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Unformatted text preview: ate treatment, Smith attempted to compare himself to coworkers
Reed, Hopper, and Banta. The comparisons are inapt however, because Smith was
disciplined by a different decisionmaker and engaged in different conduct than Reed,
Hopper and Banta. See Ercegovich, 154 F.3d at 352; Mitchell, 964 F.2d at 583.
Reed, Banta and Hopper were not "similarly situated" as a matter of law. Riley, who
made the decision to fire Smith, did not determine their discipline. Ralph Lutz, who was
plant manager for a time, disciplined Reed and Hopper. Although Riley signed Hopper's
disciplinary form, it was undisputed that Riley referred the matter to Lutz, and that Lutz
determined the punishment. Lutz was not even employed at Adcom when Riley
terminated Smith. Ford, not Riley, made the decision to give Banta a verbal warning.
Smith's conduct is also dissimilar to Reed's, Hopper's, and Banta's. Riley testified that
[*24] he terminated Smith because of his threat to "blow away some MFers" if his
incentive pay was not increased. Riley testified that as plant manager, he was concerned
about plant safety. This is clearly a "mitigating circumstance" that prevents any
comparison with Reed's, Hopper's, and Banta's significantly less threatening conduct, as
determined by Defendants. Reed brought a handgun to work to protect himself against 106 threats from a former Adcom employee. Reed did not show the gun to any other Adcom
employees; it was discovered by a cleaning person. Lutz gave the handgun to Reed's wife
(who also worked at the plant) and told her to tell Reed not to bring it back again. Lutz
testified that because no one was threatened at the plant, he decided to keep the matter
"low key" and not report it to the corporate office. Hopper invited his supervisor, Bill
Grimes, to meet him off property, presumably to fight. Lutz decided to give Hopper
merely a verbal warning because he felt, "under the circumstances, he didn't do any
damage." Although Banta stuck a pair of heated pliers on a coworkers neck, Ford gave
merely a verbal warning because the employees were "h...
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08