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Ameen v. Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc.

United States District Court, First Circuit

December 23, 2013

Murad Y. Ameen
v.
Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc. Opinion No. 2013 DNH 177

Jennifer C. Brown, Esq. Heather M. Burns, Esq. Lauren S. Irwin, Esq. Jonathan D. Rosenfeld, Esq. Mary E. Tenn, Esq.

ORDER

Landya McCafferty United States District Judge

Murad Y. Ameen has sued his former employer, Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc. (“Amphenol”), claiming that Amphenol discharged him in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654. Before the court is Amphenol’s motion for summary judgment. Ameen objects. The court heard oral argument on December 11, 2013. For the reasons that follow, Amphenol’s motion for summary judgment is granted.

Summary Judgment Standard

“Summary judgment is warranted where ‘there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’” McGair v. Am. Bankers Ins. Co. of Fla., 693 F.3d 94, 99 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); citing Rosciti v. Ins. Co. of Penn., 659 F.3d 92, 96 (1st Cir. 2011). “In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, [the court] construe[s] the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and make[s] all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.” Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Díaz-Santiago, 674 F.3d 21, 30 (1st Cir. 2011) (citing Flowers v. Fiore, 359 F.3d 24, 29 (1st Cir. 2004)). “The object of summary judgment is to ‘pierce the boilerplate of the pleadings and assay the parties’ proof in order to determine whether trial is actually required.’” Dávila v. Corp. de P.R. para la Diffusión Púb., 498 F.3d 9, 12 (1st Cir. 2007) (quoting Acosta v. Ames Dep’t Stores, Inc., 386 F.3d 5, 7 (1st Cir. 2004)). “[T]he court’s task is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Noonan v. Staples, Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2009) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). “The nonmovant may defeat a summary judgment motion by demonstrating, through submissions of evidentiary quality, that a trialworthy issue persists.” Sánchez-Rodríguez v. AT&T Mobility P.R., Inc., 673 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Iverson v. City of Boston, 452 F.3d 94, 98 (1st Cir. 2006)).

Background

The facts recited in this section are undisputed. At all times relevant to this matter, Ameen was employed by Amphenol. From September of 2008 until his discharge on June 27, 2012, he held the position of second-shift drill-department group leader.

Under the heading “Duties / Responsibilities / Essential Functions, ” Amphenol’s job description for department leaders such as Ameen lists, among other things: “Assists in planning overtime staffing of the department to support output requirements.” Def.’s Mem. of Law, Ex. 7 (doc. no. 31-10), at 2. Under the heading “Education / Training / Skills / Experience Required, ” the job description lists, among other things: “Ability to work overtime.” Id. As the second-shift drill-department group leader, Ameen reported to Joseph Silva. Silva reported to Raymond Pratt (Operations Manager, Production Manager), and Pratt reported to Christine Harrington (Operations Director).

In anticipation of the birth of his second child, Ameen requested a leave under the FMLA, running from March 12 to March 26, 2012. Ameen’s request was approved, as was a request for an extension. As a result, it appears that Ameen did not work at all during the week of March 12, worked half time during the weeks of March 19 and 26, and returned to full-time work on April 2.

Two days later, Ameen requested three and one half weeks of extended personal leave, from April 26 to May 21, to travel to Iraq to attend to various personal matters. The next day, Ameen met with Silva, Pratt, and Amphenol’s director of human resources, Valerie Hartlen, to discuss his request for leave.

Ameen’s deposition includes the following testimony concerning that meeting:

Q. Okay. And during that meeting, you said that you would help out with the overtime ---
A. I said I’ll try.
Q. --- when you --- let me just finish the question. Okay?
A. Yes.
Q. You said that you would help out with the overtime when you came back from this month-long personal leave; isn’t that correct?
A. Yes.

Def.’s Mem. of Law, Ex. 1, Ameen Dep. (doc. no. 31-4) 150:13-22 (boldface in the original). After Ameen returned from his personal leave on May 21, he declined several requests that he work overtime, citing his need to care for his wife, who was suffering from high blood pressure, and his newborn child.

On June 27, 2012, Amphenol terminated Ameen’s employment. The decision to discharge him was made by Harrington. In a company statement, Amphenol explained Harrington’s decision to discharge Ameen this way:

It was brought to APC’s [i.e., Amphenol’s] attention on 6/22 that on a regular basis, Murad Ameen leaves the drill department for extended periods during his regular assigned work hours. It was also noted that Murad is on his cell phone throughout the shift. On Friday 6/22, APC reviewed the door access report for the month of June . . . . This data showed that Murad, on a daily basis, punches out of ADI [the system that Amphenol uses to monitor the amount of time worked by its hourly employees] for his allowed lunch period at approximately 5:40 pm and back in approximately 30 minutes later as allowed in the APC standard policies. However, it was discovered that Murad was then ...

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