GREGORY K. WILLIAMSON, Plaintiff,
LOWE’S HIW, INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
SUSAN OKI MOLLWAY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The court has before it a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, formerly known as Lowe’s HIW, Inc. (“Lowe’s”). Lowe’s seeks summary judgment on Count I of the Complaint, a claim for violation of section 378-2 of Hawaii Revised Statutes, and Count II of the Complaint, a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The motion for summary judgment is granted.
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.
On or about February 2, 2011, Plaintiff Gregory K. Williamson submitted an online application for employment with Lowe’s as a “Receiver/Stocker” in its Honolulu store. See ECF No. 30-2, PageID #s 269-70, 271. After multiple interviews, Lowe’s offered Williamson a position conditioned on the results of a drug test and background check. See id. at PageID #s 272, 297.
On February 21, 2011, Williamson submitted a form authorizing Lowe’s to request a consumer report from a third party. See id. at PageID # 298. The authorization form included questions about criminal history, and Williamson responded that he had a felony conviction. See id. at PageID # 299. In explanation, he wrote, “Previously discussed during the interview February 3, 2011 however, the charge was Assault III.” See id.
During his deposition, Williamson testified that he had additional convictions other than the one listed on his authorization form. See id. at PageID # 277. Williamson’s convictions include: (1) felony assault in January 1998, for which he served five years in jail; (2) harassment in June 2004, for which he served twenty days in jail; and (3) assault in the third degree in March 2005, as disclosed on his authorization form. See id. at PageID #s 286, 290-91, 305, 307. All three of these convictions were listed on the consumer report Lowe’s received. See ECF 30-1, PageID # 253-59. During his deposition, Williamson also said that he had not actually discussed any conviction during the interview process. See ECF No. 30-2, PageID #s 276-77.
By letter dated March 1, 2011, Lowe’s notified Williamson that information in his consumer report might “adversely affect [his] employment status.” Id. at PageID # 300. Lowe’s attached a copy of the consumer report to its letter and indicated that Williamson had “the right to dispute . . . the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the Consumer Report.” Id. Williamson did not do so. See id. at PageID # 279.
Williamson says that in early March 2011 he received a voicemail message from a manager at Lowe’s indicating that Lowe’s would not be hiring him because of his felony criminal record. See id. at PageID #s 279-80, 281. Two days after he received the voicemail message, Williamson says he received a letter from Lowe’s dated March 8, 2011, stating that Lowe’s would not be offering him employment “based in whole or in part” on information contained in his consumer report. See id. at PageID #s 279, 310.
Lowe’s says that it rescinded its conditional offer of employment to Williamson because of Williamson’s felony assault conviction in 1998, harassment conviction in 2004, and assault conviction in 2005. See ECF No. 28-1, PageID # 135. Lowe’s also says it considered the discrepancy between the convictions Williamson disclosed on his authorization form and the convictions noted in Williamson’s consumer report. See id. at PageID #s 135-36.
On July 11, 2011, Williamson filed a charge of discrimination against Lowe’s with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (the “Commission”), alleging that he was denied employment with Lowe’s as a Receiver/Stocker because of his arrest and court record in violation of chapter 378 of Hawaii Revised Statutes. See ECF No. 30-2, PageID #s 292, 312. On March 18, 2013, the Commission notified Williamson that his case had been investigated and a preliminary finding for closure had been made due to “insufficient evidence to substantiate discrimination.” Id. at PageID # 314. The Commission’s investigation determined that “Lowe’s was legally entitled to consider [Williamson’s] felony and misdemeanor assaults and petty misdemeanor harassment convictions because they bore a rational relationship to the position.” Id. On April 1, 2013, the Commission notified Williamson that his case was being closed “on the basis of no cause.” See id. at PageID #s 295, 315.
On June 28, 2013, Williamson filed a Complaint against Lowe’s in state court asserting claims for violation of section 378-2 of Hawaii Revised Statutes and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. See ECF No. 1-2. The action was removed to federal court on January 22, 2014. See ECF No. 1.
Lowe’s now moves for summary judgment as to both counts of the ...