LABRITTANY K. HASSEN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
RUSTON LOUISIANA HOSPITAL COMPANY, L.L.C., doing business as Northern Louisiana Medical Center, Defendant-Appellee.
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Louisiana.
KING, SMITH, and WILLETT, Circuit Judges.
WILLETT, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Title VII race-discrimination case, LaBrittany Hassen
contends that Ruston Louisiana Hospital denied her a
full-time nurse position and later fired her from her
part-time position because she's black. The district
court granted summary judgment to the hospital, concluding
that Hassen failed to satisfy the McDonnell Douglas
burden-shifting framework. We AFFIRM.
Hassen worked at a large hospital called the Northern
Louisiana Medical Center as a PRN nurse. "PRN"
stands for "pro re nata"-a Latin phrase, which
(roughly translated) means "in the
circumstances." In other words, PRN nurses are as-needed
workers. Although Hassen had applied for a PRN
position, she had also applied for a full-time position. But
the hospital interviewed and hired her only as a PRN. This
was in February 2012.
same day, the hospital hired two full-time nurses with less
experience than Hassen. One had no nursing experience; and
the other had graduated only one year before with merely a
temporary license. Hassen, on the other hand, had graduated
from nursing school three years before and had her full
license. Even so, all three nurses had the same duties.
reason for these hiring decisions? Hassen says that it's
because she's black, whereas the two full-time nurses are
months after starting work, Hassen saw notices for two
full-time vacancies. She approached her supervisor about the
positions, but her supervisor replied that Hassen wasn't
qualified. So Hassen didn't apply.
Hassen alleges that the hospital fired her because of her
race. What happened was this: In the summer of 2012, Hassen
told her supervisor that she had accepted a full-time nursing
position elsewhere. In response, the hospital fired her. The
hospital prefers the phrase "purging" for removing
a PRN from the work pool. Whatever the term, Hassen ascribes
her termination to race discrimination. The hospital disputes
hospital says that Hassen's hours at her new full-time
job directly conflicted with the only shifts available to PRN
nurses. The hospital also underscores that it told Hassen
that she remained "eligible for re-hire" if she
applied. And the hospital stresses that Hassen never applied
timely filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. The
EEOC found "reasonable cause to believe" that the
hospital violated Title VII. Unable to settle with the
hospital, the EEOC ended its investigation and issued Hassen
a right-to-sue letter. Off to federal court.
Hassen didn't fare well there. Applying the McDonnell
Douglas framework,  the district court granted the
hospital's summary-judgment motion, dismissing the suit
with prejudice. The court held that Hassen had made a prima
facie case that the hospital didn't hire her for a
full-time position, but that she failed to show that the
hospital's stated explanation was mere pretext. The court
also held that Hassen failed to make a prima facie case that
her firing was improper. But the court held that even if she
had, she still failed to show that the hospital's
justification was mere pretext.
for assessing summary judgment are well settled. A district
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." We review a grant of summary judgment de
novo, applying the same standard as the district
court. But we view the evidence and draw all
justifiable inferences in favor of the
nonmovant. Even so, barebones, conclusory, or
otherwise-unsupported assertions won't cut
the nonmovant "must go beyond the pleadings and come
forward with specific facts indicating a genuine issue for
here-a plaintiff proffers circumstantial evidence of
discrimination, the plaintiff must satisfy the Supreme
Court's McDonnell Douglas
framework. It's a three-part burden-shifting
scheme. As we recently explained in Morris, the
framework first requires the plaintiff to establish a prima
facie case of discrimination. To do that, the plaintiff must
1. She's a member of a protected group;
2. She was qualified for the position at issue;
3. The employer fired her or took some adverse employment
4. The employer replaced her with someone outside the
protected group or treated her less favorably than other
similarly situated employees outside the protected
the burden shifts to the defendant. The defendant must
"articulate a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for
the adverse employment action." If the defendant does,
the burden shifts back to the plaintiff, who must offer
evidence that the employer's reason was mere
the parties don't dispute the first two prima facie
elements. Hassen is black, a protected class. And she holds a
nursing degree. The hospital doesn't challenge her
qualifications. We first decide ...