United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
Trawick, a former employee of Carmike Cinemas, Inc.
(“Carmike”), claims that Carmike discriminated
against her because of her gender by failing to promote her
and paying her less than a comparable male employee. She also
alleges that when she complained to her superiors about these
disparities, Carmike retaliated against her and terminated
her employment. Carmike moved for summary judgment as to all
of Trawick's claims (ECF No. 39). Because genuine factual
disputes exist as to Trawick's wage discrimination
claims, summary judgment is denied as to those claims.
Trawick, however, has failed to point to sufficient evidence
in support of her failure to promote, retaliation, Family and
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and negligent
retention claims; and Carmike's motion is granted as to
judgment may be granted only “if 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 determining whether a genuine
dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment,
drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it
is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit.
Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if
the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
in the light most favorable to Trawick, the record
establishes the following facts:
hired Trawick in 1998 as a part-time theater employee. In
October 2012, Carmike transferred Trawick to the marketing
department but did not give her an official job title, job
description, or pay raise. After six months, Carmike
designated Trawick the “Marketing Projects
Manager.” She and Shannon Sailors, the director of
advertising, reported to Terrell Mayton, the director of
marketing. Her duties included administering Carmike's
social media accounts, managing website updates, developing
and maintaining loyalty programs, and marketing special
months after Trawick received her new title, Carmike fired
Mayton. With the exception of approving corporate expenses
and sponsorships, Carmike assigned Mayton's former
responsibilities to Trawick. Trawick Aff. ¶ 5, ECF No.
60-2; Sailors Dep. 334:8-19, ECF No. 48. After Mayton's
termination, Trawick and Sailors reported directly to Fred
Van Noy, the chief operating officer. Trawick reported to Van
Noy until her termination.
Trawick's Educational Background and Maternity
completed her associate's degree at Chattahoochee Valley
Community College (“CVCC”) in 2012. In 2013,
after Carmike terminated Mayton, Trawick enrolled in calculus
and marketing courses at Troy State University to complete
her bachelor's degree. Carmike paid for the courses.
Trawick Dep. 193:25-194:9, ECF No. 46; Van Noy Decl.
¶¶ 9-10, ECF No. 39-3. Because her responsibilities
and hours had increased after Mayton's termination,
Trawick could not complete those courses. Trawick Dep.
188:20-189:1. And Trawick did not earn a bachelor's
degree while employed at Carmike.
took paid maternity leave to deliver a child in April 2014.
After the birth, however, Van Noy continued to contact her
and pressured her to work from home. Consequently, Trawick
participated in conference calls, sent emails, and worked
from her laptop while on maternity leave. Trawick Aff. ¶
13. Van Noy also sent her calendar invites for meetings
during her leave. See Pl.'s Supplemental Resp.
in Opp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. E, Calendar
Invites, ECF No. 116-6 (showing six calendar invites sent by
Van Noy to Trawick while she was on maternity leave). She
returned to work six weeks after the birth and did not use
her full twelve weeks of FMLA leave. Trawick Aff. ¶ 13.
Trawick, however, does not dispute that Carmike paid her
during her leave, did not deduct any of her sick time or
vacation days from her leave, did not alter her bonus
structure because of her leave, and returned her to the same
position after her leave. See Pl.'s Resp. to
Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ¶¶ 35-37,
ECF No. 60-5. She also pointed to no evidence that she
attended any of the meetings during her leave.
Trawick's Tenure at Carmike
satisfactorily performed her duties as marketing projects
manager both before and after Carmike terminated Mayton.
See Trawick Aff. ¶¶ 11-12 (noting
accolades Trawick received for her work). Carmike CEO David
Passman praised Trawick after she appeared on television to
announce theater renovations. See Passman Dep. Ex.
52, Email from D. Passman to C. Trawick et al. (Feb.
6, 2015), ECF No. 49-9. Carmike executives and other
employees commonly referred to Trawick as the director of
marketing. Trawick Aff. ¶ 14. Van Noy even introduced
Trawick as director of marketing at a theater grand opening.
Promotion Discussions with Van Noy
point in early 2015, Trawick spoke with Van Noy about a
promotion to director of marketing and a salary increase.
Trawick Dep. 253:12-15; Van Noy Dep. 120:10-18, ECF No. 31.
Van Noy asked Trawick to provide him a list of her
accomplishments, something Trawick had already produced for
him at the end of the previous year. Trawick Dep.
254:17-255:13. After Trawick directly asked Van Noy for a
promotion and more pay, she felt that his management style
towards her was more aggressive and his communications to her
became more pointed, direct, and harassing. Id. at
employees also discussed Trawick's performance with Van
Noy and suggested she be promoted to a director-level
position. Several months after Carmike terminated Mayton,
Sailors asked Van Noy whether Trawick would be promoted to
director. See Sailors Dep. 49:13-50:13. Later, after
“initiation” by Trawick, Sailors again broached
the topic with Van Noy. See id. at 51:2-12. Van Noy
told Sailors both times that the promotion decision would be
made by the executive team based on a number of factors.
Id. at 50:20-23; 51:9-15. At some point in 2014, Jim
Lucas, a division director at Carmike, also asked Van Noy why
Carmike would not promote Trawick to director since Carmike
was paying for her education for that position. Lucas Dep.
95:1-5, ECF No. 53. Van Noy responded that he would not
promote Trawick unless Passman insisted. Id. at
Promotion Discussions with Passman
March 2015, CVCC invited Trawick to participate on a panel to
discuss women in corporate leadership. Trawick discussed an
outline of her presentation with Passman before the event.
Trawick Dep. 244:3-6. Trawick explained to Passman that she
would tell the audience about the “glass ceiling”
in corporate America and the challenges women face in the
workplace. Passman Dep. 93:9-13, ECF No. 49. Passman
responded to Trawick that “[i]t's unfortunate for
[women], but [the glass ceiling] does exist.” Trawick
Dep. 246:5-8. Although Trawick had previously complained to
Passman that she was underpaid, Passman Dep. 96:7-8, Trawick
did not discuss her pay or position at Carmike during this
conversation in March 2015, Trawick Dep. 246:16-25.
months later, after a recruiter contacted Trawick about a
higher-paying position at a different company, Trawick again
discussed her performance, salary, and title with Passman.
Id. at 255:22-24; 259:5-260:9. Trawick complained
directly to Passman that she was being treated unfairly
compared to Sailors. And she told Passman that she had
previously mentioned these grievances to Van Noy.
Id. at 260:5-19. Passman told Trawick,
“You're right. You should be compensated.”
Id. at 260:8-9. Passman also told her she had not
hit her glass ceiling and that he still saw her as a
potential candidate for upper management. Id. at
260:25-261:2. Passman did tell Trawick, however, that she
“needed to finish [her] education” because that
is “something that men are going to require of [her] as
[she] move[s] up in the industry.” Id. at
Sponsorship Investigation and Termination
June 2015, Trawick served as president of the Quadrille
social club. One of her responsibilities was to raise money
for parties hosted by the club. To that end, Trawick drafted
a letter seeking corporate sponsorships for a Quadrille
party. Trawick worked with the prior Quadrille president,
Jenny McMillen, to draft the letter, and McMillen's name
appeared on the bottom of the letter. See Trawick
Dep. Ex. 1, Quadrille Fundraising Letter (June 7, 2015), ECF
No. 46-1. Trawick approached Carmike and obtained a $2, ...