United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
Court has before it Defendant Blauer Manufacturing
Company's motion for summary judgment . For the
reasons set forth below, the Court finds the motion should be
Angelia Young, through her employment with EMI Staffing,
Inc., a staffing company, began working at
Defendant Blauer in August 2016. She alleges that in
September and October of 2016, a coworker named
Perry sexually harassed her by making vulgar
sexual remarks to her and by forcibly touching breasts and
reported the harassment to her supervisors at Blauer. She
first met with human resources manager Carrie Martin and
supervisor, O'Dell Miller. She later met with Martin,
Miller, and Blauer vice president Elvest Cook. In both of
these meetings, Young reported that Perry made sexually
harassing statements to her and physically grabbed her. It is
disputed whether, during these meetings, Young told her
superiors that she did not know Perry outside of work and
that other employees witnessed Perry harassing her.
and Martin interviewed Perry and other co-workers in the
factory. Perry admitted during these interviews that he had
made sexual comments toward Young but contended that they
were consensual. He denied ever touching Young. Perry also
informed Cook and Martin that he had previously given Young a
ride home after work one day and that she had given him her
phone number. He stated that he and Young had previously
exchanged text messages. He also provided screenshot of a
text exchange between him and Young where Perry asked Young
for pictures while she was getting dressed for work. Young
responded by asking for pictures from Perry.
conducting these interviews, Cook claims that he believed
Young misled him about the nature of her and Perry's
relationship. Blauer alleges that Young affirmatively told
management that she did not have any sort of relationship
with Perry and did not know him outside of
work. Blauer also contends that Young told the
managers that several other co-workers had witnessed the
harassment, although Young stated that she never said anyone
witnessed the touching. Cook ultimately decided to terminate
her from Blauer.
filed a charge of discrimination against Blauer, claiming
that Blauer terminated her in retaliation for reporting
Perry's sexual harassment. Young received a notice of
right to sue and filed this action, asserting a violation of
Title VII. Blauer moved for summary judgment, Young
responded, and the matter is now ripe for review.
judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). The rule "mandates the entry of
summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon
motion, against a party who fails to make a sufficient
showing 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." Id. at 322, 106
party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
responsibility of informing the Court of the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of the record it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact. See Id. "An issue of fact is
material only if 'its resolution could affect the outcome
of the action'." Manning v. Chevron Chem. Co.,
LLC, 332 F.3d 874, 877 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting
Wyatt v. Hunt Plywood Co., 297 F.3d 405, 408 (5th
burden then shifts to the nonmovant to "go beyond the
pleadings and by ... affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct.
2548 (internal quotation marks omitted.); Littlefield v.
Forney Indep. Sch Dist., 268 F.3d 275, 282 (5th Cir.
2001); Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61
F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir. 1995). The Court "resolve[s]
factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving party, but
only where there is an actual controversy, that is, when both
parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts."
Antoine v. First Student, Inc., 713 F.3d 824, 830
(5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co.,
Inc., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th Cir. 2005)). "[T]he
nonmoving party 'cannot defeat summary judgment with
conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or only a
scintilla of evidence.'" Hathaway v.
Bazany, 507 F.3d 312, 319 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Turner v. Baylor Richardson Medical Center, 476 F.3d
337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007)).
McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework applies
to Title VII claims brought under a pretext theory."
Giddens v. Cmty. Educ. Centers, Inc., 540 Fed.Appx.
381, 389 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing Septimus v. Univ. of
Houston, 399 F.3d 601, 608 (5th Cir. 2005)). The
employee must first "produce evidence of a prima facie
case of retaliation." LeMaire v. State of
Louisiana, 480 F.3d 383, 388 (5th Cir. 2007). Then,
"the burden shifts to the employer to state a
legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for its decision."
Baker v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 430 F.3d 750, 754-55
(5th Cir. 2005) (internal quotations omitted). If the
employer states such a reason, "'any presumption of
retaliation drops from the case' and the burden shifts
back to the employee to show that the 'stated reason is
actually a pretext for retaliation.'" Id.
at 755 (quoting Septimus, 399 F.3d at 610-11).
first argues that Young cannot establish a prima facie case
of retaliation. To establish a prima facie case of
retaliation Young must show that: (1) she engaged in an
activity protected by Title VII; (2) she was subjected to an
adverse employment action; and (3) a causal link exists
between the protected activity and the adverse action.
LeMaire 480 F.3d at 388. It is clear that Young
engaged in a protected activity by reporting the sexual
harassment and that she suffered an adverse employment action
when she was terminated. Blauer argues that ...