United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Teandra S. Gill, Plaintiff,
Suburban Cadillac of Lansing, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PHILLIP J. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case arises out of Plaintiff Teandra Gill's brief
employment with Defendant Suburban Cadillac of Lansing,
Michigan. Plaintiff filed this action, pro se, pursuant to
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) and the
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), claiming that
Defendant discriminated against her on the basis of her race
and retaliated against her for complaining about
discriminatory conduct by creating a hostile work environment
and terminating her employment.
matter is now before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 40). Plaintiff has responded. (ECF
No. 41). For the reasons articulated herein, the motion will
following facts are beyond genuine dispute. Plaintiff began
her employment with Defendant on August 15, 2016. She was
hired to work in the Business Development Center (BDC), and
her duties included responding to internet inquiries
regarding the purchase or lease of vehicles, and scheduling
appointments with sales and financing staff. She was one of
three BDC representatives who were assigned to handle these
internet leads. The internet leads were randomly assigned to
the various BDC representatives on a “round robin
system.” The representatives were paid a salary plus an
amount for each appointment scheduled, with an additional
bonus for appointments kept. If a representative was absent
from work, or for some reason did not respond to the lead
within a specified period of time, the lead would be
forwarded to the next representative in line. Similarly, if a
BDC representative was not able to take a customer's
call, that call would be forwarded to the next representative
in line. (Complaint ¶¶ 22-26, ECF No. 1,
PageID.5-6; Pltf's Dep. Tr. 18, 27-28 ECF No. 40-3,
PageID.285, 294-95; Krueger Affidavit ¶ 3, ECF No. 40-2,
developed attendance problems shortly after coming to work
for Suburban Cadillac. “She [ ] missed full days and
would often come in late or leave early.” (Krueger
Affidavit ¶ 5, PageID.262).
September 2016, Plaintiff began complaining that her leads
were being “stolen.” (Complaint at ¶ 27,
PageID.6; Pltf's Dep. Tr. at 38, PageID.305). Nathan
Krueger, the new car sales manager, attempted to explain to
Plaintiff that, when she was absent from work, her leads were
transferred to other BDC representatives. He also reviewed
the records, which revealed that Plaintiff was receiving her
share of leads, noting that “on many occasions she
received the most leads of the department.” (Krueger
Affidavit ¶¶ 3-4, PageID.262).
attendance problems continued. She missed work on December 8,
9, and 15. On December 16, 2016, Mr. Krueger and used car
sales manager Karl Hassenwinkle met with Plaintiff to counsel
her about her poor attendance. At this meeting, Mr. Kreuger
admonished Plaintiff that her poor attendance was
unacceptable, that her attendance was being documented, and
that continued poor attendance could result in termination.
Mr. Krueger has similarly taken disciplinary action against
Caucasian employees for poor attendance. (Krueger Affidavit
¶¶ 6, 9, PageID.262-63).
attendance problems persisted. (See Employee Time Card
Report, ECF No. 40-5, PageID.338-40). She left work at 1:52
p.m. on December 22, 2016, when she was scheduled to work
until 6:00 p.m. (12/22/16 Request for Approved Time Off, ECF
No. 40-5, PageID.336). She noted that she left because she was
“sick.” (Id.). Plaintiff came to work
four hours late on December 30, 2016. (1/2/17 Request for
Approved Time Off, ECF No. 40-5, PageID.335). She ascribed
her tardiness to “car trouble.” (Id.).
Plaintiff failed to appear at work at all on January 10,
2017. (1/12/17 Request for Approved Time Off, ECF No. 40-5,
PageID.334). She simply noted: “called in/missed
Kreuger then made the decision to terminate Plaintiff's
employment due to poor attendance. (Krueger Affidavit at
¶ 8, PageID.263). Plaintiff's termination was
effected January 12, 2017, and it was documented on an
Employee Separation Form, signed by Plaintiff, which noted
“excessive absenteeism.” (ECF No. 40-4,
PageID.332).Mr. Krueger denies that Plaintiff's
race played any role in this decision. (Krueger Affidavit at
¶ 10, PageID.263).
filed this action on June 18, 2018. Count one claims
disparate impact racial discrimination, in violation of Title
VII; count two claims hostile work environment racial
discrimination, in violation of Title VII; count three raises
a retaliation claim under Title VII; count four claims
disparate impact racial discrimination, in violation of the
ELCRA; and count five asserts a reprisal claim under the
judgment "shall" be granted "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 party moving for summary
judgment can satisfy its burden by demonstrating "that
the respondent, having had sufficient opportunity for
discovery, has no evidence to support an essential element of
his or her case." Minadeo v. ICI
Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the
moving party demonstrates that "there is an absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case," the
non-moving party "must identify specific facts that can
be established by admissible evidence, which demonstrate a
genuine issue for trial." Amini v. Oberlin
College, 440 F.3d 350, 357 (6th Cir. 2006).
the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party, the party opposing the summary
judgment motion "must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Amini, 440 F.3d at 357. The existence
of a mere "scintilla of evidence" in support of the
non-moving party's position is insufficient. Daniels
v. Woodside, 396 F.3d 730, 734-35 (6th Cir.
2005). The non-moving party "may not rest upon [his]
mere allegations," but must instead present
"significant probative evidence" establishing that
"there is a genuine issue for trial." Pack v.
Damon Corp., 434 F.3d 810, 813-14 (6th Cir. 2006).
the non-moving party cannot defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment by "simply arguing that it
relies solely or in part upon credibility
determinations." Fogerty v. MGM Group Holdings
Corp., Inc., 379 F.3d 348, 353 (6th Cir. 2004). Rather,
the non-moving party "must be able to point to some
facts which may or will entitle him to judgment, or refute
the proof of the moving party in some material portion, and .
. . may not merely recite the incantation,
'Credibility,' and have a trial on the hope that a
jury may disbelieve factually uncontested proof."
Id. at 353-54. In sum, summary judgment is
appropriate "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." Daniels, 396
F.3d at 735.
Plaintiffs Disparate Impact Claims (Counts 1 & 4).
count 1 of her complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendant
violated Title VII in that “[its] unlawful business
practices had an adverse and disproportionate impact on her
because of her race/color, Black.” (Complaint ¶
47, PageID.9). Count 4 invokes the ELCRA, and it essentially
mirrors the allegations ...