United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HORNSBY Judge.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Zanita Phillips (“Phillips”) sued her former
employer, Spireon, Inc. (“Spireon”) alleging she
suffered wage discrimination because of her gender, was
sexually harassed by a supervisor, and was subjected to
retaliation and constructively discharged after reporting the
harassment. Pending here is Spireon's Motion for Summary
Judgment [Doc. No. 27] seeking dismissal of Phillips'
claims. Phillips has filed an Opposition [Doc. Nos. 29, 34].
Spireon has filed a Reply [Doc. No. 35].
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
provides GPS systems that allow customers to track, manage,
and protect vehicles and other mobile assets. In October 2015
Spireon acquired Position Plus GPS, a competitor for whom
Phillips had served as an independent sales contractor for
two years. Following the acquisition, Phillips accepted a job
as a Regional Sales Director for Spireon with a base salary
of $36, 000, the opportunity to earn commissions on sales,
and certain other benefits.
as an independent sales contractor for Position Plus GPS had
allowed Phillips to set her own hours and work when she
wanted. However, as a Regional Sales Director with Spireon,
Phillips became a salaried employee. As such, she was
expected to meet minimum sales quotas, was assigned exclusive
geographic regions, and had to comply with company policies.
date of hire was October 29, 2015, but she did not actually
begin working for Spireon until December 2015 or January
2016. She was assigned Andy Seckinger
(“Seckinger”) as her direct supervisor. Seckinger
in turn reported to Dave Boekholder
(“Boekholder”), Vice President for Sales.
after starting work, Phillips complained to Seckinger that
her starting salary of $36, 000 was too low. Seckinger
approached Boekholder on her behalf, and through their
efforts, her salary was increased to $50, 000, effective
January 1, 2016. Phillips testified in her deposition, that,
once her salary was increased, she no longer considered it to
be too low, or based on her gender. [Doc. No. 27-4, p. 140].
who is married, alleges that in January of 2016 Seckinger
began a campaign of repeated and unwanted sexual harassment
by phone calls and text messages. She alleges that he told
her he wanted her, that he did not want to see her with
another man, and that he would take care of her. She states
that in February 2016 he called and said he was jealous and
did not like her working with Boekholder. He also asked her
to pick him up from an airport in Dallas and drive him to
Oklahoma City, which she refused to do. She further alleges
that he called her at home and stated he wanted to have sex
with her. On one occasion in Little Rock, Arkansas, he tried
to get her into his hotel room and expressed the wish that
she would stay in the same hotel.
alleges that around February 16 through 19, 2016, she told
Boekholder of the harassment by Secklinger and was told that
it would be taken care of. Seckinger took a personal leave
from February 8 until March 8, 2016. Boekholder transferred
Phillips to Michelle Jackson (“Jackson”), who
remained her supervisor until Phillips's resignation.
alleges that the management of Spireon retaliated against her
for making the complaint of sexual harassment by doubling her
sales quotas for the second quarter of 2016, denying her
commissions she had earned, taking accounts from her, and
delaying orders she placed for customers. She states that, as
a result of this harassment and retaliation, she resigned her
position as of June 1, 2016. She contends she was, in effect,
constructively terminated by the retaliatory treatment she
received after complaining of sexual harassment.
September 23, 2016, Phillips filed a charge of discrimination
with the EEOC, and on March 7, 2017, the EEOC issued Phillips
a Notice of Right to Sue [Doc. No. 1-1]. Phillips filed this
suit on June 16, 2017, alleging discrimination in pay based
on her gender, sexual harassment by a supervisor, retaliaton
for complaining of sexual harassment, and that she was
constructively discharged after reporting the harassment.
[Doc. No. 1].
9, 2019, Spireon filed this Motion for Summary Judgment
seeking the dismissal of all of Phillips' claims. Spireon
asserts that Phillips resigned her position with Spireon
because she did not enjoy the work and was not succeeding at
it. She went from selling GPS units when, where and how she
wanted as an independent contractor with Position Plus GPS to
working as an employee of a company with policies and
procedures she did not like and refused to follow.
motion is fully briefed, and the Court is prepared to rule.