Myles-Anderson v. The EMMES Corporation

Filing 20

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 3/3/2017. (c/m 3/3/17 rss)(rss, Deputy Clerk)

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'I ~ I' C 'I " ,', ,.' 1'1 I IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND .., SOlltherll Dh'i,\'ioll 1\ I .~. \ , ••.••• ~,. T ANESHA MYLES-ANDERSON, * Plaintiff, * Case No.: G.I1I- I :;-246 I Y. * THE EMMES CORPORATION, * Defendant. * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM PlaintiffTanesha Myles-Anderson against her fClrIner employcr. violations ("Plaintiff' or "Myles-Anderson") ("Delendan\"' of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 42 U.S.c. termination. * * brings suit pro se or "EMMES"). fc)r allcged ~ 2000e el self .. Md. Code. 7. 20 I J Cty. Code ~ 27-19 arising from hcr Novcmber Plainti 1'1' claims that hcr termination discrimination. * OPINION the EMMES Corporation State Gov't ~ 20-606. and Montgomery Judgmcnt. * * was in retaliation Presently pending befcJrc the Court is Defendant's ECF No. 18. Plaintiff has not responded fc)r ber complaints of racial Motion fc))'Summary to Defendant's Motion. and the time jC)r doing so has expired. See Eel' No. 19. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the fc)lIowing reasons. is granted. I. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment BACKGROUND Tanesha Maryland Myles-Anderson was employed as an Olliee Scrvices Manager at the EMMES Corporation in Rockville. from Fcbruary 22. 2011 until November 7. 20D. ECF No. \8-1 at I. I Myles-Andcrson Scrviccs Managcr. is African Amcrican. Myles-Andcrson cntering and maintaining was rcsponsiblc ncw hirc and employcc supplics. and making prcscntations ECI' No. 1 ~ 2. In hcr position as Oflice atncw for various administrative information. hirc oricntations. tasks. including ordcring name platcs and oflicc ECI' No. 18-1 at 2: ECI' No. IX-3 at 2. In July of2013. Mylcs-Andcrson receivcd two cmails Ii'Dln Brian Hochhcimcr. Vicc Prcsident and Chicf Financial Onker. punctuality. Andcrson ECF No. \8-1 at 2. According cxprcssing his displeasurc to Hochhcimcr's told hcr. "Itlhis is not acceptable. and wc nced to be on time'" Id. Myles-Andcrson July 9. 2013. Ilochheimcr written warning to Myles-Andcrson attcntion thc email.ld. In addition. this cmail. Id. J Ilochheimer on July 10.2013. 2 On about arriving latc. lie statcd. "On I understand and rcady to usc ... This is unexcusable'" rcceived and acknowlcdged ECF No. 18-7 with our ncw hires receivcd and acknowledgcd Monday. you were latc arriving to work and late for oricntation. 3. Myles-Andcrson prcsentation. It is our lirst interaction again emailed Myles-Anderson all the ncw hirc badgcs were activatcd with hcr lack of cmail datcd July 2. 2013. Mylcs- had arrivcd late to hcr portion of the ncw hirc oricntation at 2. Ilochheimcr EM/vIES thaI not ECI' No. I x-x at issucd a f<lrInal citing her latc arrivals and unsatisfactory to dctail. ECF NO.1 X-9. She was warned that failurc to corrcct thcse issucs "may lead to further disciplinary action. up to and including tcrmination of cmploymcnt'" Two months passed. On August 29. 2013. Myles-Anderson from I'acilitics Managcr Clay Edwards. Id. receivcd a writtcn warning ECI' No. 18-10 at 2. Edwards statcd that Plaintiff I Pin cites to documents tiled on the Court"s electronic tiling system (CM/ECF) refer to the page numbers generated hy that system. ! Myles-Anderson did not dispute that she was latc. but rather. stated that "things can happen vcry quickly nl the front desk" and that she was "NO MORE than a thv minutes laic:' ECF No. 18-7 at 2. J Myles-Anderson again did not dispute she was latc. but claimed that she should have been paged when it was her tum to present at orientation. ECF No. 18-8 at 3. 2 "continucld] to maintain individual cmployc[cs'] information incorrcctly. Over the last thrcc days I havc discovcred and corrccted approximatcly twcnty employce cntrics which ... had not bccn corrcctly administered:' Id Edwards furthcr explained that "[yJour pcrformancc in this area has workcd to undcrmine the cfforts of this dcpartmcnt and othcr EMMES stafe It!. Mylcs- Andcrson was again cautioncd that ttlilurc to corrcct thcsc issucs "may lead to furthcr disciplinary action. up to and including tcrmination of cmploymcnt:' It!. On Scptembcr 18. 2013. Myles-Anderson wrote a Ictter to Dr. Ann Lindblad. the Prcsident of EMMES. ECF No. 18- I3 at 2. Mylcs-Andcrson told Or. Lindblad. "I fccl as thc new Prcsident of EMMES younecd to be madc awarc of thc bchavior being exhibited by senior managcment and what I and othcrs deem to be a 'hostile work environment:" Id In thc Icttcr. Mylcs-Anderson complaincd primarily about "harassment" Irom a rcccptionist. Rachcl Simpson.4 Mylcs-Andcrson statcd that Simpson was not rcprimandcd by the managcrs Ill!" this bchavior. and shc fclt that "this was the culture and it[']s always ignorcd w[h]cre pcoplc of color are conccrncd. Pcople of color arc bcing hcld to a di ffercnt sct of unspokcn rulcs and standards:' Id Additionally. Myles-Anderson claimed that Edwards and Ilochheimcr "havc cither obscrved or been made aware of this intolerant bchavior and now my perfornlancc has becn impactcd." and that thcir "solution to this problcm is to terminate my employment with EMMES:' Id Myles-Anderson rciterated that she fclt bullied and asked Dr. Lindblad for support. Following this Icttcr. Vice Prcsident of Iluman Resources Jennifer Hestcr cngagcd an outside investigator to invcstigate Mylcs-Andcrson's claims of discrimination. ECF No. I 8-2 ~ 3; ECF No. 18 at 4. According to Hcstcr. thc investigator intervicwcd cight witncsscs. including .Myles-Anderson stated that Simpson was resentful of tile fact that Myles-Anderson had obtained a position for which Simpson had previously interviewed. and that Simpson had engaged in "'disrupting and sabotaging behavior" towards Myles-Anderson. including sending emails to other staffmcrnbcrs "undermining" Myles-Anderson. ECF No. 18-13 aI2-5. 4 , ., Eel' No. 18-2'i 4. Myles-Anderson Myles-Anderson. employees evidence [of colorj"" who had heen discriminated supporting investigator of them appeared existed hetween Myles-Anderson against those named by Myles-Anderson professionally'" of discrimination Id of the investigation. on Octoher 25.2013. Id ~ 8. Although to he racially-motivated. '1 9. Somctime [otherj certain the Id ~ 7. Thc rcsults ofthc investigation "found no evidence of unlawful conduct'" that hostilities identified against. but "never provided any details or Id ~ 6. Alier completion her allegations'" werc shared with Myles-Andcrson concluded "eventually thc investigator and other EMMES employces. Id EMMES did. however. take "eorrective who EMMES detcrmined Opportunity action had not acted during thc Fall of 20 13. Myles-Anderson with the Equal Employment none also tilcd a chargc See i<l. Commission. 'i 11 5 Defcndant states that they were not aware that thc EEOC charge had heen filed until February 2014.1<1. During this time. Myles-Anderson reeeivcd two additional emails on Septemher 26.2013 and October 8. 2013 citing her perf<lrInanee issues. ECF No. 18-16 at 2: ECF No. 18-17 at 2. In these cmails. Edwards informed Myles-Anderson that she had I<)rgotten to order several name tags. causing issues f()r both thc new hires and Edwards. Anderson had failed to update an issue for an employee process an order for another employee On November 7. 2013. Myles-Anderson misspelling including incomplete in the "issue tracker" and also failed to bel<Jre leaving work that day. ECF No. 18-16 at 2. received notice of termination ECF No. 18-4 at 2. The letter cited several examples performancc'" 1<1.Edwards further stated that Myles- of"continued data entry. incorrcct unsatisfactory Id Thc termination The charge was dismissed on Fcbruarv 27. 2014, and Mvles-Andcrson to sue. ECF No. 1&-12 at 2..' 5 4 work inf<mnation postcd to the Intranet. the ofa new hire's name for his wall tag. and "failure to notify Network timely manner of new hire ofTer assignments'" from EMMES. Services in a letter noted the repeated simultaneouslv . received notice of her rioht ~ warnings bringing these issues to Mylcs-Andcrson's I. Myles-Andcrson filed the instant Complaint in this Court on August 20. 2015. ECF No. asscrtcd claims under 1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.2) Code. State Gov't ~ 20-606 (unlawful 27-19 (discriminatory Summary and the ultimatc failurc to Id. improve her performance. Myles-Anderson attcntion. Judgmcnt as a pro se plaintiff employment cmployment practices). on May 10.2016. practices), and 3) Montgomcry ECF No. I at 2-3. Defendant Md. Cty. Code ~ filed its Motion for ECF No. 18. The Court sent a letter to Myles-Anderson. inl()[flling her that a dispositive motion had bccn filed in her case. and advising her of her rights under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 and 56. Eel' No. 19. To date. Plaintiff has not responded. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW The court "shall grant summary judgment ifthc movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is cntitlcd to judgmcnt as a matter of law." Fcd. R. I Civ. P. 56(c). A material fact is one that "might aflect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Alldersolll'. a material fact exists "if the evidence party." Id. In undertaking nonmoving rcasonable inferences U.S. 372.378 issue over is such that a reasonable jury could return a vcrdict t()r the this inquiry. the Court must consider the facts and all in the light most favorablc to the nonmoving party . .'lcoll (2007). But this Court must also abidc by its aftirmative lactually unsupported 778-79 Uherly Lohhy. IlIc .. 477 U.S. 242. 248 (1986). A gcnuine claims and defenses from going to trial. f)rell'ill l'. obligation lIarris. 550 to prevent \'. Prall. 999 F.2d 774. (4th Cir. 1(93). The burden is on the moving party to show ..that therc is no genuine issue as to any material tact. However. no genuine issuc of material 5 tact exists if the nonmoving party fails to makc a suflicicnt showing on an csscntial clement of his or her case as to which hc or she would havc thc burdcn ofprooC Bell/on\'. Prince George"" 01l1Y. Coli .. No. CIV.A. DKC 12-1577. 2013 WI. 4501324. at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 21. 2013) (citing Celolex Corp. I'. Calrel/. 477 U.S. 317. 322-23 (1986)). Thus. upon a motion for summary judgmcnt. the opposing party "may not rest upon ... mcrc allegations or dcnials," but rathcr. "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuinc issue IiJr trial. If the [opposing I party docs not so rcspond. summary judgment. if appropriatc. shall be entcred against thc [opposing] party," 7)'ler I'. Prim'e George '.\'Cry.. MmJ'ltmd. 16 F. App'x 191. 192 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Fcd. R. Civ. P. 56(e». In this case. I'lainti ff has filed no rcsponsc to Defendant's motion for summary judgment. III. ANALYSIS Titlc VII prohibits "cmployer retaliation on account of an cmployee's having opposcd. complained of. or sought rcmedies for. unlawful workplace discrimination," Med Or. 1'. Nassar. 133 S. Ct. 2517. 2522 (2013) (citing 42 U.S.c. a claim for retaliation undcr Title Vll.l'laintilTmust VIIiI'. oj'Texas S\\'. * 2000c-3(a)). To establish show that I) she engaged in a protcctcd activity. 2) hcr cmploycr took an advcrse cmployment action against hcr. and 3) a causal connection exists bctwccn the protected activity and the adversc action. Diggs 1'. Bd ot'Edu<".ot' Ballimore Cly .. Civil Action No. RDB-14-715. 2015 WI. 5604278. at * 14 (D. Md. Sept. 23. 2015) (citing Burlillgloll N. & Sanla Fe Ry. Co. 1'. While. 548 U.S. 53.68 (2006)). To satisfy thc causation clement ofa retaliation claim. plaintifT"must cstablish that his or her protcetcd activity was a but-fi.)r eausc of the allegcd advcrsc action by thc cmploycr," not just a "motivating factor," Manguial 1'. Bd o{Educ. o{Prillce George '.I' CIY.. No. GJlI-13-1165. 2015 WI. 2376008. at *9-10 (D. Md. May 18.2015) (citing Nassar. 133 S.C!. at 2533-34 (2013». Irthe plaintift~employee establishes this prima facie easc. thc burden shins to the defendant-cmployer 6 to "articulate a legitimate. non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action'" Roberts \'. Saill/ Aglles Hosp .. No. GJH-13-3475. 2015 WL 3932398, at * 11 (D. Md. Junc 25. 2015) (citing /foyle \'. Freightliller. LLC, 650 F.3d 321. 336 (4th Cir. 2011)). Here. PlaintifThas failcd to establish the third prong of her prima facie case: causation. Mylcs-Anderson relies exclusively on thc ..temporal proximity" between her internal complaint of discrimination to Dr. Lindblad on September 18.2013. and her tcrmination on November 7. 2013. ECF No. I at 2: see Francis I'. Booz. AI/ell & l/amiltoll. Illc.. 452 F.3d 299. 309 (4th Cir. 2006). and provides no othcr dctails suggesting a causal connection betwcen her complaint and her termination, But the actions that led to Plaintiff-s termination began be/i!l'e her complaint to Dr. Lindblad. See Frallcis, 452 F.3d at 309 (affirming summary judgment whcre thc "actions that led to [plaintiff's] probation and tcrmination began bel(lre her protccted activity. belying the conclusion that a reasonablc factfinder might lind thatldcfendant'sl [plaintiffsj activity was motivated by complaints"). Specifically. Plaintiff received no fcwcr than two emails bringing her unsatisfactory pcrformance to her attention. as wcll as two formal written warnings of possiblc termination. well bef()re Plaintiffwrotc to Dr. Lindblad. As early as July 2.2013, EMMES Vice President Hochheimer informcd Mylcs-Andcrson that she was latc to oricntation and it was "not acceptablc'" lOCI'No. 18-7. Hc again wrote to hcr on July 9. 2013. expressing that arriving to work was "inexcusable." and that certain new hire badges had not bcen activated on timc. lOCI' No. 18-8. These problcms did not improve over the summer. as anothcr supervisor. Facilities Manager Clay Edwards, issued a writtcn warning to Myles-Andcrson on August 29. 2013citing multi pic crrors in the database she administered. ECF No. 18-10. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to cstablish a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination because shc has not "adduce[d] any admissible evidence to suggest a connection betwcen [hel'l complaints 7 about alleged workplace discrimination and [herl eventual termination'" Roherl.I'. 2015 WL 3932398. at *11 (granting summary judgment for employer on retaliation claim where employec's tcrmination was result of"lengthy and well-documentcd performance issues'"). Even if Plaintiff could establish the necessary causality. EMMES has articulated a legitimate. non-retaliatory reason for her termination. namcly. hcr well-documentcd pcrformance issues. On July 10.2013. Hochheimer informed Myles-Anderson that she was late to orientation. "continued to issue employe[es'J non functioning ID badges and badges with misspclled employce names" ECF No. 18-9 at 2. Hochheimer stressed that these dcticicncics "worked to undermine the efforts of your department and othcr EMMES stafe It!. On August 29. 2013. Edwards warned Mylcs-Andcrson that "you continue to maintain individual employec's information incorrectly ... [tlhese types of issucs have bccn brought to your attcntion multi pic timcs including in a written warning prcscnted to you on July 10.2013'" ECF No. 18-10. Again on September 26. 2013. Edwards cited threc instances of crrors attributablc to Myles-Andcrson. including two namc tags that wcre not ordcred. an issuc that was not posted to thc trackcr. and an order that was not submitted. ECF No. 18-16. Mylcs-Anderson's final tcrmination letter on Novcmber 7. 2013 rctlccts thcse samc conccrns. pointing to incompletc and incolTcct data entrics and failurc to complctc assignmcnts in a timcly manner. ECI' No. 18-4. Thcrcforc. it is apparcnt that Defcndant EMMES had a Icgitimate. non-retaliatory rcason for terminating MylcsAnderson. See ilcfangllial. 2015 WL 2376008. at 10 (granting summary judgment for employer on retaliation claim where employcr adcquatcly demonstratcd that lowering of cmploycc's tcaching ccrtificate was in rcsponsc to unsatisfactory pcrformancc). Additionally. bccausc Mylcs-Andcrson providcs no rcsponsc to Defcndant's Motion for Summary Judgment the Court is unablc to find to the contrary. 8 As for Myles-Anderson's claims under Md. Code, State Gov't ~ 20-606 and Montgomery Cty. Code ~ 27-19, they must similarly fail. The Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act "tracks the language" of Title VII. and thus a retaliation claim under Maryland state law bears the "same criteria" as a federal retaliation claim under 42 U.S.c. ~ 2000e-3(a). See Chappell \'. S. Afwylalld Hmp .. /IIC., 320 Md. 483, 495-96 (1990). Further. the anti-discrimination provisions of the Montgomery County Code are also "substantively similar" to lederallaw under Title VII. See Magee \'. DallSources Tech. Sen's .. /IIC., 137 Md. App. 527,548 (20()]). Because Myles- Anderson has failed to create a genuine issue of material fact with respect to her Title VII retaliation claims, she has also tailed to do so under Maryland law and the Montgomery County Code. IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's Motion t'Jr Summary Judgment. ECF No. 18, is granted. A separate Order shall issue. Date: March 3 ,20 J 7 George J. Haze I United States District Judge 9

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