United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING  MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND FINDING MOOT  MOTION FOR PARTIAL
Nuffer United States District Judge.
Juanita Bushman alleges various incidents of religious
harassment, religious disparate treatment, and retaliation
pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”) over a nearly three-year
period. Defendant Utah Valley University
(“UVU”) moves for summary judgment. Bushman responded
in only partial opposition to the motion. UVU replied in
support of the Motion.
Motion is GRANTED because Bushman concedes summary judgment
is appropriate for her harassment and disparate
treatment claims and fails to raise a genuine issue of
material fact for her retaliation claim.
summary judgment is granted on all claims, UVU's motion
for partial summary judgment is MOOT.
following undisputed material facts are a reconciliation of
the statement of material facts within the Motion,
Opposition, and Reply.
Bushman submitted three specific occasions when she believes
that then-fellow employee, Laura McCullough, made offensive
religious comments. The three incidents listed by Bushman
occurred on October 27, 2010, September 22, 2011, and October
Bushman alleged other conversations between her and Laura
McCullough in which McCullough expressed her dislike of, and
displeasure with, the Mormon religion and culture. These
allegations are not specific as to date or content, they are
vague in nature, were not written down or recorded by
Bushman, and the religious comments seem to have been made in
the course of ordinary conversations, often in large
Bushman's reaction to McCullough's opinion of the
Mormon religion and Bushman's description of the
conversations as harassment are highly subjective. Bushman
believes that one negative comment about her religion, even
when made during a conversation about religion, is
of the comments made by McCullough which Bushman complains
about, were made when McCullough was an advisor, a co-worker
with Bushman, and before McCullough became Bushman's
supervisor with authority.
Laura McCullough was appointed as the coordinating manager of
the Academic Advisement Center with limited authority in
October 2011. Her role was to coordinate and advise Associate
Dean Bule (Bule) who retained supervisory authority. She did
not have performance evaluation or disciplinary
Bushman complained to HR about McCullough's religious
statements in February 2012.
of the religious comments stopped after Bushman complained to
the University and the University counseled
Laura McCullough was given full supervisory authority over
the Academic Advisement Center, including performance
management and disciplinary authority over the other
counselors, on March 29, 2012.
April 26, 2012, Bushman was issued a Written Warning by her
supervisor Laura McCullough, Associate Dean Bule, and HR
representative Kurt Ashworth.
Prior to the Written Warning being issued Laura McCullough
consulted with HR and with Dean Dayley and Associate Dean
Bule who concurred in the action and who participated in the
preparation of the Written Warning and the presentation of
the Written Warning to Bushman.
Written Warning was based on what the University personnel
perceived as a historical lack of cooperation with other
counselors and not being a team player, causing negative
atmosphere and tension. It was also based on complaints from
students, a complaint from the IT department for which
Bushman rejected responsibility, poor student evaluations,
and resistance to training from HR.
July 9, 2012, Bushman was issued a Final Written Warning in
lieu of termination.
Although the Final Written Warning was signed by Laura
McCullough, it was presented to Bushman by Dean Dayley and
the head of HR, Vice President Ronald Price. The Final
Written Warning was prepared by McCullough, and HR, including
Price and Ashworth in consultation with Dean Dayley, starting
in June 2012.
Final Written Warning was triggered by what University
personnel perceived as plaintiff's insubordination,
calling her supervisor a liar and of low character during a
counseling session with an HR representative, and by what
University personnel perceived as Bushman's continued
resistance to counseling and refusal to accept any
responsibility for the problems she was
Laura McCullough left the University on October 19,
only disciplinary actions Laura McCullough took against
Bushman were the Written Warning and the Final Written
August 7, 2013, Bushman's employment with the University
was terminated by her supervisor Associate Dean Bule with the
full support of Dean Dayley and the concurrence of University
Vice President Wilson.
Prior to terminating Bushman, Steve Bule consulted with HR
and the Dean of the School of Arts, who concurred in the
termination was supported by numerous incidents and
complaints which had occurred after the departure of Laura
McCullough from the University, including what various
University personnel perceived as Bushman's continued
antagonistic attitude and behavior, complaints from the
School of Music, the result of an accreditation evaluation
that reflected negatively on Bushman, complaints from
students, and the departure of yet another
Before approving the decision to terminate Bushman, Dean
Dayley met with Bushman in March 2013 and in July 2013.
Bushman refused to accept any responsibility.
Dean Dayley conducted an investigation and interviewed all
staff members, including Bushman, before approving the
Bushman did not believe she was the cause of the
interpersonal problems in the Advisement
Bushman admits that no one else at the University harassed
her based on her religion, discriminated against her based on
her religion, or retaliated against her for reporting Laura
McCullough to HR. Specifically, Bushman admits that no one in
HR and no one in the School of Arts was involved in religious
harassment, discrimination or retaliation, including Dean
Dayley, Associate Dean Bule, Mark Wiesenberg (HR), Kurt
Ashworth (HR), Vice president Ron Price (HR), Vice President
Wilson, Music Chair Fairbanks, Professor Smith, Professor
Nelson, Secretary Paula Nye, and the co-workers, fellow
counselors who worked in the Center, including Christine
Daoust, Rae Ann Ellis, Melissa Eiche, and Audrey
Bushman admits that Dean Dayley and Steve Bule, both of whom
were decision makers in each of the warnings and the
termination decision, are, like Bushman, both Latter-Day
Bushman admits she has no direct evidence to support her
only evidence Bushman cites in support of her retaliation
claim is the timing of the Written Warning Bushman received
from her supervisor Laura McCullough, Associate Dean Bule,
and HR representative Kurt Ashworth.
Bushman complains that she was excluded from conversations
and other activities, including not being invited to lunch,
but admits she was never denied any benefits of employment,
pay raises, promotion, or prevented from attending employment
connected meetings such as The Learning Circle.