Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Miller v. Graham County

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 23, 2013

Tandy Miller, Plaintiff,
v.
Graham County, et al. Defendants.

ORDER

JENNIFER G. ZIPPS, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Graham County, Mark Herrington, James Palmer and Drew John ("Defendants") on November 21, 2012.[1] (Doc. 58.) Plaintiff Tandy Miller ("Miller") filed a response to the Motion on January 10, 2013. (Doc. 61.) Defendants filed a reply on February 1, 2013. (Doc. 66.) On March 22, 2013, the Court ordered Defendants to file a controverting statement of facts in response to Plaintiff's separate statement of facts; Defendants filed their Controverting Statement of Facts on May 15, 2013.[2] (Doc. 67, 72.) Defendants seek summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims of gender discrimination, national origin discrimination and retaliation. For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant the Motion.[3]

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a former employee of Graham County at the Eastern Arizona Regional Juvenile Detention Facility ("EARJDF"), a small facility which employs 13-16 staff and administrators. (DSOF 1, 5; PSOF 1, 5.)[4] Of those employees, approximately 7 are Caucasian. (DSOF 6; PSOF 6.) Plaintiff is Caucasian and was born in the United States. (DSOF 1; PSOF 1.) Plaintiff was employed by the County from 2006 until her resignation in October 2008. (DSOF 2; PSOF 2.) In June 2008, Plaintiff applied for a sergeant position. (DSOF 48; PSOF 48.) Sgt. Esgardo Luzania, who is a Hispanic male, was hired for the position. (DSOF 48; PSOF 48.)

In June 2009 Plaintiff was rehired as a Temporary Detention Officer. (DSOF 3; PSOF 3.) Around that time, Graham County selected Sgt. Robert Pruszynski for a promotion. (PSSOF 47.) Plaintiff remained a temporary employee until November 2009, when she became a full-time detention officer. (DSOF 4; PSOF 4.)

In October 2009, Plaintiff's schedule was adjusted to a split-shift: Plaintiff worked part of the swing-shift and part of the graveyard shift, four days per week. (DSOF 9; PSOF 9.) During the graveyard shift, Plaintiff assisted Lt. Terry Lemley with American Correctional Association ("ACA") audit preparations after the inmates were locked up for the night. (DSOF 10; PSOF 10.) During the graveyard portion of her shift, Plaintiff's supervisor was Lt. Lemley. (DSOF 12; PSOF 12.) During the swing-shift portion of her shift, Plaintiff's supervisors were Sgt. Pruszynski and Sgt. Luzania. (DSOF 13; PSOF 13.) Sgt. Luzania only supervised Plaintiff on Saturdays and Sundays. (DSOF 13; PSOF 13.)

Plaintiff alleges that Sgt. Luzania was hostile toward her. In October 2009, Sgt. Luzania began ignoring Plaintiff's radio communications to him. (DSOF 50; PSOF 50.) Sometimes, when Sgt. Luzania was in the control room, he would not respond in a timely manner to Plaintiff's requests to open locked pod doors. (DSOF 50; PSOF 50.) Plaintiff heard Sgt. Luzania complain to Sgt. Pruszynski that women do not belong in corrections. (DSOF 53; PSOF 53.) In April 2010, Sgt. Luzania commented that Plaintiff should be put in charge of the laundry at the facility. (DSOF 54; PSOF 54.) Sgt. Luzania also provoked the juvenile detainees to be angry at Plaintiff. (DSOF 55; PSOF 55.) In mid-October 2009, Plaintiff complained to Sgt. Pruszynski about Sgt. Luzania's behavior. (DSOF 76; PSOF 76.) Shortly thereafter, Sgt. Luzania revised the work schedule to preclude Plaintiff from working in the control room. (DSOF 83; PSOF 83.)

In October 2009, Sgt. Pruszynski completed an evaluation of Plaintiff stating that she exceeded expectations in four areas and needed improvement in three areas. (DSOF 65, 67; PSOF 65, 67.) Sgt. Lemley revised the evaluation and omitted the "needs improvement" ratings; following his revisions Sgt. Pruszynski refused to sign the evaluation. (DSOF 68, 88, 89; PSOF 68, 88, 89.) The evaluation did not go into Plaintiff's personnel file. (DSOF 90; PSOF 90.)

In January 2010, Plaintiff was assigned to work with Lt. Lemley in administration full-time, preparing for the ACA audit. (DSOF 14; PSOF 14.) Lt. Lemley became her only supervisor. (DSOF 14; PSOF 14.) Plaintiff's shift hours changed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and she no longer had floor duties.[5] (DSOF 15; PSOF 15.) According to Plaintiff, because her assignment to work on the ACA audit lasted more than 30 days, she was entitled to a reclassification and pay raise, but Graham County refused to reclassify her.[6] (PSSOF 10-11.)

Plaintiff alleges that in March 2010, when she was tasked with cleaning the staff restroom, she would often find the toilet brush holder filled with urine. (PSSOF 26.)

In May 2010, Lt. Lemley recommended that Plaintiff receive a pay increase, but Administrator Charles Gatwood denied the request for budget reasons. (Doc. 62-3, pg. 10.) Later that month, Administrator Gatwood reprimanded Lt. Lemley for showing favoritism to Plaintiff. (PSSOF 27.) Gatwood also suggested that Lt. Lemley avoid the appearance of impropriety by not attending the same training sessions as Plaintiff. (PSSOF 28.)

In July 2010, Plaintiff met with Administrator Gatwood and Assistant Administrator Michael Aranda regarding rumors of an inappropriate relationship between Plaintiff and Lt. Lemley. (DSOF 17; PSOF 17.) According to Plaintiff, Sgt. Luzania and Sgt. Pruszynski had made comments to other staff members suggesting that Plaintiff and Lt. Lemley were having an affair. (PSSOF 20-21.) Thereafter, Plaintiff was reassigned to floor duties on the graveyard shift. (DSOF 18; PSOF 18.) Plaintiff worked only one graveyard shift before she was reassigned back to the ACA audit at Lt. Lemley's request. (DSOF 18; PSOF 18.) Lt. Lemley remained her supervisor. (DSOF 19; PSOF 19.)

On August 6, 2010, Plaintiff lodged a formal complaint with the County, alleging that Sgt. Luzania had created a hostile work environment for Plaintiff. (DSOF 20; PSOF 20.) The County initiated a formal investigation and retained an independent investigator, Keith Sobraske. (DSOF 21; PSOF 21.) According to Plaintiff, Assistant Administrator Aranda told Sgt. Luzania and Sgt. Pruszynski that he would make the investigation "go away." (PSSOF 30.) Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants released her confidential personnel file to Sobraske. (PSSOF 31.)

Plaintiff was scheduled to go on vacation at the end of August, following completion of the audit preparation. Shortly before her vacation, Administrator Gatwood told Plaintiff to take the rest of the week off because she could not be paid any more overtime. (DSOF 25-26; PSOF 25-26.) According to Plaintiff, other employees were allowed to work additional overtime that week. (PSSOF 36.) Plaintiff also alleges that her overtime payment was delayed by a paycheck. (PSSOF 37.) Plaintiff submitted a written request that she be put on a different shift than Sgt. Luzania when she returned from vacation. (DSOF 22-23; PSOF 22-23.) On September 20, 2010, at the end of her vacation, Plaintiff was assigned to floor duties with Sgt. Pruszynski as her supervisor. (DSOF 28; PSOF 28.) However, for 2 days in October, while Sgt. Pruszynski was on vacation, Sgt. Luzania would supervise Plaintiff. (DSOF 29-30; PSOF 29-30.) On one of those two days, Plaintiff was assigned to the Alpha-Pod; on both of those days she would be working alone with Sgt. Luzania from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (PSSOF 39-40; DCSOF 39-40.)

On September 21, 2010, Plaintiff obtained a doctor's order stating that she was unable to work for 2 weeks due to work-related stress. (DSOF 31; PSOF 31.) On that same day, Plaintiff gave Administrator Gatwood a Notice of Constructive Discharge setting October 6, 2010 as the last day of her employment. (DSOF 32-33; PSOF 32-33.) On October 5, 2010, Plaintiff was informed that Investigator Sobraske had completed his investigation and determined that Plaintiff's complaints were unsubstantiated. (DSOF 34; PSOF 34.) Plaintiff restated her intent to resign as of October 6, 2010; she was asked to turn in her badge and keys one day early. (DSOF 36-37; PSOF 36-37; PSSOF 110-111; DCSOF 110-111.) Plaintiff claims that, following her termination, she discovered that Defendants had instructed some of her co-workers not to speak to her. (PSSOF 33.)

On October 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed an EEOC charge of discrimination alleging discrimination and retaliation on the basis of gender and national origin. (DSOF 39; PSOF 39.) According to the EEOC Charge, Sgt. Luzania subjected Plaintiff to different terms and conditions of employment by changing Plaintiff's rotation assignments, keeping prisoners in lock-down until Plaintiff's shift started, reprimanding Plaintiff publicly, refusing to acknowledge Plaintiff and refusing to unlock doors for Plaintiff. (Doc. 52-1, pg. 61.) Plaintiff alleged that Sgt. Luzania's treatment of Plaintiff was motivated by his animus toward women and non-Hispanics. Plaintiff alleged that she had complained about Sgt. Luzania's treatment beginning in October 2009 but nothing had changed. ( Id. ) In addition, Plaintiff alleged that in August 2010 she was told to take time off because she was not entitled to any more overtime, but similarly situated co-workers who had not complained of discriminatory treatment were permitted to work additional overtime hours. ( Id. ) Finally, Plaintiff alleged that she was forced to resign due to medical stress caused by her discovery that she was assigned to work alone with Sgt. Luzania for two days in October. ( Id. )

On June 3, 2011, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in the instant action alleging three claims: (1) gender discrimination; (2) national origin discrimination; and (3) retaliation; all in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.