United States District Court, D. Maryland
Stephanie A. Gallagher United States District Judge
Eyad Asi (“Plaintiff”) filed a two-count Amended
Complaint against his former employer, Information Management
Group, Inc. (“IMG”), alleging retaliation for his
complaint of race discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 and Title VII. ECF 56. Discovery is now
concluded, and IMG has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment,
ECF 60, accompanied by a Memorandum of Law in Support
thereof, ECF 60-1 (collectively, “the Motion”). I
have reviewed the Motion, along with Plaintiff's
Opposition and Memorandum in Support, ECF 61, IMG's
Reply, ECF 70, and various supplemental filings 63, 67. No
hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). For the reasons that follow, I will grant
facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff,
the non-moving party. The United States Department of the Army
retained Absolute Business Solutions Corp.
(“ABS”) as a government contractor on the
Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Base
Contract (“the MAVNI contract”). ECF 61-1 at
13:22-14:9. The contract involved security vetting of foreign
nationals. Id. ABS entered into a subcontract with
IMG to staff some analyst positions on the MAVNI contract.
Id. at 15:12-20.
about April 12, 2017, IMG hired Plaintiff and assigned him to
work as an analyst on the MAVNI contract at Fort Meade,
Maryland. ECF 60-10. On or about May 15, 2017, Plaintiff and
other new analysts reported for training and processing,
which was largely led by ABS. ECF 60-3 at 37:10-38:17.
Plaintiff's job duties involved generating reports
pertaining to the MAVNI contract. Id. at 54:6-55:8.
Plaintiff's direct, on-site supervisors were ABS
employees. Id. at 58:3-22. Generally, analysts were
expected to produce two reports in an eight-hour workday, and
IMG did not permit analysts to work overtime without first
meeting that quota. See, e.g., ECF 60-4; see
also ECF 60-3 at 54:6-55:8. ABS sent reminders to the
analysts reiterating that performance standard. ECF 60-3 at
November 7, 2017, the site lead, Matthew Rice, sent an email
to other supervisors, in which he stated that, “Eyad
meets all product expectations.” ECF 61-3. In February,
2018, IMG provided its six employees working on the MAVNI
contract with gift bags. ECF 67-1 at 2. IMG sought ABS's
insight into how IMG's analysts were performing on the
contract, as IMG wished to include gift cards in each bag
“commensurate with [ABS's] response to this
inquiry.” Id. Based on ABS's response,
three IMG-employed analysts received a $100 gift card;
Plaintiff received a $50 gift card; and two other
IMG-employed analysts received no gift card. Id.
Monday, March 5, 2018, the ABS Program Manager, Sam
Caltagerone, sent an email to Plaintiff and the other
analysts on the project, describing the prior week's
unsatisfactory performance. ECF 60-5. Caltagerone lamented
that even with overtime hours, the aggregate production total
for the week remained nearly 100 reports short of the
expected number. Id. All analysts were warned that
the supervisory staff would be monitoring their daily
production, to enforce the expected quota. Id.
ninety minutes after Caltagerone's email was sent,
Plaintiff emailed the Human Resources (HR) directors for IMG
and ABS, alleging discrimination by several ABS and
government employees. ECF 60-6. Plaintiff stated that he had
reported the issues to management, but no consequences had
accrued to the employees he complained about. Id. at
1-2. Plaintiff asserted that the discriminatory actions by
his coworkers and supervisors had led the government lead to
question his ability to do his job. Id. at 2. He
further alleged that neither IMG nor ABS had taken action to
protect him from harassing conduct, noting that he felt like
other employees were trying to get him fired. Id.
Also on March 5, 2018, Steve Walter, an Operations Manager at
IMG, wrote an initial write-up describing Plaintiff's
discrimination complaint, in which he noted that “Sam
[Caltagerone] said that Eyad is not in any scrutiny or is in
jeopardy of being removed from contract so I don't know
where his claims of [racial and ethnic discrimination] came
from.” ECF 61-4.
next day, March 6, 2018, Walter met with Plaintiff to discuss
his allegations. ECF 61-2 at 200:20-201:8, 202:7-9. Two days
later, on March 8, 2018, Walter emailed Plaintiff:
I hope you are doing well. I wanted to thank you for meeting
with me on Tuesday to discuss your concern. I hope that the
removal of Mr. Clark from your floor has resolved your
concern and you are now able to conduct your duties without
issue. If you need anything else, please do not hesitate
60-7. Plaintiff was not sure whether he responded, but he
acknowledged that, at that point, he could conduct his duties
without issue. ECF 60-3 at 154:18-155:10.
ABS's view, however, Plaintiff continued to perform at a
subpar level. According to Caltagerone, “between 1 and
14 March, Plaintiff completed 10 reports of which two were
returned by the government reviewer for missing information.
During this period, he should have completed 25 reports based
off the 102.5 hours he billed to the government.” ECF
60-8 at 1. On March 14, 2018, Caltagerone emailed Duane
Walther (a supervisor at ABS) and said,
I directed Steve Walter from IMG to remove Eyad from
contract. He has charged 34 hours this week and only produced
3 Phase 5 ASRs. From the hours he worked, he should have
completed at least 8 Phase 5 ASRs. This is not the first time
I spoke to Steve regarding Eyad's production performance,
the last time he worked 56 hours and only produced 4 Phase 5
60-9 at 1. Plaintiff's employment offer from IMG had
specified that if he were denied access to the customer's
facility, his employment could be terminated for cause. ECF
60-10; ECF 60-11, ¶ 3. After ABS denied Plaintiff access
to the facility where the MAVNI ...