United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NO.
Page Hood, United States District Court Judge.
August 21, 2018, Plaintiff filed a four-count Complaint
alleging that Defendant discriminated against her on the
basis of her pregnancy and sex, in violation of Title VII and
the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act
(“ELCRA”). On May 17, 2019, Defendant filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Motion has been fully
briefed. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies the
Motion for Summary Judgment.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
applied to Defendant for an Administrative Assistant position
in March 2018, when Defendant was looking for someone with
one to three years administrative experience, whose
qualifications included an understanding of Microsoft Office
suite and proficiency in Word and Excel. ECF No. 14-2, PgID
76. Plaintiff interviewed for the position and, before
Defendant hired her, took a “standardized test”
or assessment given by Defendant that is a “profile and
covers six cognitive and 10 behavioral traits” and
“ranges from comprehension abilities, mathematical
applications, basic like word processing,
comprehension.” ECF No. 17-4, PgID 252-53 (at 9-10);
ECF No. 17-5, PgID 275 (at 9).
hired Plaintiff on April 2, 2018, as a Production/Field Ops
Assistant. Plaintiff received compliments from Grace Goodman
(“Goodman”) (a non-management, administrative
employee responsible for training Plaintiff), Rick Roberts
(“Roberts”) (the Vice President of Field Ops),
and other employees. She was told “good job” and
“you're doing well” a couple of times a week.
ECF No. 17, Ex. A. (at 119-21). Plaintiff was never told she
was not meeting expectations or that she could be fired
because she was performing so poorly.
told Defendant's employees that she was pregnant on April
20, 2018. Id. at 195-96. Rachel McCurtie
(“McCurtie”) (one of Plaintiff's human
resources contacts) treated Plaintiff differently after
Plaintiff announced her pregnancy. McCurtie stopped being
nice to Plaintiff, was “standoffish, ” avoided
Plaintiff, and stopped answering her questions. Id.
at 43, 206. McCurtie and Plaintiff sat together at lunch
prior to Plaintiff revealing to McCurtie that Plaintiff was
pregnant but then McCurtie stopped sitting with Plaintiff.
Id. at 207-08.
April 24, 2018, four days after Plaintiff disclosed her
pregnancy, Defendant decided to terminate Plaintiff. ECF No.
17, Ex. G. Prior to announcing her pregnancy, Plaintiff was
never told she was not performing well, nor were any concerns
expressed about Plainitff's ability to do the job.
Rather, Plaintiff was consistently praised and told that she
was doing good work. Id. at 119-21.
Goree (“Goree”), Defendant's head of human
resources, was responsible for helping with employee
challenges, development, coaching, and decision making. ECF
No. 17, Ex. D (at 6). Goree, Roberts and Loretta Stempien
(“Stempien”) (the Executive Assistant and
Administrative Supervisor) did not have any conversations
regarding Plaintiff and her performance prior to Plaintiff
informing Defendant of her pregnancy, id. at 14, 31,
and the only time they met about Plaintiff was after
Plaintiff informed Defendant she was pregnant. Goree
“did not recall” the conversation but did recall
that Roberts and Stempien advised him they wanted to
terminate Plaintiff. Id. at 19.
told Goodman and Stempien to document reasons that supported
the decision to terminate Plaintiff. Id. at 22, 36.
Goodman created “Performance Notes: Meagan
MacEachern” on April 26, 2018 and Stempien created
“Meagan MacEachern-Admin Staff Observations” on
April 26, 2018. ECF No. 17, Ex. H. The purported performance
issues regarding Plaintiff documented on April 26, 2018, were
the first such documented issues regarding Plaintiff's
performance. They were created subsequent to Plaintiff
informing Defendant of her pregnancy and Defendant decided it
would terminate Plaintiff. ECF No. 17, Ex. H; Ex. C (at
had the shortest tenure in the “production
assistant” role at 25 days. ECF No. 17, Ex. I. There
were two other “production assistants” prior to
Plaintiff who were terminated after brief tenures: Suzanne
Daher (“Daher”) and Lindsay Miller
(“Miller”). Id. Plaintiff was the only
one of those three briefly tenured “production
assistants” who was pregnant. (Ex. D, pp. 25-29)(Ex. C,
pp. 78-83). Daher was an employee that Defendant claimed was
not living up to its expectations, but she was given
approximately ten weeks to improve in her role. ECF No. 14,
PgID 70. Miller was employed by Defendant for several months,
even though she was an alleged “problem” employee
who did not seem to grasp Goodman's training. ECF No. 17,
Ex. J. Miller was given 13 weeks to try and learn the role.
(Ex. I). Plaintiff was given four days to improve and learn
the role before Defendant decided to terminate her.
56(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedures provides that the
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). The presence of factual disputes will
preclude granting of summary judgment only if the disputes
are genuine and concern material facts. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute
about a material fact is “genuine” only if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
Although the Court must view the motion in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, where “the moving
party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent
must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 586 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered against
a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial. In such a situation, there can be “no genuine
issue as to any material fact, ” since a complete
failure of proof concerning an essential element of the
nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
A court must look to the substantive law to identify which
facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.