United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
DIMENSIONS HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, Defendant.
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the
"EEOC" or "Commission"), initiated this
action on August 10, 2015, alleging that Defendant,
Dimensions Healthcare System ("Dimensions
Healthcare"), unlawfully discriminated against one of
its former employees on the basis of sex. See ECF
No. 1. The EEOC has filed two motions that are presently
pending before the Court: (1) a Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment on the issue of pre-suit conciliation, ECF No. 9,
and (2) a Motion to Strike portions of Dimensions
Healthcare's response in opposition to the EEOC's
Summary Judgment Motion, ECF No. 11. No hearing is necessary
to resolve these Motions. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md.). For the reasons that follow, the EEOC's Motions are
the pending Motions do not ask the Court to rule upon the
merits of this case, it is useful to begin with a review of
the relevant factual background that led to this action.
According to the Complaint, Cassandra Crawford, the
complainant, had been employed by Dimensions Healthcare as of
May 2007. ECF No. 1 at ¶7. In April 2012, Crawford was
promoted to a "Team Lead" position, in which she
oversaw and managed several team members and performed
various human resources tasks, including interviewing,
monitoring time issues. executing performance reviews, and
disciplining subordinates. Id. at ¶ 8.
took maternity leave between January and April of 2014.
Id. at ¶ 9. On or around October 14, 2014,
Crawford learned that Dimensions Healthcare had selected
Terraze Jones, who is characterized in the Complaint as a
"less experienced male, " for a promotion to the
manager position in the Patient Financial Services
Department. Id. at ¶ 10. Previously, Jones had
been Crawford's subordinate and had been disciplined by
her and others. Id. at ¶ 11. Crawford
complained to her supervisor upon learning of Jones's
promotion but was told that the decision was final.
Id. at ¶ 13. Crawford later met with Judy
Selvage, Dimensions Healthcare's Associate Vice President
and Director of the Patient Financial Services Department, to
discuss Jones's promotion. Id., at ¶ 14.
Selvage explained that, although Crawford was considered for
the position, Jones was selected instead because Crawford had
been "on maternity leave for a while." Id.
at ¶15. Shortly thereafter, Crawford resigned and filed
a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Id. at
¶¶ 6, 16; see also ECF No. 9-3.
11, 2015, the EEOC issued its written determination finding
that there was reasonable cause to believe that Dimensions
Healthcare discriminated against Crawford on the basis of her
sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e el seq. See
ECF No. 9-4. In that notice, the EEOC informed Dimensions
Healthcare that, upon such a finding, the EEOC "attempts
to eliminate the alleged unlawful practices by informal
methods of conciliation." Id. at
The notice further stated:
[T]he Commission now invites the parties to join with it in
reaching a just resolution of this matter. In this regard,
conciliation of this matter has now begun. Please be advised
that upon receipt of this finding, any reasonable offer to
resolve this matter will be considered. ... A [Commission
representative will prepare and monitor an actual dollar
amount to include accruing wage losses and attendant
benefits, with interest to date, any appropriate front pay;
and, if appropriate, attorney fees and costs which have
accrued to date. . . .
If [Dimensions Healthcare] declines to discuss settlement or
when, for any other reason, a settlement acceptable to the
[EEOC] office director is not obtained, the director will
inform [Dimensions Healthcare] of the court enforcement
alternatives available to the Commission.
to the EEOC, the EEOC and Dimensions Healthcare "engaged
in communications" between May 11, 2015 and July 7, 2015
in an effort to "provide [Dimensions Healthcare] the
opportunity to remedy the discrimination practices
described" in the EEOC's determination notice, and
that such communications included "sending [Dimensions
Healthcare] a conciliation proposal." ECF No. 9-2 at
¶ 6. Subsequent to these "communications, "
the EEOC issued a notice to Dimensions Healthcare on July 7,
2015, indicating that "efforts to conciliate this charge
have been unsuccessful" and that "further
conciliation efforts would be futile or nonproductive."
ECF No. 9-5.
EEOC then filed the instant lawsuit on August 10, 2015. ECF
No. 1. On October 9, 2015, Dimensions Healthcare filed an
Answer to the Complaint, in which it raised multiple
affirmative defenses, including that the EEOC's claims
are "barred to the extent it failed to properly
conciliate Crawford's charge of discrimination." ECF
No. 4 at 4. Dimensions Healthcare then filed an Amended
Answer on October 16, 2015, withdrawing its defense of
failure-to-conciliate. See ECF No. 7.
discovery was ongoing, the EEOC filed the instant Partial
Motion for Summary Judgment indicating that Dimensions
Healthcare has refused to stipulate that the EEOC has
fulfilled all conditions precedent to the filing of this
lawsuit. See ECF No. 9-1 at 3. Dimensions Healthcare
argues, however, that there remains a genuine dispute of
material fact as to whether the EEOC failed to properly
negotiate prior to initiating this action. See ECF
No. 10. The specifics of Dimensions Healthcare's
arguments regarding the conciliation process are the subject
of the EEOCs Motion to Strike. See ECF No. 11.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 56(c), summary judgment is proper 'if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any. show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law."' Celotex Corp. v.Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). The party moving for summary judgment bears the
burden of demonstrating that no genuine dispute exists as to
material facts. Pulliam Inv. Co. v.Cameo
Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). If the
moving party demonstrates that there is no evidence to
support the non-moving party's case, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to identify specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. When ruling on a motion
for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant
is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be
drawn in his favor." Anderson v. ...