Canning v. FCA US LLC.
OPINION AND ORDER Granting in Part and Denying in Part 18 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-14390
FCA US LLC,
Sean F. Cox
United States District Court Judge
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This is an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff has brought (1) retaliation claims
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et. seq., and the
Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), M.C.L. § 37.2101 et. seq., and (2) hostile work
environment claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et.
seq., and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA), M.C.L. § 37.1101
et. seq. This matter is before the Court, following the close of discovery, on Defendant’s motion
for summary judgment. The parties have fully briefed the issues and the Court heard oral
argument on October 26, 2017.
For the reasons below, the Court shall grant the motion in part and deny it in part. The
Court concludes that Defendant is not entitled to summary judgment in its favor on Plaintiff’s
retaliation claims because, construing the evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, there
are genuine issues of material fact for trial. But the Court shall grant Defendant’s motion as to
Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims because she has failed to establish that she was
subject to unwelcome harassment based on her disability.
Plaintiff Patricia Canning began working at Defendant FCA US LLC in 1990. Def.
Stmt. of Material Facts Not in Dispute, ¶ 1 (Doc. # 18). From February 2010 to October 2013,
Plaintiff was the Terminal Manager in Defendant’s Toledo, Ohio transport center, reporting to
Martin DiFiore. Id. at ¶ 2. In October 2013, Plaintiff obtained a position as Defendant’s
Northern Borders Manager/FAST (Free and Secured Trade) coordinator. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff
started the position on a part-time basis and began working full-time later that fall. Id.
The dispute in this case arises from Defendant’s annual performance evaluation process
for certain management-level employees. This process, called Performance Leadership
Management (PLM), evaluates employees based on their work performance and leadership
skills. Id. at ¶ 6. Employees receive a PLM rating based on the following 9-box matrix:
The Y-axis evaluates performance and the X-axis evaluates leadership (for instance, a score of 3
reflects high leadership but low performance). Green box scores (6, 8, 9) are the highest
possible scores, yellow box scores (3, 5, 7) are acceptable, orange box scores (2, 4) show that
improvement is needed, and a red box score (1) is the lowest possible.1 Id. An employee’s PLM
form also includes substantive comments regarding the employee’s leadership skills and work
Although the statement of undisputed facts refers to “2” and “4” ratings as orange box
scores, witness testimony primarily refers to these ratings as “red” scores.
Once a PLM form is prepared, calibration meetings occur where managers meet with
their peers and fellow managers to review the PLMs. Id. at ¶ 7. An employee’s PLM rating may
be adjusted following calibration meetings. Schmidt Dep., 38. Defendant has informal
guidelines for how many employees should be in each score category: about 15 percent in the
red, 60 percent in the yellow, and 25 percent in the green. Id. at 20-22; DiFiore Dep., 38.
In October 2013, Plaintiff was responsible for preparing PLM forms for two of her
subordinates, Joe Russo and Ritchie Burns. Def. Stmt., ¶ 8. Burns was 48 years old. Id. at ¶ 30.
Plaintiff gave each employee a “5” rating. Id. These scores were then addressed at a calibration
meeting attended by Plaintiff, terminal managers from Detroit, Windsor, and Toledo, DiFiore,
and HR representative Stacey Simonson. Id.
At the meeting, Plaintiff advocated in favor of Burns’ rating and brought documents to
support her position. DiFiore Dep., 90; Pl. Dep., 215. Burns’ score was discussed alongside that
of another employee, Detroit supervisor Steve Daidone, who had also received a “5” rating. Pl.
Dep.,110-11. Daidone was in his 60s. Def. Stmt., ¶ 30. There was a discussion about which of
the two employees should be demoted to a “4” rating. Pl. Dep., 110-11. None of the materials
Plaintiff brought were considered during this discussion. Id. at 215. After a consensus could not
be reached, a blind vote was held to determine which employee would be rated a “4”. Id. at 11011. Following the vote, Burns received a “4” rating. Id. at 122. Those voting in favor had
agreed that Daidone should not receive a “4” because Detroit already had two employees with
that rating. Id. at 124. Plaintiff received little explanation for why Burns’ score was reduced.
Following the meeting, Plaintiff met with DiFiore and Simonson. Id. at 157. DiFiore
and Simonson instructed Plaintiff to change Burns’ rating, which she did. Id. at 86. Plaintiff did
not substantively alter the comments on the PLM. Id. at 124.
Shortly thereafter, a second level calibration meeting occurred. DiFiore Dep., 112. At
the time, Burn’s PLM indicated a rating of “4” but the substantive comments did not reflect that
rating. Id. at 112, 115. A couple days later, Plaintiff met with DiFiore and Simonson, who
directed her to change her comments on the PLM to reflect the rating score. Id. at 115. Plaintiff
subsequently added numerous substantive comments to Burns’ PLM (which she asserts lack
factual basis). Pl. Dep., 136-38. During this process, Plaintiff told DiFiore and Simonson that
she believed that Burns’ rating was influenced by age and that she was forced to change the
rating because of that. Id. at 142, 146.
As a midlevel manager, Plaintiff was also subject to the PLM process. Plaintiff had
received a “5” in 2010 and 2011 (meeting expectations in leadership and performance). Id. In
2012, because of Plaintiff’s successful work in challenging the Union’s position on pay
practices, she received an “8” (meeting expectations leadership; high performance). Id.
In November 2013, Plaintiff was the subject of a calibration meeting discussing her PLM.
Def. Stmt., ¶ 12. Following the meeting, Schmidt told Plaintiff that she was rated a “5” for 2013.
Pl. Dep., 166-69. Schmidt testified that when she left the meeting, Plaintiff was a low “5”
trending towards a “4”. Schmidt Dep., 79.
On December 5, 2013, DiFiore, DiFiore’s superior William Cook, Simonson, and
Schmidt met to determine Plaintiff’s final 2013 PLM rating. Def. Stmt., ¶ 16. Plaintiff received
a low rating on leadership, resulting in a “4” rating. Def. Ex. J. The PLM also contained
substantive comments critiquing Plaintiff’s communication skills, accountability, and leadership
abilities. Id. 1.
The PLM did not refer to complaints of age discrimination. Id.
On December, 10, 2013, Plaintiff left work on medical leave. Def. Stmt., ¶ 20. That
same day, Cook sent an email to Simonson, Schmidt, and DiFiore, among others, to confirm that
Plaintiff’s rating was being moved to a low in leadership and a medium in results, which
corresponds with her “4” rating. Pl. Ex. 20.
On September 2, 2014, Plaintiff returned from her medical leave and was assigned as a
customs specialist reporting to Michele Wilton. Def. Stmt., ¶ 21. That same day, Plaintiff met
with Schmidt, who expressed her concern that Plaintiff was returning for financial reasons rather
than because she was ready to return to work. Schmidt Dep., 105. Schmidt also inquired as to
whether Plaintiff was eating healthy and taking care of herself. Pl. Dep., 189.
Wilton regularly scheduled 30-day review meetings with employees that were new to her
unit. Wilton Dep., 68-69. Upon her return from medical leave, Plaintiff received a calendar
notice for a 30-day review. Pl. Dep., 179. Plaintiff never received a document stating that she
would face discipline if certain performance objectives were not met. Id. at 179-80.
Plaintiff experienced difficulties as she transitioned into her new position. Early on,
Wilton told her that “[w]e’re going to take it easy on you.” Id. at 191. Plaintiff did not receive
business cards and her phone was not publicly listed. Schmidt. Dep., 113. Plaintiff also testified
that she believed that her coworkers knew she had been on leave for mental health reasons and
that she was mocked and excluded on that basis. Pl. Dep., 195-96.
On October 2, 2014, Plaintiff advised Defendant that she was taking another medical
leave. Def. Stmt., ¶ 23. The next day, she filed a Request for Investigation with Defendant’s
Diversity department, claiming that management had shared her medical information with
others, that she had been forced to lower Burns’ PLM score because of his age, and that she was
retaliated against when she refused. Id. at ¶ 25. After investigating her complaint, the
department concluded that Plaintiff’s allegations were unsubstantiated.2 Def. Ex. S.
On September 16, 2015, Plaintiff was awarded Social Security Disability Benefits
retroactively to December 10, 2013. Def. Stmt., ¶ 28. Plaintiff remained on leave until February
2017, when she retired. Id. at ¶ 24. Plaintiff is receiving permanent disability retirement
benefits from Defendant. Id. at ¶ 28.
On December 18, 2015, Plaintiff filed the instant action against Defendant (Doc. # 1).
Following discovery, Defendant moved for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff’s claims (Doc.
# 18). Plaintiff has responded (Doc. # 22).
STANDARD OF DECISION
Summary judgment will be granted where no genuine issue of material fact exists.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248; 106 S. Ct. 2505; 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). No
genuine issue of material fact exists where “the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.” Matsushita Elect. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587; 106 S. Ct. 1348; 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). “The mere existence of a
scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff’s position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
The Court “must view the evidence, all facts, and any inferences that may be drawn from
The investigation also noted that Schmidt “could benefit from coaching concerning
questioning employees returning from medical leave. Def. Stmt., ¶ 25.
the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Skousen v. Brighton High Sch.,
305 F.3d 520, 526 (6th Cir. 2002). “The court’s duty to view the facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmovant does not require or permit the court to accept mere allegations that
are not supported by factual evidence.” Chappell v. City of Cleveland, 585 F.3d 901, 906 (6th
Cir. 2009). “This is so because the nonmovant, in response to a properly made and supported
motion for summary judgment, cannot rely merely on allegations but must set out specific facts
showing a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
I. Retaliation Claim
Defendant moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s ADEA and ELCRA claims that
she was retaliated against for opposing Defendant’s age discrimination, arguing that she has
failed to establish a prima facie case. “The ADEA prohibits employers from retaliating against
an employee for opposing or reporting age discrimination.” Blizzard v. Marion Technical Coll.,
698 F.3d 275, 288 (6th Cir. 2012). To establish a prima facie case of retaliation, Plaintiff must
show that: (1) she engaged in a protected activity; (2) Defendant was aware that Plaintiff
engaged in that activity; (3) Defendant took an adverse employment action against Plaintiff; and
(4) there is a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action. Id. The
“burden of establishing a prima facie case in a retaliation action is not onerous, but one easily
met.” EEOC v. Avery Dennison Corp., 104 F.3d 858, 861 (6th Cir. 1997).
The Court may “look to cases construing Title VII as a source of authority for
interpreting the ADEA’s anti-retaliation clause.” Fox v. Eagle Distributing Co., Inc., 510 F.3d
587, 591 (6th Cir. 2007). “ELCRA claims are analyzed under the same standards as federal
ADEA claims.” Geiger v. Tower Auto., 579 F.3d 614, 626 (6th Cir. 2009).
A. Whether Plaintiff Engaged in a Protected Activity
To establish a prima facie case of retaliation, Plaintiff must first show that she engaged in
a protected activity. This requires Plaintiff to prove that she took an “overt stand against
suspected illegal discriminatory action.” Blizzard, 698 F.3d at 288. The operative question is
whether Plaintiff “held an objectively reasonable and good faith belief” that the operative
conduct was unlawful. Braun v. Ultimate Jetcharters, LLC, 828 F.3d 501, 512 (6th Cir. 2016).
“A person opposing an apparently discriminatory practice does not bear the entire risk that is in
fact lawful; he or she must only have a good faith belief that the practice is unlawful.” Booker v.
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co., Inc., 879 F.2d 1304, 1312-13 (6th Cir. 1989). “[T]he issue
of objective reasonableness should be decided as a matter of law only when no reasonable
person could have believed that the facts known to the employee amounted to a violation or
otherwise justified the employee’s belief that illegal conduct was occurring.” Yazdian v.
ConMed Endoscopic Techs., Inc., 793 F.3d 634, 646 (6th Cir. 2015).
Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, she has demonstrated that she
opposed an employer’s practice in good faith. Complaining to management and other employees
about allegedly unlawful practices and opposing such practices is “opposing” conduct that is
protected by the ADEA. Johnson v. Univ. of Cincinnati, 215 F.3d 561, 579 (6th Cir. 2000).
Here, Plaintiff opposed changing Burns’ PLM and complained to DiFiore, her supervisor, that
she believed she was being forced to alter the PLM because of Burns’ age. And there is no
indication that her opposition and complaints were not in good faith.
The next question is whether Plaintiff had an objectively reasonable belief that the
practice she opposed was unlawful. Braun, 828 F.3d at 512. Plaintiff points to varying
surrounding circumstances as justifying her belief that Burns’ PLM rating was the product of age
Plaintiff refers to several age-related comments that were made by management,
including general references to “emerging talent” and to whether employees “raise[d] the bar”
and specific comments made about Burns that made fun of him for having a baby at a young age
and referred to him as rigid and incapable of changing “after all this time.” Pl. Dep., 131-32.
Plaintiff also testified that Burns was not the first to receive a PLM rating that did not reflect his
performance because of his age. Plaintiff’s peers, other older employees, indicated that they felt
that they had been discriminated against. Older employees also received ratings that, from
Plaintiff’s perspective, did not reflect their work performance. Finally, DiFiore also directed
Plaintiff to include false comments in Burns’ PLM. Plaintiff alleges that these substantive
comments, added after Burns’ rating was downgraded to a “4”, were not based on Burns’ actual
Although Defendant repeatedly disputes the veracity of many of the above allegations, at
this stage the record must be considered in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. And viewed in
that light, the above facts are sufficient to allow Plaintiff to survive summary judgment. Plaintiff
alleges that management initially selected older employees, Burns and Daidone, to receive a
lower rating. Management also made several age-related comments, including disparaging
comments specifically about Burns. These comments, the alleged discrimination experienced by
other older employees, and DiFiore’s directive to include false comments in Burns’ PLM, could
allow a reasonable jury to conclude that Plaintiff reasonably believed she was opposing
Defendant’s practice of age discrimination in the PLM process.
Defendant contends that Plaintiff’s belief was objectively unreasonable because she was
aware of undercutting facts, namely that Daidone, an employee older than Burns, received a
better rating. But evidence that Defendant was not systematically downgrading its older
employees does not compel the conclusion that it did not downgrade Burns based on his age.
And while Plaintiff has not specifically identified similarly situated younger employees that were
treated differently than the older employees, see Jackson v. Bd. of Ed. of Memphis City Schs. Of
Memphis, Tenn, 494 Fed. App’x. 539, 544 (6th Cir. 2012) (holding the plaintiff could not show a
reasonable belief of racial animus or discriminatory intent where she failed to proffer any
evidence that similarly situated white employees were treated differently), it is not Plaintiff’s
burden to prove that age discrimination actually occurred. See Horner v. Klein, 497 Fed. App’x.
484, 489-90 (2012) (holding the plaintiff engaged in a protected activity even though his
underlying sexual harassment claim was without merit).
Plaintiff’s burden to establish the elements of her prima facie case is not onerous. Here
there are questions of material fact regarding whether Plaintiff engaged in a protected activity by
opposing the perceived age discrimination in the PLM process. A reasonable jury could
conclude that Plaintiff opposed an employer’s practice with the good faith belief that it
constituted age discrimination and that her belief was objectively reasonable.
B. Whether Defendant was Aware that Plaintiff Engaged in the Activity
Next, Plaintiff must show Defendant was aware of her protected activity, which requires
demonstrating that “the individuals charged with taking the adverse employment action knew of
Plaintiff’s complaint.” Braun, 828 F.3d at 512 (quotations omitted). There is a genuine issue of
material fact as to this element. Plaintiff testified that she told DiFiore, her supervisor and the
person responsible for preparing her PLM, that she believed Burns’ rating was changed because
of his age.
C. Whether Defendant Took an Adverse Employment Action Against Plaintiff
The third element of a prima facie case is whether Defendant took an adverse
employment action against Plaintiff. Aside from one general assertion that Plaintiff’s evidence
fails on each element of her prima facie case, Defendant does not argue that Plaintiff has failed
to establish this element and the Court will not make that argument for it. McPherson v. Kelsey,
125 F.3d 989, 995-96 (6th Cir. 1997). For the purposes of this motion, the Court deems that
Defendant has conceded that it took an adverse employment action against Plaintiff. See
Mahoney v. Ernst & Young LLP, 487 F.Supp.2d 780, 811 n. 164 (S.D. Tex. 2006).
D. Whether there is a Causal Connection
Finally, Plaintiff must show a causal connection between the protected activity and the
adverse action, which requires Plaintiff to present sufficient evidence to support the inference
that her protected activity was the likely reason for the adverse action. In re Rodriguez, 487 F.3d
1001, 1011 (6th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff need only put forth some credible evidence enabling the
Court to deduce a causal connection. Dixon v. Gonzales, 481 F.3d 324, 333 (6th Cir. 2007).
Here, the parties’ briefing focuses on whether Plaintiff’s PLM rating was causally related to her
“Although no one factor is dispositive in establishing a causal connection, evidence that
. . . the adverse action was taken shortly after the plaintiff’s exercise of protected rights is
relevant to causation.” Nguyen v. City of Cleveland, 229 F.3d 559, 563 (6th Cir. 2000).
Evidence of temporal proximity, “coupled with other indicia of retaliatory conduct,” can
establish a causal inference. See Randolph v. Ohio Dep’t. of Youth Servs., 453 F.3d 724, 737
(6th Cir. 2006).
Viewing the record in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, Plaintiff has shown a causal
connection between her protected activity and her low PLM rating. There is a strong temporal
connection between the two. Plaintiff received her low PLM rating within a month of her
complaint to DiFiore. See Singfield v. Akron Metro. Housing Authority, 389 F.3d 555, 563 (6th
Cir. 2004) (temporal proximity of just over three months was sufficient). This connection is also
supported by other indicia of discrimination. Plaintiff’s PLM rating was an outlier. Prior to
2013, Plaintiff had never received lower than a “5” rating. Further, Plaintiff alleges that her
PLM also included several false statements about her performance and opposition to the PLM
process. Although Defendant vigorously defends these comments as justified, this defense
concerns questions of fact, which the Court may not resolve at this stage.
Plaintiff’s burden to establish a causal connection is not onerous. Allen v. Dep’t. of
Corrections, 165 F.3d 405, 413 (6th Cir. 1999). Viewing the record in the light most favorable
to Plaintiff, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has created a genuine issue of material fact
regarding whether there is a causal connection between Plaintiff’s opposition to the alleged age
discrimination and her receipt of a lower PLM rating.
Once a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of retaliation, the burden of production
shifts to the defendant to offer a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action. Blizzard, 698
F.3d at 288. If the defendant meets its burden, the plaintiff then has the burden to demonstrate
that the proffered reason was mere pretext. Id.
The Court need not address this portion of the analysis at length. Defendant’s motion
does not address pretext but only argues that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case. Even
assuming that Defendant’s proffered justifications for Plaintiff’s PLM rating constitute a nondiscriminatory reason, Defendant did not argue in its motion for summary judgment that Plaintiff
has failed to show that its justifications were pretextual. Again, the Court will not make
Defendant’s arguments for it. McPherson, 125 F.3d at 995-96. And Defendant’s omission is not
remedied by its cursory reference to pretext in its reply brief. See Frank v. U.S. Food and Drug
Admin., 998 F.Supp.2d 596, 602 (E.D. Mich. 2014) (“Generally, new arguments or issues are
waived when they are raised for the first time in a reply brief.”). Therefore, because a reasonable
jury could conclude that Plaintiff has established a prima facie case of retaliation, the Court
concludes that Defendant is not entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s retaliation claims.
II. Hostile Work Environment Claim
Defendant also moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s hostile work environment
claims. To maintain a hostile work environment action under the ADA, Plaintiff must show: (1)
she was disabled; (2) she was subject to unwelcome harassment based on her disability; (3) the
harassment unreasonably interfered with her work performance and created a hostile work
environment; and (4) Defendant knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to
take corrective measures. Trepka v. Bd. of Educ., 28 Fed. App’x 455, 461 (6th Cir. 2002);
Blankenship v. Parke Care Centers, Inc., 123 F.3d 868, 872 (6th Cir. 1997). The PWDCRA
substantially mirrors the ADA and resolution of a plaintiff’s ADA claim will generally also
resolve the PWDCRA claim. Donald v. Sybra, Inc., 667 F.3d 757, 764 (6th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiff’s claim is based on a number of different interactions and experiences from
when she returned to work from leave. She points to comments that Schmidt made to her during
a meeting on her first day back from work, actions by management that undermined her ability to
do her job, and ostracism from her co-workers.
With respect to the second element of the prima facie case, the Court must distinguish
“between harassment and discriminatory harassment.” See Bowman v. Shawnee State Univ., 220
F.3d 456, 464 (6th Cir. 2000) (emphasis added). Plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie
case because the record is devoid of any indication that she was subject to unwelcome
harassment based on her disability.
Plaintiff testified that Schmidt asked her why it took nine months for her to return, if she
was eating healthy, and whether she was back for financial reasons.3 Nothing in these statements
suggests that Schmidt’s comments were based in any way on Plaintiff’s disability. Moreover,
there is no evidence upon which a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that Schmidt was
aware of Plaintiff’s disability or that Plaintiff had been on mental health leave. Schmidt testified
that she was under the impression that Plaintiff’s leave was because of a thyroid issue, Schmidt
Dep., 90, and Plaintiff testified that she never told Schmidt about her disability and that she did
not know whether Schmidt knew about it. Pl. Dep., 203-04. And while Plaintiff does identify
one email in which she mentioned to Schmidt that she had health issues “mixed in with some
Plaintiff also relies on a number of statements attributed to Schmidt in her Request for
Investigation. Pl. Ex. 27. This exhibit is an unsworn statement that the Court may not consider
when ruling on Defendant’s motion. Dole v. Elliott Travel & Tours, Inc., 942 F.2d 962, 968-69
(6th Cir. 1991). Moreover, even if the Court were to consider the statements, Plaintiff’s claim
would still fail because the statements are devoid of any inference that they were made based on
disappointment and depression,” Pl. Ex. 29, this one-off reference does not lead to the inference
that Schmidt was aware that Plaintiff had a mental health disability or that her medical leave was
related to that disability.
Similarly, there is no indication that any actions taken by management to undermine
Plaintiff’s ability to perform her job were related to her mental disability. Plaintiff contends that
Defendant restricted what she learned and at what pace, closely monitored her daily tasks and
whereabouts, and refused to publicly acknowledge that Plaintiff had the position. But the record
is devoid of evidence supporting an inference that those responsible for this conduct had any
knowledge of Plaintiff’s disability, let alone acted based on that disability.
Finally, Plaintiff claims ostracism by her coworkers created a hostile work environment.
But while Plaintiff testified that she believed that all of her coworkers knew that her leave had
been for mental health reasons, Pl. Dep., 195-96, this belief was mere conjecture, which is
insufficient to defeat summary judgment. See Hartsel v. Keys, 87 F.3d 795, 801 (6th Cir. 1996)
(conclusory statements, subjective beliefs, or intuition cannot defeat summary judgment).
Plaintiff identified nothing beyond her subjective perceptions of her coworkers actions to permit
the inference that her coworkers were acting based on her disability. And, even if her coworkers
had ostracized her because of her disability, that alone is insufficient evidence of severe
harassment to allow a reasonable jury to find that Plaintiff was subjected to a hostile work
environment. See Barrett v. Whirlpool Corp., 556 F.3d 502, 518 (6th Cir. 2009).
In sum, although Plaintiff recites “a litany of perceived slights and abuses,” these alleged
harassing acts are irrelevant to the hostile work environment analysis because Plaintiff has not
shown that the alleged harassment was based on her disability. Bowman, 220 F.3d at 464.
Because Plaintiff has failed to identify such harassment, she has failed to establish a prima facie
case and Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on her hostile work environment claims.
For the reasons above, IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. The Court GRANTS Defendant’s
motion as to Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims but DENIES Defendant’s motion as to
Plaintiff’s retaliation claims. Accordingly, the retaliation claims shall proceed to trial.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
United States District Judge
Dated: October 31, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on
October 31, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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