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Maycock v. Phoenix Motor Co.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 8, 2017

Alan Maycock, Plaintiff,
v.
Phoenix Motor Company, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable G. Murray Snow, United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Phoenix Motor Company's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 11), and Supplement to Its Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 25). For the following reasons, the Court denies the motion in part and grants it in part. (Docs. 11, 25).

         BACKGROUND

         I. Contract Claims

         Phoenix Motor Company's (“PMC”) General Manager, Al LeMoine, hired Alan Maycock as its Marketing Director on January 2, 2013. Mr. LeMoine had previously worked with Mr. Maycock at another car dealership. PMC agreed to pay Mr. Maycock $180, 000 per year for his work as Marketing Director. The employment contract included a provision that PMC would later address the possibility of paying Mr. Maycock a percentage of the company's sales.

         About ten months later, PMC ownership moved the dealership from Phoenix to Scottsdale. At this time, Mr. LeMoine asked Mr. Maycock to perform some responsibilities of a General Sales Manager (“GSM”). PMC claims that it never fully promoted Mr. Maycock to work as the GSM but gave him only some GSM responsibilities. Mr. Maycock claims that PMC fully promoted him to work as the GSM. (Doc. 1-7 at 6-7). At the promotion, Mr. Maycock claims that Mr. LeMoine orally agreed to pay Mr. Maycock commissions based on a percentage of PMC's sales, but the two never agreed to the specific details of any additional compensation as GSM. PMC did give Mr. Maycock access to a demo car, part of a normal compensation package for GSMs. (Doc. 1-7 at 10, ¶ 2).

         During this period, employees at PMC regularly referred to Mr. Maycock as the GSM. For example, Mr. LeMoine once referred to Mr. Maycock as the GSM in a company-wide email. (Doc. 1-4 at 8, ¶ 43). PMC's HR Director stated that Mr. Maycock was the GSM. (Doc. 1-7 at 4, ¶ 29). And, PMC's website displayed Mr. Maycock as the GSM. (Doc. 1-7 at 2, ¶ 5).

         PMC continued to pay Mr. Maycock his original salary of $15, 000 per month ($180, 000 per year), but PMC never paid additional commissions to Mr. Maycock. Mr. Maycock discussed PMC's failure to pay him a commission multiple times. Then, after Mr. Maycock had performed the responsibilities of a GSM for about ten months, Mr. LeMoine asked Mr. Maycock to focus solely on the Marketing Director responsibilities, and Mr. Maycock lost the perk of driving the demo car. Despite Mr. Maycock's requests, PMC never paid him any commissions as GSM.

         Mr. Maycock filed a complaint in Arizona state court alleging breach of contract and other related claims in September 2015, (Doc. 1), and PMC eventually filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on these claims, (Doc. 11).

         II. Discrimination Claims

         Mr. Maycock is a Seventh-day Adventist. In his practice of the tenets of his religion, Mr. Maycock does not work Saturdays but observes the Sabbath as a holy day from Friday sunset through Saturday sunset. Because of their previous relationship, Mr. LeMoine was aware of Mr. Maycock's religious commitments when he hired him and Mr. LeMoine accommodated his Sabbath observance.

         As noted, the dealership moved locations from Phoenix to Scottsdale between Friday, December 27, 2013 and Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Mr. Maycock did not help with the physical move during his Sabbath, but he did go to the new location on Saturday evening to unpack his personal materials and sweep the showroom floor. Mr. Maycock did not assist with the move on Sunday. It was coincident with the move to the new location, that Mr. Maycock alleges he began performing GSM responsibilities.

         One of the responsibilities of a GSM is to conduct weekly meetings with the sales team. This meeting typically took place on Saturdays. Mr. Maycock stated that he had the option of moving this meeting to another day, but he chose to review the meeting agenda on Friday and keep the meeting on Saturday when the rest of the sales team was at the dealership. (Doc. 1-7 at 18). When asked if it bothered him that Mr Maycock did not work Saturdays, Mr. LeMoine stated that it did not bother him. (Doc. 30 at 3-4; LeMoine Dep. 68:10-70:6). Mr. Maycock also stated that “LeMoine supported my decision to not move the meeting day, ” and “never at any time did LeMoine or any other person ask me to change my schedule.” Mr. Maycock admitted that “Mr. LeMoine never got upset at Maycock for not attending sales meetings on Saturdays.” (Doc. 30 at 5). A subsequent GSM moved the sales meetings to Thursday with Mr. LeMoine's approval. (Doc. 1-5 at 48). And, Mr. Maycock confirmed PMC's claim that Mr. LeMoine never asked him to work on Saturdays. (Doc. 1-7 at 6-7).

         In deposition testimony on August 30, 2016, Mr. LeMoine stated that Mr. Maycock's absence from the physical move to the new Scottsdale location both bothered him and “bothered everybody in the store.” (Doc. 30 at 3-4; LeMoine Dep. 69:16). Counsel for Mr. Maycock asked Mr. LeMoine if these feelings impacted his decision to take away Mr. Maycock's responsibilities as General Sales Manager. Mr. LeMoine said, “I have no idea.” When counsel subsequently clarified, “You don't know if that affected your decision in any way?” Mr. LeMoine responded, “Oh, no, no.” (Doc. 30 at 4; LeMoine Dep. 70:1-6).

         After hearing Mr. LeMoine's deposition testimony, Mr. Maycock filed a charge of religious discrimination with the EEOC on December 21, 2016. (Doc. 26, Exh. 4). He amended his original contract complaint to include a claim of employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and a similar claim under Arizona state law. Mr. Maycock alleges that Mr. LeMoine's deposition testimony shows that PMC demoted Mr. Maycock from the GSM position and failed to pay him commissions due to his religious commitment to observe the Sabbath.

         Because of the new federal discrimination claim, PMC removed the case to Federal Court. (Doc. 1). PMC subsequently filed this supplement to its motion for summary judgment to address the religious discrimination issues. (Doc. 25).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         The Court grants summary judgment when the movant “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In making this determination, the Court views the evidence “in a light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Warren v. City of Carlsbad, 58 F.3d 439, 441 (9th Cir. 1995). “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The party opposing summary judgment “may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [the party's] pleadings, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Brinson v. Linda Rose Joint Venture, 53 F.3d 1044, 1049 (9th Cir. 1995). Substantive law determines which facts are material, and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of ...


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