United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Stewart United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. Defendant seeks summary judgment on
Plaintiff's first cause of action. For the reasons
discussed below, the Court will deny the Motion.
began to work for Defendant in 2011 as a marketing specialist
at Defendant's Park City store. In 2013, Plaintiff began
working as a marketing specialist at Defendant's Trolley
Square store. Plaintiff was promoted to the role of front-end
team leader in April 2014. Plaintiff had never before worked
in the front-end department and had not held a position
similar to that of front-end team leader. However, she had
been encouraged by others to move into a leadership position
based on her relationships with the store's employees,
the customers, and the community.
becoming the front-end team leader, Plaintiff was to be
trained by her supervisor. However, soon after she started in
this position, her supervisor passed away. As a result,
Plaintiff received little training on how to perform certain
job duties and had to rely on others who similarly lacked the
requisite knowledge. Early in her tenure as front-end team
leader, Plaintiff was the subject of a number of complaints
from her subordinates. Those complaints were attributed to
Plaintiff's lack of proper training.
September 2014, Beverly Stoddard became the Store Team
Leader. Soon after she started, Ms. Stoddard received several
complaints about Plaintiff. Plaintiff was suspended pending
an investigation into these complaints. After the
investigation concluded, Plaintiff was allowed to return to
work and placed on final warning status.
Plaintiff returned, she was provided training at a store in
Colorado. After receiving that training, things improved.
Plaintiff was making progress and even those who were
previously critical of her performance stated she was doing a
good job. Both her supervisor, Ms. Stoddard, and her
subordinate, Sean Rogan, confirmed that Plaintiff's
performance was much improved after she received the proper
this improved performance, Plaintiff was terminated in
January 2015 for her conduct during a gift card promotion
that Defendant concluded “violates the integrity of our
brought suit on January 25, 2016. Plaintiff brings claims of
race discrimination and retaliation.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate “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.” In considering whether a genuine dispute
of material fact exists, the Court determines whether a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party in the face of all the evidence
presented. The Court is required to construe all
facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party.
first cause of action is a claim for race discrimination.
Defendant's Motion focuses on that part of
Plaintiff's claim related to her termination. Generally,
to establish a prima facie case of termination on the basis
of race, Plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) she was a
member of a protect class; (2) she was qualified and
satisfactorily performing her job; and (3) she was terminated
under circumstances giving rise to an inference of
discrimination. The burden imposed on Plaintiff at the
prima facie stage is not onerous.
Motion focuses on the second element. To meet this element,