United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACXO, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 38) filed by Defendant, PNK (Baton Rouge)
Partnership, which seeks dismissal of Plaintiff Charlene
Rosette's Title VII discrimination and retaliation
claims. Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. 40). For the
reasons that follow, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED and the action is
on August 16, 2012, Plaintiff, a black female, worked as a
server in the LAuberge Casino & Hotel's Bon Temps
Buffet. (Doc. 38-8). The chain of events that led to this
litigation began when Plaintiff made reports to management
and human resources officials, alleging that one of her
supervisors was showing up to work drunk and stealing
employees' tips. (Doc. 45-1 at pp. 14-15, 46-47; Doc.
45-2 at pp. 1-3 (email dated May 29, 2014)). The record does
not reveal what became of these reports.
to Plaintiffs claims, she asserts that in the fall of 2014,
she and another employee were appointed lead servers.
 (Doc. 45-1 at p. 27). However,
Plaintiff insists that she was demoted after complaining that
she did not receive a pay increase upon her promotion.
(Id.). Defendants claim that she never held the
position of lead server and that instead she was engaged in a
"trial period" to determine if she was suited for
the position of lead server. (Doc. 38-20 at p. 8).
March 4, 2015, Defendant issued a "Final
Notification" warning to Plaintiff based on a purported
outburst on February 28, 2015. (Doc. 38-15 at p. 1).
Plaintiff disputes her culpability, claiming that she was not
culpable for the argument described in her record of
counseling and that she should not have been punished. (Doc.
45-5 at pp. 1-4). The white female employee who had the
altercation with Plaintiff also received a "Final
Notification" for the incident. (Doc. 38-16 at p. 1).
August 28, 2015, Defendant terminated Plaintiffs employment.
(Doc. 38-9 at p. 1). Plaintiffs personnel file indicates that
she was terminated for a violation of company policy.
(Id.). Defendants allege that Plaintiff was
terminated for taking an unclaimed tip of $3.00 that did not
belong to her. (Doc. 38-4 at ¶ 16; Doc. 38-25 at p.
1). Defendant admits that she signed for a tip even though
she did not have a ticket for it, and that she was aware that
signing for a tip without a ticket was against company
policy. (Doc. 45-1 at p. 49). However, Plaintiff asserts that
she believed the tip was hers when she signed for it.
(Id.) Defendants claim that their investigation
revealed Defendant had likely violated the policy on multiple
occasions. (Doc. 38-4 at ¶ 13).
filed two charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") relating to
Defendant. (See Docs. 1-4 & 1-5). The first charge, filed
on March 26, 2015, indicated that the discrimination was
based on retaliation. (Doc. 1-4 at p. 1). In the
"particulars" section of the charge sheet,
Plaintiff described the basis of her charge:
I. I have been employed by [Defendant] as a Server .... On
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, I reported Assistant Manager Derek
Gaspard (White) for stealing servers; tips to Human Resources
manager Kizzy Smith. On Sunday, March 22, 2015, Mr. Gaspard
approached me and said, "I do not Uke you. I am tired of
you. I promise things are not going to turn out good for you
if you keep messing with me." Mr. Gaspard used
intimidation tactics and also harassed me while working
tables. I sent an E-mail to Human Resources, Ms. Kizzy Smith,
and she failed to respond to my complaint.
II. [Defendant] has failed to respond to the intimidation and
III. I believe [Defendant] has violated Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, by using intimidation
in retaliation against me for reporting Mr. Gaspard stealing
her termination, Plaintiff filed a second EEOC charge on
October 5, 2015. (Doc. 1-5 at p. 1). That charge again
indicated that Plaintiff was bringing a charge based solely
on retaliation. (Id.). In the
"particulars" section of that charge, Plaintiff
indicated that she was suspended and discharged for filing
her previous EEOC complaint. (Id.).
filed suit in this Court, alleging that she was discriminated
against on the basis of race and that she was retaliated
against for reporting her manager and filing EEOC charges,
all in violation of Title VII. (Doc. 8 at ¶¶
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[t]he court
shall grant summary judgment 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."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether the movant is
entitled to summary judgment, the court views the facts in
the light most favorable to the non-movant and draws all
reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor.
Coleman v. Hous. Indep. Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528,
533 (5th Cir. 1997).
motion for summary judgment is filed, the non-movant
"must set forth specific facts showing there is a
genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (internal citations
omitted). "A genuine issue of material fact exists when
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party." Austin v. Kroger
Tex., L.P., 846 F.3d 326, 328 (5th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Gates, 537 F.3d at 417). At this stage, however, the court
does not evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the
evidence, or resolve factual disputes. Int'l
Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257,
1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
other hand, the non-movant's burden is not satisfied by
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, or by
conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or a mere
scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (internal quotations
omitted). Summary judgment is appropriate if the non-movant
"fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's
case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322 (1986). In other words, summary judgment will lie only
"if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine ...