was responsible for loading and unloading materials of varying size and weight, performing inventory counts, and assembling diesel engine kits for the production of railway locomotives. McDaniel was 55 years old at the time of his termination.

         In 2016, Jonathan Howard, a Warehouse Supervisor, became McDaniel's direct manager. As Warehouse Supervisor, Howard oversaw nine employees, consisting of eight Material Handlers (two of whom were welders on temporary assignment) and one clerk. Howard reported to George Pekarik, the General Supervisor, until Pekarik was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.