United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE DISTRICT JUDGE
Ava Floyd (“Floyd”), pro se, has sued
Defendants Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
(“WSSC”) and Jerry N. Johnson
“Defendants”) as a result of the termination of
her employment by WSSC and its failure to select her for an
interview for a new position. Floyd originally filed two
separate complaints against Defendants in state court,
asserting: retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 against WSSC, wrongful termination against
WSSC and Johnson, and race, sex, and national origin-based
discrimination against WSSC. After Defendants removed both
Complaints to this Court, the Court consolidated the actions.
The Court considers Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment as to all claims. ECF No. 56. For the following
reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 56) is GRANTED.
are the undisputed facts.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
was created by the Maryland General Assembly “to
provide public water and sewer service to the residents of
Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties within
Maryland.” Bushek v. Washington Suburban Sanitary
Comm’n, 155 F.Supp.2d 478, 481 (D. Md. 2001). It
is one of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the
United States. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Mem. Supp. 2, ECF
No. 56-1. Johnson, an African-American male, is WSSC’s
General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. Id. 14
maintains policies promoting equal employment
opportunity and opposing workplace harassment,
retaliation, and other forms of employment
discrimination. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 1, ECF No.
56-2, and Ex. 2, ECF No. 56-3. WSSC has a procedure to
enforce these policies, called its EEO, Harassment and
Retaliation Internal Complaint Procedure. Defs.’ Mot.
Summ. J., Ex. 3, ECF No. 56-4.
Ava Floyd’s WSSC Employment
an African-American female, worked for WSSC between September
2007 and June 2013. Am. Compl., Civ. No. PJM 14-1751
(hereinafter “Compl. II”) at 2:3-5, ECF No. 4;
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 5, ECF No. 56-6, and Ex. 21;
Defs.’ Mot. Summ., Ex. 21, ECF No. 56-22. She was hired
as a Business Technology Analyst III (“BTA”)
within WSSC’s Engineering and Construction Group.
Compl. II at 2:3-5; Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 5.
employed by WSSC, Floyd filed several discrimination claims,
both internally and with the United States Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
about January 14, 2008,  Floyd filed a Charge of Discrimination
against WSSC with the EEOC, alleging that she had been the
subject of race and sex discrimination by Paul Coverstone
(“Coverstone”),  then Acting Chief Information
Officer for WSSC, and Jeffrey Golden (“Golden”),
Application Development Division Manager at WSSC.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 6, ECF No. 56-7. On February
28, 2011, the EEOC informed Floyd that it was unable to
conclude that her charge established a violation of the law,
and issued her a right to sue letter. Defs.’ Mot. Summ.
J., Ex. 7, ECF No. 56-8.
February 2, 2009 and February 12, 2009, Floyd filed three
separate Internal Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) Complaints with WSSC’s Office of
Fair Practices (“FPO”). Defs.’ Mot. Summ.
J., Ex. 8, ECF No. 56-9. These complaints made various claims
of discrimination based on gender, color, and race against
Coverstone, Golden, and Sonla Shaw (“Shaw”),
Division Manager. Id. On May 12, 2009, the FPO
informed Floyd that it found her allegations to be
unsupported. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 9, ECF No.
WSSC’s “One IT” Plan of
September 2011, WSSC announced a “One IT” Plan of
Reorganization, which was a consolidation and restructuring
of all of its Information Technology (“IT”)
positions. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 10, ECF No. 56-11.
This plan was to be implemented in several phases, during
which all IT positions were either to be relocated to a new
department or eliminated. See Id. In a meeting that
month, Johnson, Yvonne McKinney (“McKinney”),
WSSC Human Resources Director, and Mujib Lodhi
(“Lodhi”), WSSC IT Chief Information Officer,
notified Floyd and other BTAs that their positions would be
eliminated. Compl. II 12:4-5. All, Floyd included, were
encouraged to apply for other IT positions within WSSC.
April 17, 2012, Floyd applied for the position of Senior
Manager, Systems Acquisition and Process Engineering
(hereinafter the “Senior Manager Position”).
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 11, ECF No. 56-12. She did
not apply for any other positions within WSSC. Defs.’
Mot. Summ. J., Mem. Supp. 4. The Senior Manager Position
involved several leadership responsibilities, including
supervising a number of employees and managing system
acquisition plans and processing. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J.,
Ex. 12, ECF No. 56-13.
persons applied for the Senior Manager Position, including
Floyd: seven external to WSSC and three internal employees.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 13, ECF No. 56-14. In the
hiring process, WSSC used a point system to evaluate each
applicant’s background, skills, and expertise
(hereinafter the “Scoring Sheet”). Id.
Applicants could earn points in each of the following
categories: “BS [Bachelor of Science] degree” (up
to 5 points); “10 yrs IT experience” (up to 5
points); “3 yrs Technology Mgt. [experience]” (up
to 5 points); “Large-scale systems acquisitions
[experience]” (up to 10 points); “BPR &
Systems Requirements [experience]” (up to 10 points);
“Enterprise systems/applications lifecycle [experience]
“(up to 10 points); “MS [Masters] degree”
(up to 5 points); Water/Wastewater Utility [experience] w/
operational systems” (up to 5 points); and
“Oracle applications Suite [experience]” (up to 5
of three WSSC employees (the “Interview Panel”)
evaluated the applications: Coverstone, Shaw, and Troy
Wilkerson, an African-American male. Defs.’ Mot. Summ.
J., Ex. 19, ECF No. 56-20.
total, Floyd earned 35 out of 65 possible points on the
Scoring Sheet. Six of the nine applicants scored higher than
she, one scored the same as she did, and one scored lower.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 13. Floyd’s score
suffered because she did not earn any points for two of the
specialized technology experience categories:
“Large-scale systems acquisitions [experience], ”
and “Enterprise systems/applications lifecycle
[experience].” Id. The Comments by the
Interview Panel with respect to Floyd’s application
specifically state: “Lack of experience on acquisition
process and technology management experience.”
around July 2012, the Interview Panel designated for
interview four out of the six applicants who scored higher
than Floyd. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 14, ECF No.
56-15. Three out of the four interviewees were Caucasian and
three were male. Id. Michael Price, an
African-American male, was the highest-rated applicant after
the interview, and WSSC ultimately hired him for the Senior
Manager Position on or about September 10, 2012. Defs.’
Mot. Summ. J., Mem. Supp. 5.
October 3, 2012, Floyd sought to appeal the selection of the
Senior Manager Position, Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 16,
ECF No. 56-17, but on October 19, 2012, WSSC denied the
appeal, Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 17, ECF No. 56-18.
November 8, 2012, Floyd filed another internal EEO Complaint
as a result of not being interviewed for the Senior Manager
Position. Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 18, ECF No. 56-19.
The FPO found the EEO Complaint to be unsubstantiated.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 19, ECF No. 56-20.
about May 31, 2013, WSSC placed Floyd on administrative leave
until June 29, 2013, when her position would be abolished
pursuant to the “One IT” Plan of Reorganization.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 20, ECF No. 56-21. WSSC gave
Floyd twelve weeks of severance pay until September 22, 2013.
Defs.’ Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 21, ECF No. 56-22.
her position was abolished, Floyd filed another EEOC
Complaint. On January 31, 2014, the EEOC informed her that it
was unable to conclude that Floyd’s charge established
a violation of the law, and she was issued a right to sue
letter. Compl. II, Ex. 4 at 25.
about May 1, 2014, Floyd filed two separate complaints
(“Complaint I” and “Complaint II”) in
the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County related to
her employment at WSSC and her eventual termination. WSSC
removed both cases to this Court on May 30, 2014. They were
docketed as separate cases, Civ. No. PJM 14-1749 (Complaint
I) and Civ. No. PJM 14-1751 (Complaint II).
Complaint I, which she originally styled as a “Class
Action Complaint, ” Floyd brings claims against WSSC
for Violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
as amended (Count 1); Unlawful Employment Practices (Count
2); and what she fashions as “Race, Sex, and National
Origin Based Employment Discrimination” (Count 3).
Specifically, Floyd alleges that WSSC did not comply with its
own Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Right Policies.
She also alleges that the Interview Panel discriminated
against her in connection the Scoring Sheet used in its
hiring process. In Complaint II, Floyd brings claims of
retaliation against WSSC (Count 1) and wrongful termination
(Count 2) against both individual Defendants. These claims
are based largely on the same factual predicate present in
March 27, 2015, WSSC filed a Motion for Order Denying Class
Certification with respect to Complaint I. Civ. No. PJM
14-1749, ECF No. 28. On June 1, 2015, Floyd filed a Notice of
Dismissal with respect to Complaint I. Civ. No. PJM 14-1749,
ECF No. 35.
21, 2015, the Court consolidated Floyd’s lawsuits
(hereinafter, the “Consolidated Complaints”),
designating Civ. No. PJM 14-1749 as the Lead Case. ECF No.
42. Since Complaint I included not only purported class
allegations but also Floyd’s individual ...