United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunsmick Division
LISA GODBBY WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant King & Prince Seafood
Corporation's (the "Company") Motion for
Summary Judgment, dkt. no. 24, and Revised Motion for Summary
Judgment, dkt. no. 39. In accordance with the Court's
Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's
motion for judgment on the pleadings, Plaintiff's
remaining claims are for discrimination based on race and
gender in violation of Title VII; retaliation in violation of
Title VII; and hostile work environment in violation of Title
VII. See Dkt. No. 37 at 15. Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment and Revised Motion for Summary Judgment
have been fully briefed and are ripe for review. For the
reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motions are
discovery, Defendant served on Plaintiff written requests for
admission. Dkt. No. 39-1 at 119-32. Plaintiff failed to
respond within 30 days of being served these requests. Thus,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36(a) (3), the
requests are deemed admitted for purposes of this case.
Further, pursuant to Southern District of Georgia Local Rule
56.1, "All material facts set forth in the statement
required to be served by the moving party will be deemed to
be admitted unless controverted by a statement served by the
opposing party." Plaintiff has not responded to either
of Defendant's Statements of Undisputed Facts, dkt. no.
24-1 at 1-8; dkt. no. 39-1 at 1-8. Thus, these facts are
deemed admitted for the purposes of Defendant's motions.
Frazier, a human resources employee for Defendant, hired
Plaintiff, a black female, on August 14, 2015. Dkt. No. 39-1
at 1; id. at 106-07. Plaintiff was fired on March 1,
2017, also by Will Frazier, because she violated the Company
Standards of Conduct; specifically, she was reported as
having threatened violence against a co-worker, dkt. no. 39-1
at 2; id. at 5. When Plaintiff was hired, she was
provided with and signed an acknowledgement of the
Company's Employee Handbook, which included the policy
against Workplace Violence. Id. at 2. Plaintiff also
was provided with and signed the Company's Standards of
Conduct, which stated that certain violations of Company
policy could result in termination. Id. In addition
to signing the Handbook and Standards of Conduct, Plaintiff
testified that she knew of the rules, the standards, and the
consequences for violating them. Id.
after Plaintiff was hired, she had an incident with one of
her supervisors, Brittany Leduc. Dkt. No. 28 at 134.
Plaintiff testified that Leduc told her "You got fake
eyelashes on. You got to take them off." Id. at
135. In response, Plaintiff reported Leduc to human
resources. Id. After that incident, Leduc gave
Plaintiff a nickname, Lashes, which caught on and others
began calling Plaintiff that. Id. at 137. Also in
August 2015, Leduc bumped into Plaintiff and tried to take
her fake eyelashes off. Id. at 143-44. After
Plaintiff was bumped by Leduc, the human resources department
"tried to get [Plaintiff] to write a statement to say
that we bumped into each other," but Plaintiff refused
because she knew that Leduc bumped into her. Id. at
October 2, 2015, Plaintiff received a written warning for a
violation of the Company's policy of following
supervisors' directions. Id. Plaintiff also
repeatedly violated the Company's attendance rules and
received written warnings on February 17 and June 15, 2016.
Id. at 3. On June 6, 2016, Plaintiff received a
written warning and a one-day suspension for horseplay,
calling out a coworker, mounting the coworker, and pulling
him to the ground. Id. Less than a year into her
employment, Plaintiff had been written up five times.
November 2016, it became evident that Plaintiff had a
personality conflict with a coworker, Tawana Hardee, who is
also a black female. Id. Plaintiff testified that
"everybody knew" that she and Hardee did not get
along. Id. Plaintiff believed that Hardee was
"talking about her to other people, trying to get them
not to like her." Id.
March 1, 2017, Plaintiff's coworkers reported that
Plaintiff was making threats against Hardee. Id. at
4. One coworker, Michael Arrington, told Human Resources that
he "heard Latisha say that if she sees [Hardee] outside
of the job she would jump on her, beat her, and drag her all
over the place." Id. Hardee also reported to
Human Resources that Plaintiff told a coworker "if I see
her outside the job I'll drag her." Id. On
March 2, 2017, Plaintiff was terminated, the "Reason for
Termination" was "Violation of Company Standards of
Conduct." Id. at 125. In the Georgia Department
of Labor Separation Notice, the Reason for Separation states
"Violation of Company Standards of Conduct."
Id. Frazier terminated Plaintiff "based solely
on the reports of her threats of violence against a
coworker," and "did not consider Plaintiff's
race, gender, or any alleged complaints from her."
in written statements made on request of the Company about
the incidents leading to her termination, did not make any
statement about race, gender, discrimination, or retaliation.
Id. at 5. However, she later filed an EEOC charge.
On the first page of Plaintiff's EEOC charge, Plaintiff
stated that she "was terminated . . . because another
co-worker . . . told Human Resources . . . that I was
harassing her . . . [and that] I said I was going to beat her
up after work." Id. In her written statement to
the EEOC, Plaintiff fails to mention race, gender, or
discrimination. Id. Further, Plaintiff has admitted
that as a result of her disciplinary records, the
Company's policies against violence, horseplay, and
threatening communications, and the reported threats by her
against a coworker, she was not qualified for continued
employment with the Company. Id. at 125.
Company has fired two white males for engaging in similar
misconduct as Plaintiff, but neither of them had a prior
record of progressive discipline. Id. at 7. The
first was fired for using racial slurs which could easily
lead to violence. Id. The second was fired for
verbally challenging another working and then approaching him
with his fists up. Id.
filed this action to recover damages and other compensation,
which Plaintiff claims is owed to her under Title VII.
judgment is required where "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). A fact is "material" if it
"might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law." FindWhat Inv'r Grp. v. FindWhat.
com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). A dispute is "genuine" if the
"evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In making
this determination, the court is to view all of the evidence
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw