United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Cheryl Bonner sued her former employer, Defendant Bosal
Industries - Georgia, Inc., and alleged gender discrimination
and retaliation in violation of Title VII as well as pendent
state claims under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights
Act. ECF 1. Now before the Court is Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment. ECF 20. The issues have been fully
briefed, and the Court held a hearing. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion.
began her permanent employment with Defendant in December
2010 as a Quality Operator. ECF 25-2, PgID 389, 393. Four
years later, Plaintiff was promoted to Shift Manager and paid
a $55, 000 annual salary. ECF 20-3, PgID 104. Defendant
admits that Plaintiff's salary was $2, 000 less than that
of two male co-workers, Mustafa Saif and Bernard Harris, who
were each promoted to Shift Manager around the same time. ECF
20, PgID 77; ECF 20-32, PgID 270.
early 2015, Plaintiff complained internally that an
Operations Manager had made sexist comments and treated her
less favorably than her male counterparts. ECF 25-2, PgID
411-13; ECF 25-11, PgID 465. Plaintiff ultimately took her
complaint to the EEOC on July 6, 2015. ECF 20-33, PgID 273.
Afterwards, Defendant alleges Plaintiff had a slew of
documented performance issues. See, e.g., ECF 20,
PgID 76-80; ECF 20-22; ECF 20-25. Less than two months after
Plaintiff filed her EEOC complaint, Defendant issued a
"Final Warning Memo" threatening termination. ECF
20-27, PgID 255. After the final warning was issued, there
was an incident in which Plaintiff allegedly did not properly
address a malfunctioning machine during critical production
time. ECF 20-29, PgID 259-60. Defendant terminated Plaintiff
shortly thereafter, ECF 25-11, PgID 476, and Plaintiff
Court must 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). The moving party must identify specific
portions of the record "which it believes demonstrate
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once the moving party has met its burden, the non-moving
party may not simply rest on the pleadings, but must present
"specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)) (emphasis omitted).
is material if proof of that fact would establish or refute
an essential element of the cause of action or defense.
Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir.
1984). A dispute over material facts is genuine "if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In
considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
view the facts and draw all reasonable inferences " in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." 60
Ivy St. Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d 1432, 1435 (6th
alleges that Defendant violated 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 by
paying two male Shift Managers a $2, 000 higher salary. ECF
1, PgID 3-4. Because Plaintiff relies on circumstantial
evidence, ECF 25, PgID 375, the Court must apply the
burden-shifting test outlined in McDonnell Douglas Corp.
v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973) and Tex. Dep't of
Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248 (1981) to analyze
the claim. Under authority of those cases, Plaintiff bears
the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of
discrimination. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 252-53. To make
the showing, Plaintiff must prove that (i) she is a member of
a protected class, (ii) she was subjected to an adverse
employment decision, (iii) she was qualified for the
position, and (iv) similarly situated members of a
non-protected class were treated more favorably. Peltier
v. United States, 388 F.3d 984, 987 (6th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff's burden is not onerous at the initial phase.
Burdine, 450 U.S. at 253.
Plaintiff discharges her initial burden, the burden shifts to
Defendant to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reason for the adverse employment action. Id.
Defendant does not need to persuade the Court that it was
actually motivated by the proffered reasons. Id. at
254. Rather, it needs only to raise a genuine issue of fact
as to whether it discriminated against Plaintiff.
Defendant discharges its burden, then the final burden shifts
back to Plaintiff "to prove by a preponderance of the
evidence that the legitimate reasons offered by the defendant
were not its true reasons[.]" Id. at 253. To do
so, Plaintiff must identify evidence from which a reasonable
jury could conclude that the proffered reason is actually
pretext for unlawful discrimination. Provenzano v. LCI
Holdings, Inc., 663 F.3d 806, 812 (6th Cir. 2011).
each step in turn, the Court will find that Plaintiff's
claim survives the burden-shifting test and deny