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Payton v. Aerotek, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 29, 2017

BRIANA PAYTON, Plaintiff,
v.
AEROTEK, INC. et al, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT TSI'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [# 22] AND DEFENDANT AEROTEK'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [# 24]

          Denise Page Hood Chief Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Briana Payton (“Payton”) is suing Defendants Aerotek Incorporated (“Aerotek”) and Title Source Incorporated (“TSI”) alleging violations of 29 U.S.C. § 2611 et. seq, the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Specifically, she alleges that Defendants interfered and retaliated against her in violation of the FMLA. (Doc # 1) Aerotek and TSI filed separate motions for summary judgment. (Doc # 22; Doc # 24)

         For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment.

         Aerotek provides supplemental staffing services to companies. TSI is a title insurance agency connected to Quicken Loans that writes policies for underwriters and performs closing services. (Doc # 22)

         On January 28, 2013, Payton signed an employment agreement with Aerotek. Payton began working for TSI on a temporary assignment on February 4, 2013. Payton initially worked as a closing processor on Nancy Everett's, Director of Escrow, Chase Retail Team. The closing processor position required her to perform four functions: input, output, box, and final goals calls.

         TSI claims that throughout Payton's tenure, she had multiple performance problems. For instance, TSI alleges that Payton would clock into work, but would lollygag around for a few hours before actually working. (Doc # 22 at 11; Ex. E, Everett Dep. 10:3-7) TSI alleges that Payton consistently failed to meet production goals. Specifically, she did not meet her goals in October 2013, November 2013, January 2014, or February 2014. (Doc # 22 at 11; Ex. H) Aside from failing to meet production goals, Payton allegedly had quality issues. Everett informed Payton of these deficiencies, and in March 2014, Payton was warned about failing to meet her goals. In July 2014, Payton failed to properly adjust a payoff resulting in $789.19 shortage. (Doc # 22 at 12; Ex. J)

         In May 2014, Payton informed TSI that she was pregnant and would have to take FMLA leave. In September 2014, Payton failed to meet her production goal and caused another shortage in the amount of $306.55.

         In October 2014, Payton was moved to Janine Henry's processing Send-Out team. TSI claims that Payton's reassignment was due to Payton's performance issues, but Payton claims that she was reassigned because her team was disbanded, and everyone was reassigned to different teams. While on Henry's team, Payton allegedly suffered from the same quality issues. In November 2014, she failed to meet her goal. In December 2014, she was placed on an improvement plan. (Doc # 22; Ex. M) On January 19, 2015, Payton began her FMLA leave.

         According to TSI, in early 2015, it conducted a review of its temporary employees in order to determine to which ones it would extend permanent job offers. The workers who were evaluated were assigned to TSI for at least 18 months. TSI evaluated approximately 100 workers. Everett and Henry found that Payton's work quality did not warrant a permanent position. In March 2015, TSI decided to terminate Payton's assignment and informed Aerotek to inform Payton that she would no longer have a position with TSI. (Doc # 22 at 15) Payton was scheduled to return to work in April 2015.

         Before the end of her FMLA leave, Payton called Henry on March 17, 2015 to inquire about her pre-leave work schedule. Henry allegedly informed Payton that the schedule would remain the same. (Doc # 28 at 7) Payton claims that the next day, on March 18, 2015, Aerotek employee Tiffany Iposu called her and informed her that Payton's position was terminated. Payton claims Iposu stated that she was unaware that Payton was on FMLA leave, but noted that her termination had nothing to do with performance, but rather the fact that Payton was not working because she had a baby and consequently her spot was filled. (Doc # 27-1, Pg ID 435-37; Doc # 27-2, Pg ID 451-52)

         Payton sues Aerotek and TSI alleging violations of the FMLA. The Court cannot decipher which type of FMLA claim Payton alleges against each Defendant in her Complaint because she only states that TSI and Aerotek violated the FMLA. However, in her responses to Defendants' summary judgment motions, Payton states that TSI retaliated against her in violation of the FMLA, and Aerotek interfered with her job in violation of the FMLA. Accordingly, the Court will examine (1) TSI's conduct under the retaliation theory; and (2) Aerotek's conduct under the interference theory.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court will 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); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986). A fact is material if it could affect the outcome of the case based on the governing substantive law. Id. at 248. A dispute about a ...


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