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Myles-Anderson v. The Emmes Corp.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

March 3, 2017




         Plaintiff Tanesha Myles-Anderson ("Plaintiff" or "Myles-Anderson") brings smtpro se against her former employer, the EMMES Corporation ("Defendant" or "EMMES"), for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et set/., Md. Code. State Gov't § 20-606, and Montgomery Cty. Code § 27-19 arising from her November 7. 2013 termination. Plaintiff claims that her termination was in retaliation for her complaints of racial discrimination. Presently pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 18. Plaintiff has not responded to Defendant's Motion, and the lime for doing so has expired. See ECF No. 19. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the following reasons. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Tanesha Myles-Anderson was employed at the EMMES Corporation in Rockville. Maryland as an Office Services Manager from February 22. 2011 until November 7. 2013. ECF No. 18-1 at I.[1] Myles-Anderson is African American. ECF No. 1 ¶2. In her position as Office Services Manager. Myles-Anderson was responsible for various administrative tasks, including entering and maintaining new hire and employee information, ordering name plates and office supplies, and making presentations at new hire orientations. ECF No. 18-1 at 2: ECF No. 18-3 at 2.

         In July of 2013. Myles-Anderson received two emails from Brian Hochheimer. EMMES Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, expressing his displeasure with her lack of punctuality. ECF No. 18-1 at 2. According to Hochheime's email dated July 2, 2013. Mylcs-Anderson had arrived late to her portion of the new hire orientation presentation. ECF No. 18-7 at 2. Hochheimer told her. "[l]his is not acceptable. It is our first interaction with our new hires and we need to be on time." Id. Myles-Anderson received and acknowledged the email. Id.[2]On July 9. 2013. Hochheimer again emailed Myles-Anderson about arriving late. He staled. "On Monday, you were late arriving to work and late for orientation. In addition. 1 understand that not all the new hire badges were activated and ready to use. .. This is unexcusable.'" ECF No. 18-8 at 3. Myles-Anderson received and acknowledged this email. Id[3]Hochheimer issued a formal written warning to Myles-Anderson on July 10. 2013. citing her late arrivals and unsatisfactory attention to detail. ECF No. 18-9. She was warned that failure to correct these issues "may lead to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment." Id.

         Two months passed. On August 29. 2013. Myles-Anderson received a written warning from Facilities Manager Clay Edwards. ECF No. 18-10 at 2. Edwards stated that Plaintiff "continuc[d] to maintain individual employees'] information incorrectly. Over the last three days I have discovered and corrected approximately twenty employee entries which . . . had not been correctly administered." hi. Edwards further explained that "[y]our performance in this area has worked to undermine the efforts of this department and other EMMES staff." hi. Myles-Anderson was again cautioned that failure to correct these issues "may lead to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment." Id.

         On September 18. 2013. Myles-Anderson wrote a letter to Dr. Ann Lindblad. the President of EMMES. ECF No. 1 8-13 at 2. Myles-Anderson told Dr. Lindblad. "I feel as the new President of EMMF.S you need to be made aware of the behavior being exhibited by senior management and what I and others deem to be a 'hostile work environment/" hi. In the letter. Myles-Anderson complained primarily about '"harassment" from a receptionist. Rachel Simpson.[4] Myles-Anderson stated that Simpson was not reprimanded by the managers for this behavior, and she felt that "this was the culture and it[']s always ignored w[h]ere people of color are concerned. People of color are being held to a different set of unspoken rules and standards." hi. Additionally. Myles-Anderson claimed that Edwards and Hochheimer "have either observed or been made aware of this intolerant behavior and now my performance has been impacted." and that their "solution to this problem is to terminate my employment with EMMES." Id. Myles-Anderson reiterated that she felt bullied and asked Dr. Lindblad for support.

         Following this letter. Vice President of Human Resources Jennifer Hester engaged an outside investigator to investigate Myles-Anderson"s claims of discrimination. ECF No. 18-2 ¶ 3; ECF No. 18 at 4. According to Hester, the investigator interviewed eight witnesses, including Myles-Anderson. ECF No. 18-2 ¶ 4. Myles-Anderson "eventually identified [other] certain employees [of color]" who had been discriminated against, but "never provided any details or evidence supporting her allegations." Id. ¶ 6. After completion of the investigation, the investigator "found no evidence of unlawful conduct." Id. ¶ 7. The results of the investigation were shared with Myles-Anderson on October 25. 2013. Id. ¶ 8. Although the investigator concluded that hostilities existed between Myles-Anderson and other EMMES employees, none of them appeared to be racially-motivated. Id. EMMES did. however, take "corrective action against those named by Myles-Anderson who EMMES determined had not acted professionally." Id. ¶ 9. Sometime during the Fall of 2013. Myles-Anderson also filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, See Id. ¶ 11.[5] Defendant states that they were not aware that the EEOC charge had been filed until February 2014. Id.

         During this time. Myles-Anderson received two additional emails on September 26. 2013 and October 8. 2013 citing her performance issues. ECF No. 18-16 at 2; ECF No. 18-17 at 2. In these emails. Edwards informed Myles-Anderson that she had forgotten to order several name tags, causing issues for both the new hires and Edwards. Id. Edwards further stated that Myles-Anderson had failed to update an issue for an employee in the "issue tracker" and also failed to process an order for another employee before leaving work that day. ECF No. 18-16 at 2.

         On November 7. 2013. Myles-Anderson received notice of termination from EMMES. ECF No. 18-4 at 2. The letter cited several examples of "continued unsatisfactory work performance." including incomplete data entry, incorrect information posted to the Intranet, the misspelling of a new hire's name for his wall tag. and "failure to notify Network Services in a timely manner of new hire offer assignments." Id. The termination letter noted the repeated warnings bringing these issues to Myles-Anderson's attention, and the ultimate failure to improve her performance. Id.

         Myles-Anderson filed the instant Complaint in this Court on August 20, 2015. ECF No. 1. Myles-Anderson asserted claims under 1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 2) Md. Code. State Gov't § 20-606 (unlawful employment practices), and 3) Montgomery Cty. Code § 27-19 (discriminatory employment practices). ECF No. 1 at 2-3. Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on May 10. 2016. ECF No. 18. The Court sent a letter to Myles-Anderson. as a pro se plaintiff, informing her that a dispositive motion had been filed in her case, and advising her of her rights under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 and 56. ECF No. 19. To date. Plaintiff has not responded.


         The 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242. 248 (1986). A genuine issue over a material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In undertaking this inquiry, the Court must consider the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scotl v. Harris. 550 U.S. 372. 378 (2007). But this Court must also abide by its affirmative obligation to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from going to trial. Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993).

         The burden is on the moving party to show "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. However, no genuine issue of material fact exists if the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of his or her case as to which he or she would have the burden of proof." Benton v. Prince George'sCmty coll., No. CIV.A. DK.C 12-1577. 2013 WL 4501324, at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 21, 2013) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317. 322-23 (1986)). Thus, upon a motion for summary judgment, the opposing party "may not rest upon .. . mere allegations or denials." but rather, "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If the [opposing] party does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the [opposing] party." Tyler v. Prince ...

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