United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
G. Edmunds, United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant G4S Secure Solutions
(USA), Inc.'s ("Defendant" or "G4S")
motion for summary judgment. (Docket 18.) Plaintiff's
claim arises from the termination of her employment by
Defendant. Plaintiff brings a single claim against Defendant
for retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.
(Compl. ¶ 1.) For the reasons stated below, the Court
will grant Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Background & Facts
was hired in late 2000 by non-party Pinkerton and assigned to
perform security officer and dispatcher duties for
Pinkerton's client General Motors ("GM") at the
Tech Center. (Coleman Dep. 11-13, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 2, dkt.
17-3.) The Tech Center includes both an East and West Campus
housing multiple buildings, where thousands of GM employees
and contractors work each day. (Id. at 13-14; Drent
Dep. 44, Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 15, dkt. 15-16.)
2001, Securitas acquired contracts to provide security at the
Tech Center. Several Pinkerton employees, including Plaintiff
and Donald Drent, then a division manager, continued their
employment with Securitas. (Drent Dep. 20-21.) In
approximately 2004 or early 2005, Plaintiff was promoted to
supervisor, and shortly thereafter, promoted to the position
of Site Coordinator for the East Campus of the Tech Center.
(Coleman Dep. 16, 19-20.) In 2011, the security contract was
awarded to G4S. (Drent Dep. 21.) Again, some employees,
including Plaintiff and Drent, were hired by the new company,
G4S, and continued performing the same job duties. (Drent
Dep. 21-22; 62.)
Tech Center, one Site Coordinator was responsible for
managing the West Campus and two Site Coordinators were
responsible for managing the East Campus. (Coleman Dep.
63-65.) As a Site Coordinator, Plaintiff was responsible for
managing approximately 60 people working on three different
shifts in multiple buildings. (Coleman Dep. 19-21.) Shift
Supervisors report to the Site Coordinator. (Coleman Dep.
19-20, 239, 240.) Plaintiff's job duties as a Site
Coordinator included keeping "G4S and GM Plant
management informed on the status of emergency
situations" and ensuring "subordinates respond
proactively and appropriately, " ensuring "GM/G4S
policies and procedures are updated, implemented and adhered
to, " and notifying "proper authorities and client
in emergency situations."(Job Description, Pl.'s
Resp. Ex. 9; Coleman Dep. 23-24.)
time that G4S secured the GM security contract, Jeremy Paul
("Paul") was the Security Chief for the East Campus
and was Plaintiff's immediate supervisor. (Coleman Dep.
56-59; Drent Dep. 34-35.) In mid-2013, G4S underwent a
structural reorganization wherein Drent became the immediate
supervisor of the Tech Center Security Chiefs and became the
second-level supervisor of the Site Coordinators, including
Coleman. (Drent Dep. 29.) GM's Global Security Division
("GSD") is GM's in-house security department
and is responsible for overseeing all security and fire
prevention at GM. (Drent Dep. 48, 70.) Beth Webster was the
GSD Manager responsible for working with GM's security
provider during the time periods relevant to this lawsuit.
(Drent Dep. 48, 70; Coleman Dep. 54.)
about March 7, 2014, Paul directed Plaintiff to "write
up" or discipline security officer Marcus Pope
("Pope"), whom Paul alleged had made an insulting
statement to a female officer, Michelle Dixon
("Dixon"), about a blazer Dixon was wearing.
(Compl. ¶¶ 10-14.) Plaintiff told Paul that she
would talk to Dixon to find out if Dixon had been insulted,
before she would proceed with disciplining Pope. (Compl.
¶ 15.) Plaintiff proceeded to interview Dixon and other
witnesses who had been present, including DeYana Wagner.
(Compl. ¶¶ 18, 22.) Plaintiff determined that Paul
had not actually been present during the interaction, but had
observed it via security camera. (Comp. ¶¶ 19-20,
24.) Plaintiff also found out that Paul had sent a photo of a
pink Power Ranger to Wagner, with a reference to Dixon and
the Blazer. (Compl. ¶ 25.) During this questioning,
Dixon, Wagner and another female security guard, LaToya
Naylor, alluded to inappropriate comments, including sexual
comments, made by Paul to them. (Compl. ¶¶ 26-31.)
Paul's comments had not previously been reported. (Compl.
notified Human Resources ("HR") manager Juanita
Resar ("Resar") that three of her subordinates had
been subjected to sexual comments from Paul, and Resar told
Plaintiff to "do what you usually do, get your paperwork
together and get it to me." (Coleman Dep. 184, 195.) On
March 11, 2014, Plaintiff obtained written statements from
Dixon, Wagner and Naylor regarding Paul's comments and
submitted the statements to Resar. (Compl. ¶¶ 40,
42.) Plaintiff did not speak with Paul about the allegations.
(Coleman Dep. 184:22-24.) Drent became involved in the
investigation due to his concerns about the propriety of an
investigation by a subordinate of a supervisor. (Drent Dep.
92.) Paul was suspended until the end of the investigation.
(Drent Dep. 108.) As a result of the investigation, Paul was
ultimately issued a Final Written Warning and was retrained
on the company's sexual harassment policy prior to being
reinstated as the East Campus Security Chief. (Paul Dep.
108-11, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 5; Drent Dep. 123-26.) Further,
any disciplinary authority over Naylor, Dixon, Wagner or
Coleman was taken from Paul, in part to avoid an issue of
retaliatory activity by him against those individuals. (Drent
the investigatory process, Drent's assistant, Scott
Saunders ("Saunders"), allegedly contacted
Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶ 44.) Saunders was angry that
Plaintiff had conducted an investigation of Paul for sexual
harassment and, per the Complaint, asked Plaintiff, "Who
in the hell you think you are to investigate someone higher
than you?" (Compl. ¶ 44.) Saunders had also
completed an investigative report of Paul's conduct,
dated March 19, 2014, in which his conclusions included both
that Plaintiff "did not follow protocol throughout this
process" and that "it would be difficult for Jeremy
Paul to continue at this facility as an effective security
manager, leader, or mentor." (Record of Investigation,
Mar. 19, 2014, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 6.)
about May 16, 2014, G4S security officer Sam Smith
("Smith") made a complaint to Coleman about Naylor,
alleging that she had yelled at him in front of guests.
(Coleman Dep. 213-15; Security Incident Rep., Def.'s Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. 10, dkt. 15-11.) Naylor had already been written
up on at least one other occasion, for an unprofessional
verbal altercation with a member of the housekeeping staff,
in which Naylor called that person a "hood rat."
(Coleman Dep. 305-06.) On May 20, 2014, Naylor reported to
Coleman that Smith was watching television on his cell phone
while at work and not completing his security patrols.
(Coleman Dep. 223; Smith Removal Documentation, Def.'s
Br. Ex. 12, dkt. 15-13.) There was an investigation of Smith
and the alleged falsification of his documents and Plaintiff
was given approval to remove Smith. (Coleman Dep. 249; Smith
Removal Documentation, Def.'s Br. Ex. 12.)
evening of June 18, 2014, Naylor and Smith engaged in a
second verbal workplace altercation. (Coleman Dep. 224-25;
Security Incident Reports, Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 7.) Third
shift supervisor Sean Shields called Plaintiff to notify her
of the incident. (Coleman Dep. 225.) Plaintiff directed
Shields to take statements from Smith, Naylor and any
witnesses, make sure Smith and Naylor were separated, and to
let Smith go home when he finished his statement, because it
was the end of his shift. (Coleman Dep. 226-27, 229.)
Shields' call to Plaintiff came before midnight, and
Plaintiff did not go back to work to interview anyone about
the incident because she had just finished working 13 hours.
(Coleman Dep. 227.) Plaintiff also directed Shields to call
Paul and inform him about "what's going on."
(Coleman Dep. 229.) Plaintiff herself tried to contact Paul
"over eight times" about the incident, calling his
desk phone, cell phone and leaving voice mails. (Coleman Dep.
238, 272; Drent Dep. 143, dkt. 15-16.) Plaintiff testified
that she did not know whether a workplace GRIT (Global
Reporting Incident Tool) report needed to be completed when
there is a workplace violence incident because she had
"never experienced it." (Coleman Dep. 206, 238-39.)
Plaintiff believed that duty fell on the shift supervisor,
and agreed that if the shift supervisor did not complete a
GRIT, then she had to follow-up behind the shift supervisor
and do a GRIT report. (Coleman Dep. 240.)
did not speak with Naylor the following day, but she intended
to speak with Naylor when she had the next opportunity and
did not believe the incident was urgent (Coleman Dep. 244.)
On June 19, Plaintiff removed Smith from employment, telling
him that it was a follow-up for his falsifying of
documentation (related to the television watching at work,
for which Naylor had reported him). (Coleman Dep. 259.)
Plaintiff had already planned to get rid of Smith before the
second incident with Naylor occurred. (Coleman Dep. 279.)
Plaintiff did not interview Smith about the incident with
Naylor, nor did she interview anyone else, other than a
single GM employee, on June 19th. (Coleman Dep. 260-63.)
Plaintiff admitted that if she had interviewed Naylor and
Naylor had admitted to those things that had been reported in
relation to the incident, Plaintiff would have requested
permission to suspend her. (Coleman Dep. 279.) Naylor was
ultimately terminated for the incident with Smith. (Coleman
20, 2014, Drent received a phone call from Webster, of GSD,
inquiring about an incident between two officers that was an
altercation, to which security officers had to physically
respond to the location and separate the parties, as had been
reported to Webster by a GM employee. (Drent Dep. 138-39.)
Drent did not know about the incident and Webster inquired as
to why he did not know about it. (Drent Dep. 138.) Drent
called both Landen Pickens and Paul to inquire whether they
knew anything about such an incident, then he drove to the
Tech Center to follow up. (Drent Dep. 139.) When Drent found
out about the incident and questioned Plaintiff about why she
didn't respond when she received the call the night of
the incident, she told him that she was "too
tired." (Drent Dep. 143.) She acknowledged that when the
call came, she had just gotten home from work, was exhausted,
and intended to address the incident the following morning.
(Pl.'s Resp. 8, citing Coleman Dep. 283-84.) In the
Complaint, Plaintiff admits she could have suspended Naylor
immediately, rather than waiting to interview her first.
(Compl. ¶ 56.) Plaintiff did not contact Drent, Saunders
or the client about the incident. (Coleman Dep. 248-49, 252.)
Drent suspended Plaintiff Coleman pending an investigation
into the handling of the Naylor-Smith incident; it was an
investigatory suspension similar to that imposed on Paul
during the course of the investigation of the sexual
harassment allegations against Paul. (Drent Dep. 154,
160-61.) After receiving the investigation reports and all
statements, including Plaintiff's statement, Drent made
the decision to terminate Plaintiff. (Drent Dep. 162.)
9, 2014, Coleman filed an Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") charge with the Michigan
Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) alleging that she was
terminated in retaliation for her investigation of sexual
harassment allegations made against Paul by her three
subordinate employees approximately four months earlier.
(Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 10.) The MDCR dismissed the complaint
after investigation and the EEOC adopted the MDCR findings
and issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights on October 23,
2015. (Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 10.) Plaintiff filed this action
on January 25, 2016.
Summary Judgment Standard
court shall grant summary judgment 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). A moving party may meet that burden
“by ‘showing' - that is, pointing out to the
district court -- that there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving ...