United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 32) filed by Defendant PNK (Baton Rouge)
Partnership d/b/a LAuberge Casino & Hotel of Baton Rouge.
Plaintiff Toni Jones filed an opposition. (Doc. 39). For the
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 32) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
an employment discrimination lawsuit. The facts taken in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff are as follows. Defendant
L'Auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
hired Plaintiff, an African-American woman as a full-time
Table Games Floor Supervisor in July of 2012. (Doc. 39-3 at
p. 19). About a year and a half later, on December 9, 2013,
Defendant promoted Plaintiff to Assistant Food and Beverage
Manager in the Bon Temps Buffet at the Casino. (Id.
at p. 23, 32-1 at ¶ 1 and 39-1 at ¶ 1). Before
taking the Assistant Manager position, she told the Director
of Food and Beverage, Sean Malone, that she was a single
parent and therefore could not work nights. (Doc. 39-5 at p.
27). She asked him if the majority of her hours could be
during the day or on weekends, and Malone assured Plaintiff
that it would not be a problem to schedule the majority of
her work during the day. Id.
she was promoted, Plaintiff was instructed to report to the
Food and Beverage Manager Rhonda Johnson. (Doc. 39-3 at p.
26). Plaintiff was one of four Assistant Managers, including
Chaunsey Miner, Derek Gaspard, and Kenneth Arcenaux.
Id. After being promoted to Assistant Manager, but
before she actually started working at the buffet, Arcenaux
called Plaintiff at home and asked her if she was single.
Id. at p. 35. Plaintiff told him that she was
single. Id. Plaintiff had never met or spoken to
Arcenaux before. Id. at p. 36. Arcenaux also called
Plaintiff and said "I just called to tell you that I
love you .. . [and] I'm looking forward to you coming to
the buffet." Id. at p. 36.
Plaintiff started working at the buffet, Arcenaux's
advances continued. He repeatedly asked Plaintiff to go out
for drinks. Id. at p. 36. Arcenaux also repeatedly
commented on Plaintiffs appearance or made advances at least
twice each shift they worked together. (Doc. 168 at p. 45).
For example, he said "Oh, who is that coming this way,
nice arms, oh, nice legs. Oh, that's just Toni."
(Doc. 39-3 at p. 36). He also told Plaintiff "That's
a nice skirt you got on. I like the way it fit."
Id. at p. 44. And he told Plaintiff that she had
nice legs and "ought to wear skirts more often."
Id. Also whenever Plaintiff and Arcenaux overlapped
shifts, he would say "who is that good looking woman,
oh, that is just Toni." Id. at p. 45.
time, when Plaintiff was at a concert on her lunch break,
Arcenaux waited until Plaintiff had turned around and took a
picture of her buttocks and forwarded the photo to other
people. Id. at p. 37. Derek Gaspard, another
Assistant Manager, showed her the photo. Id. The day
before Plaintiff was terminated, Arcenaux again asked
Plaintiff to get drinks with him, and later in the day he
said "I don't know why you're fighting it, you
might as well just go on and give in[.]" Id. at
attempted to stop Arcenaux's advances by rebuffing him
and moving on to other subjects. Id. at p. 41. She
also tried to never be alone with him. Id. Plaintiff
complained about Arcenaux's behavior on multiple
occasions. About a month after she started working as an
Assistant Manager, Plaintiff complained about Arcenaux to
Kizzy Smith in Human Resources. Id. at p. 45. Smith
told Plaintiff to keep him posted. Id. Plaintiff
complained again to Smith in February and March of 2014.
Plaintiff was promised that she would work days, during her
first two weeks at the buffet, Plaintiff worked the night
shift from 2:00 PM until the restaurant closed. (Doc. 32-39).
As soon as Plaintiff started working, she complained about
her schedule to Malone. (Doc. 32-43 at ¶ 7). She also
told Johnson, the Food and Beverage Manager, that she did not
want to work nights during the week and could not work first
thing in the morning. (Doc. 32-25 at ¶ 5). Defendant
tried to accommodate Plaintiff and, when possible, gave
Plaintiff two weekdays off and two weekday morning shifts.
Id. at ¶ 7.
Plaintiff rejected Arcenaux's advances, Arcenaux changed
Plaintiffs schedule so that she worked the night shift more
often. (Doc. 39-3 at p. 27). Plaintiff complained to her
supervisor, Rhonda Johnson, and Kizzy Smith in Human
Resources, but they did nothing. Id. at p. 27.
Plaintiff often arrived after she was scheduled to begin her
shift in the morning. Id. Whenever this happened,
though, she says that she received approval from Sean Malone
or Rhonda Johnson. (Doc. 39-3 at p. 48). Johnson told
Plaintiff that she understood that she was a single parent
and needed to get her child to school, and that somebody else
would open the buffet. Id.
April of 2014, Plaintiff says she received her first review
from Rhonda Johnson, and she was told she was doing a good
job. (Id. at p. 38; 39-4 at p. 18). Shortly after
the meeting, however, Arcenaux "cursed out"
Plaintiff on the buffet floor. (Doc. 39-3 at p. 41).
Plaintiff repeatedly tried to contact Johnson, her
supervisor, via text message and email to report his
behavior, but Plaintiff received no response. Id. at
March and April of 2014, the other three Assistant Managers
complained about Plaintiff. Derek Gaspard said "My
experiences with Toni were not great from the start. I have
always thought she did not have a good attitude ... There
have been countless times where she hasn't setup anything
and just left both managers high and dry to stay there till
12:30am some nights finishing up things that she should have
or could have done. . . She also came in two hours late on
Sunday, April 13th." (Doc. 32-14). Chauncey
Miner also complained "If I ask her to do something I
have to come back and double check; instead of asking how
it's done. It'll be completely] wrong where I have to
do it myself[.] (Doc. 32-13 at p. 1). Ken Arcenaux also
complained that "[Plaintiffs] attitude as a manager is
very unacceptable . . . [she] has many excuses about why she
can't work 10-11 hour[s] a day . . . [and she] has a bad
habit of disappearing from the floor[.]" (Doc. 32-12).
also requested that the Director of Surveillance prepare a
surveillance report on Plaintiff. (Doc. 32-40 at ¶ 5).
Between April 13, 2014 and April 20, 2014, the Defendant
monitored where Plaintiff was during her shift, when she
arrived, and when she left work. (Doc. 32-41). The report
shows that Plaintiff arrived late and left early from work on
several occasions. Id.
7, 2014, after receiving these complaints and reviewing the
surveillance report, Plaintiffs supervisor, Rhonda Johnson,
informed Plaintiff that she was being placed on an Action
Plan to address various concerns about her job performance.
(Doc. 32-15). The Plan notes that "Toni has been late
and/or left early for multiple shifts" and states that
"Toni must report on time for all scheduled shifts and
remain for their entirety. Should there be an emergency; Toni
should contact her supervisor before leaving her shift."
Id. at p. 2. Then two days later, Rhonda Johnson,
Sean Malone, and Ken Arcenaux, had a meeting with Plaintiff
to address communication issues between Plaintiff and
Arcenaux. (Doc. 32-33 at p. 6). During the meeting, Arcenaux
apologized "for any disrespect" and everyone agreed
to move forward. Id.
28, 2014, Plaintiff asked Kizzy Smith in Human Resources if
she could apply for a scheduling assistant position, but she
responded that Plaintiff could not transfer because she was
on the action plan. (Doc. 39-4 at p. 45). Then about a month
later, on August 13, 2014, Plaintiff sent the EEOC an intake
questionnaire, in which Plaintiff claimed that she was
retaliated against. (Doc. 39-5 at p. 61). Plaintiff wrote:
"because I told Rhonda [Johnson] that I wouldn't
stand for [Arcenaux] treating me disrespectfully I was
written up wrongfully and I have been blacked balled and
ostracized by [my] fellow employees." Id. at p.
62. On August 18, 2017, the EEOC sent a notice of charge of
discrimination to Defendant's Human Resources Director,
Kizzy Smith. Id. at p. 54. On August 22, 2014,
Plaintiff met with Malone and Smith. At the meeting,
Plaintiff was terminated. (Docs. 32-10 and 40).
September 24, 2014, Plaintiff amended her charge of
discrimination to claim that she was subject to sex
discrimination and retaliation. (Doc. 39-5 at p. 65. On
September 30, 2014, the EEOC sent Defendant a new notice of
charge of discrimination. Id. at p. 66. Plaintiff
then sued Defendant in this Court on December 13, 2016. (Doc.
1). She filed an Amended Complaint on March 27, 2018. (Doc.
8). Plaintiff claims that Defendant is ...