United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the defendant's motion to dismiss for
failure to prosecute. For the reasons that follow, the motion
to dismiss is DENIED without prejudice, but insofar as the
motion may be construed as a motion to compel arbitration,
the motion is GRANTED and the case is hereby stayed, again,
Title VII lawsuit arises from allegations by a former bus
driver at Isidore Newman School that she was discriminated
against and subject to a hostile work environment based on
her sex and that she was fired in retaliation for reporting
this conduct to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
factual summary is drawn from the plaintiff's state court
petition. In October 2013, Bertha Mitchell worked as the only
female bus driver for Newman. Her immediate supervisor was
Jeffrey Wilson, and Wilson's immediate supervisor was
her first week of work, Mr. Wilson “brushed his hand
against [Ms. Mitchell's] breasts at least two to three
times.” By the third time, Ms. Mitchell was upset and
uncomfortable and told him “you keep hitting my
breasts.” He stopped. But, on later occasions, Wilson
“would intentionally brush up against [Ms. Mitchell]
while reaching for things on a bus instead of asking her to
move out of the way.” Mr. Wilson made inappropriate
remarks to Ms. Mitchell. Mr. Wilson regularly called Ms.
Mitchell pet names like “honey” and “baby,
” yet he called male employees by their given names.
Ms. Mitchell asked Mr. Wilson to keep his interactions with
her professional, and asked to be called either Bertha or Ms.
Wilson regularly asked Ms. Mitchell why she was not married,
and told her he was looking for a wife. Mr. Wilson did not
ask male employees about their marital status or dating life.
When Ms. Mitchell told Mr. Wilson on one occasion that she
could not get to work for 5:00 a.m. because the City buses
would not be running that early, Mr. Wilson invited her to
spend the night at his house. Mr. Wilson followed Ms.
Mitchell around Newman campus, and regularly called Ms.
Mitchell's cell phone unnecessarily.
Mitchell met with Mr. Hill on several occasions to discuss
Mr. Wilson's inappropriate behavior. On January 9, 2015,
Ms. Mitchell complained in writing to Mr. Hill about Mr.
Wilson's sexually harassing behavior and Mr. Hill's
tacit approval of it. A meeting was convened among Mr. Hill,
Mr. Wilson, and Ms. Mitchell. Mr. Hill told Mr. Wilson to
stop calling Ms. Mitchell pet names.
thereafter, Mr. Wilson placed garbage bags on Ms.
Mitchell's bus as a means of retaliation against her for
complaining. Ms. Mitchell sent Jeff Mallon (of Newman Human
Resources) a letter on January 12, 2015, informing him that
Ms. Mitchell had reported Mr. Wilson's behavior to Mr.
Hill on multiple occasions, but that Mr. Hill did not fix the
situation. This made Mr. Hill angry, and Mr. Hill began
setting up Ms. Mitchell for failure, such as reprimanding her
for parking a bus in an unauthorized area without having
given her prior instruction not to park there.
time when she was off work, Mr. Hill contacted Ms. Mitchell
at home and informed her that she must move her bus on
Newman's premises before he got to work the next day
(despite the fact that another driver on duty that day could
have moved the bus). Ms. Mitchell had to ride public
transportation three hours round trip to move a bus that she
had not been instructed to move before. Despite complying
with Mr. Hill's request, Ms. Mitchell was disciplined;
she was suspended without pay for three weeks.
Mitchell was regularly required to drive dirty, defective, or
non-air-conditioned buses, while male bus drivers got to
drive clean, air-conditioned buses. On one occasion, the bus
she was assigned to drive was releasing smoke, a condition
which she reported to Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill forced her to
continue driving the bus even though he knew it had been
filled with the wrong gas twice while on the road. As a
result, Ms. Mitchell, faculty, and students inhaled smoke.
When a teacher on the bus called Mr. Hill, he relented and
allowed Ms. Mitchell to switch buses.
Hill reduced Ms. Mitchell's hours, typically within one
week of Ms. Mitchell complaining to him about Mr.
Wilson's behavior. It was Mr. Wilson who picked up the
extra work that Ms. Mitchell lost.
the last week of the school semester in 2015, Ms. Mitchell
noticed that Mr. Wilson was following her again when she was
leaving school. Ms. Mitchell talked to a neighborhood
security guard, who instructed her to call the police, which
she did on the last day of school. In June 2015, Mr. Wilson