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LeDoux v. Golden Nugget Lake Charles LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

February 27, 2017

BRANDI LEDOUX
v.
GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES LLC

          KAY, MAG. JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          JAMES T. TRIMBLE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the court is "Golden Nugget Lake Charles, L.L.C's Motion for Summary Judgment" (R. #24) wherein defendant, Golden Nugget Lake Charles, L.LC. ("Golden Nugget") moves to dismiss all of plaintiff's claims with prejudice.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Plaintiff, Brandi LeDoux, was employed by Golden Nugget as a Surveillance Supervisor from September 15, 2014 until December 22, 2014. On or about October 12, 2014, Ms. LeDoux complained to the Golden Nugget Human Resources department that her supervisor, Mr. Lafary listened to two inappropriate comedy routines on his phone while they were in the surveillance monitor room together. Golden Nugget investigated the complaint. Ms. LeDoux never asked Mr. Lafary to turn off the videos, nor did she tell him the videos were offensive. After the investigation, Mr. Lafary was counseled, given a final warning and suspended without pay for three (3) days.

         On December 1, 2014, Ms. LeDoux complained to Human Resources that Mr. Lafary was undermining her authority and treating her differently from other employees by not calling her by name and/or saying "hello." Later in December 2014, Ms. LeDoux was denied a request for additional time off during the holidays. Ms. LeDoux resigned her employment on December 22, 2014. In January 2015, Ms. LeDoux inquired about another position, but was informed that only front line positions were available.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, indicate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[1] A fact is "material" if its existence or nonexistence "might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law."[2] A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.[3] As to issues which the non-moving party has the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy this burden by demonstrating the absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's claim."[4] Once the movant makes this showing, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.[5] The burden requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings. The non-moving party must demonstrate by way of affidavit or other admissible evidence that there are genuine issues of material fact or law.[6] There is no genuine issue of material fact if, viewing the evidence in the light more favorable to the non-moving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for the non-moving party.[7] If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.[8]

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         The Golden Nugget maintains that Ms. LeDoux cannot meet her burden to show a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Specifically, the Golden Nugget asserts that Ms. LeDoux does not have an actionable claim and her state law claims are prescribed. Consequently, the Golden Nugget argues that plaintiff's claims must be dismissed.

         In her complaint, Ms. LeDoux asserts that she was discriminated against and harassed, and after she reported the incident, she was retaliated against and then constructively discharged. Title VII prohibits sexual harassment that takes the form of a tangible employment action, such as a demotion or denial of promotion, or the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment.[9] To establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment, she must show that (1) she belongs to a protected class; (2) she was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment; (3) the harassment was based on sex; (4) the harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of employment.

         The Golden Nugget maintains that even though Ms. LeDoux is a member of a protected class, she was not subjected to sexual harassment, the incident involving Mr. Lafary was not based on sex, and it did not affect a term or condition of her employment.

         The Golden Nugget maintains that the videos were not meant to harass Ms. LeDoux and furthermore, Mr. Lafary asked Ms. LeDoux if the videos offended her to which she responded that they did not.[10]

         The Golden Nugget asserts that no term or condition of Ms. LeDoux's employment was affected by the incident. To affect "a term, condition, or privilege of employment, 'sexual harassment must be sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment.'"[11] Whether a work environment is abusive or hostile depends on a totality of the circumstances, "including such factors as: (1) the frequency of the conduct; (2) its severity; (3) the degree to which the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating; and (4) the degree to which the conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance."[12] The conduct must be both "objectively offensive, meaning that a reasonable person would find it hostile and abusive, and subjectively offensive, meaning that the victim perceived it to be so.[13] The finding of a sexually hostile work ...


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