United States District Court, D. Maryland
XINIS United States District Judge.
before the court are cross motions for summary judgment. ECF
Nos. 37 & 39. Plaintiff Loretta Cox (“Cox”)
filed suit against her former employer, the U.S. Postal
Service Federal Credit Union (“the Credit
Union”), alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-3, in connection with her termination from
employment. In a previous ruling, the Court
dismissed all but Cox’s retaliation claim under Title
VII against the Credit Union. ECF No. 22. With regard to the
retaliation claim, discovery has closed, and the parties have
fully briefed the issues. The court now rules pursuant to
Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. For the
reasons stated below, the Credit Union’s motion will be
GRANTED and Cox’s motion will be DENIED.
Undisputed Material Facts
following facts are undisputed and material to the
Court’s determination. Cox, an African-American woman,
was employed by the Credit Union, a financial cooperative
that provides loans and other financial services to employees
of the United States Postal Service. The Credit Union hired
Cox as a “Personal Service Representative I” in
2007. See ECF No. 18-9; ECF No. 42-6 at 6-7. By the
time of her discharge, she had been promoted to Personal
Service Representative II, and was trained to counsel members
of the Credit Union, research accounts, and process new
loans. ECF No. 42-6 at 7.
Credit Union requires employees who are also members of the
Credit Union to maintain their accounts in accordance with
the Credit Union’s policies and procedures. ECF No.
37-3 at 21; ECF No. 42-6 at 14-17. These policies prohibit
any fraud or dishonesty on the part of employees,
manipulation of loan accounts or records, and “check
kiting.” ECF No. 37-3 at 30. The mechanics of check
kiting are the writing of a check on an account without
adequate funds, then depositing the check and withdrawing
funds before the check has “cleared.” Checks are,
in other words, misused as a form of unauthorized credit or
Credit Union is a member of the National Credit Union
Administration, which “requires bond coverage be
maintained on all employees of a federal credit union.”
ECF No. 42-5 at 5; ECF No. 37-3 at 3. CUNA Mutual Group
(“CUNA Mutual”), as the issuer of the bond for
the Credit Union, requires that the Credit Union notify CUNA
Mutual of any dishonest or fraudulent act committed by an
employee such as Cox. CUNA Mutual then determines whether it
will maintain fidelity bond coverage for the employee in
question. Pursuant to the National Credit Union
Administration’s Rules and Regulations, all Credit
Union employees must maintain fidelity bond eligibility as a
condition of employment. ECF No. 37-3 at 3; ECF No. 39-7.
Credit Union routinely audits employee financial accounts at
random, and Cox’s personal financial account was
selected for this review in December of 2012. ECF No. 37-4 at
2. During this audit, the Credit Union uncovered evidence of
suspected check kiting. Id. at 2, 7-23. The Credit
Union then more fully investigated Cox’s suspicious
transactions during the months of January and February 2013.
this investigation, Senior Credit Union staff met with Cox
twice on February 12 and 13, 2013, and requested that Cox
provide the Credit Union with her financial account
statements to demonstrate that she had sufficient funds in
her accounts and thus had not engaged in check kiting. ECF
No. 37-6 at 40-48; ECF No. 37-3 at 52-54. Cox refused to
produce her financial statements both times. Id.
February 6, 2013, Cox participated in a sales and service
meeting with other Personal Representative I and II employees
at the Credit Union. At some point during this meeting, Steve
Cimino, the Credit Union’s Executive Vice President,
stated that he would like the Personal Representatives to
generate more loans. Cox responded that the Credit Union
could generate more loans if it allowed more Credit Union
officers to approve the loans. At that time, of the three
available loan officers, only one, an African American woman,
was actually approving loans. ECF No. 37-6 at 25-26.
Cox testified at her deposition that she told those at the
meeting “I know we need more people to approve loans.
You have Rita and Sue that are able to approve loans, but you
only have Connie approving loans.” ECF No. 37-6 at 25.
However, Cox admitted that she never mentioned the race of
any loan officers at all during this meeting. ECF No. 37-6 at
32. Also, those responsible for investigating Cox’s
suspected check kiting did not attend the February 6 meeting
and were unaware of the comments Cox made during that
meeting. ECF No. 37-4 at 4.
little more than a week later, on February 14, 2013, the
Credit Union placed Cox on paid administrative leave and
reported Cox’s financial activity to CUNA Mutual as
required under the terms of its fidelity bond agreement. ECF
No. 37-3 at 64. On March 4, 2013, CUNA Mutual terminated
Cox’s fidelity bond coverage. No. 37-3 at 79-81. Cox
appealed CUNA Mutual’s decision twice, submitting
information that, in her view, demonstrated she was not check
kiting. CUNA Mutual denied Cox’s appeals and refused to
reinstate her under the fidelity bond. ECF No. 37-3 at
123-69. The Credit Union then terminated Cox on April 17,
2013 pursuant its bond agreement with CUNA Mutual and
National Credit Union Administration requirements.
See ECF No. 37-3 at 171-72.
filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) on June 20, 2013, and was
issued a right to sue letter on August 29, 2014. She
subsequently filed her Complaint in this Court on November
26, 2014. ECF No. 1.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
may enter summary judgment only if there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986); Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th
Cir. 2008). Summary judgment is inappropriate if any material
factual issue “may reasonably be resolved in favor of
either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); JKC Holding Co. LLC
v. Washington Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465
(4th Cir. 2001).
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of [his] pleadings, ’ but rather must
‘set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.’” Bouchat v.
Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522
(4th Cir. 2003) (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). “A
mere scintilla of proof . . . will not suffice to prevent
summary judgment.” Peters v. Jenney, 327 F.3d
307, 314 (4th Cir. 2003). “If the evidence is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted.” Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 249-50 (citations omitted). At the ...