United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge
Ann Garcia asserts claims against her former employer,
Salvation Army, for religious discrimination, retaliation,
and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); failure
to engage in the interactive process in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”); and
intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”). Salvation Army moves for summary
judgment. Doc. 147. Garcia has filed two separate motions,
each of which requests partial summary judgment on her
interactive process claim. Docs. 150, 151. Briefing is
complete and no party requests oral argument. The Court will
grant Defendant's motion and deny Plaintiff's
1999, Ann Garcia began attending religious services at the
Salvation Army's Estrella Mountain Corps
(“EMC”) in Avondale, Arizona. Doc. 148-2 at 11.
In December 2002, EMC hired Garcia to serve as an assistant
to Major Angie Medina, the pastor of the church. Doc. 148-9
at 5-6. In July 2010, Majors Dionisio and Arlene Torres
(husband and wife) replaced Major Medina as EMC's
pastors. Doc. 148, ¶ 36. A few months later,
Garcia transitioned to a position as social services
coordinator. Doc. 148-9 at 11. In December 2011, Garcia
stopped attending religious services at EMC because she felt
that “policies and procedures [were] being broken and
not enforced by” the new pastors. Doc. 164, ¶ 2.
She continued to work at EMC.
March 2012, Garcia received her first annual performance
review at EMC. Doc. 148-12 at 11-12. Major Arlene Torres
rated Garcia as good, very good, or outstanding with respect
to twelve of the fourteen performance factors. Id.
Garcia received a rating of “improvement needed”
on two factors, creativity and initiative. Id. at
11. Overall, she received a rating of very good, and was
awarded a 2% raise. Id. at 12.
2013, Garcia received a second performance review.
Id. at 13-14. Garcia received a rating of good, very
good, or outstanding with respect to eleven of the fourteen
performance factors. Id. She received a rating of
“improvement needed” on three factors:
attendance, creativity, and attitude. Id. Her
interpersonal relationship with her supervisor was also rated
as “improvement needed.” Id. at 14.
Major Torres offered the following criticisms of Garcia's
Ann's attendance needs drastic improvement, and we hope
to see a dramatic decrease in her days off in the coming
year. . . . Would like to see Ann increase her creativity as
it relates to her assigned tasks. . . . Ann does what it
takes to get the job done, but lacks enthusiasm and a
positive attitude. . . .
Ann has a tendency to mix personal feelings and business
issues. She needs to do whatever it takes to keep personal
and business issue[s]
Ann keeps an acceptable attitude, when she is left alone, but
tends to spiral into a negative attitude when required to
interact with her supervisor(s), or given directives. Ann
needs to learn to be more respectful in her attitude towards
everyone, as our expectation is that she be courteous and
professional at ALL times.
Id. at 13-14. Garcia received an overall rating of
“good” and a 2% raise. Id. at 14.
response to this performance review, Garcia filed an internal
grievance. Id. at 5-6. She complained that her
performance evaluation constituted “a very negative
attack on [her] character, ” and that it was
unsupported by evidence. Id. at 5. She stated:
“I have been very disappointed and frustrated with the
way I have been treated by Captain Arlene Torres ever since
my husband and I left the church. I feel discriminated
against.” Id. She asked for a reevaluation.
Garcia filed this grievance, she learned that a client, Rosa
Novoa, had filed a written complaint against her on July 10,
2013. Garcia asked to see a copy of the complaint, but Major
Arlene Torres denied the request, citing an interest in
protecting client confidentiality. Doc. 161-17 at 2. Garcia
then filed another grievance. Doc. 148-12 at 2-3. Salvation
Army made several attempts to schedule a meeting to address
Garcia's grievances, but due to scheduling conflicts and
Garcia's subsequent leave of absence, the meeting never
took place. Doc. 148-7 at 19-20. On November 5, 2013, Garcia
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging
religious and age discrimination and retaliation. Doc. 148-12
at 8. The charged was dismissed on July 9, 2014. Id.
was granted leave from Salvation Army in October 2013 to
address widespread pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and
muscle and joint stiffness related to fibromyalgia. Doc.
148-16 at 14. The leave was extended several times.
Garcia's rheumatologist approved her to return to work
“without restrictions” beginning May 26, 2014.
Doc. 148-19 at 19. Garcia did not return to work that day. On
May 27, she sent an email to Jan Hoffer, Human Resource
Generalist for Salvation Army's Southwest Division,
stating the following:
I feel that I am not ready to go back into the exact same
working environment which my doctors have advised against.
There seems to be a mental block/barrier and this has to do a
lot with the Novoa complaint that was never made available to
me[.] I am requesting an accommodation . . . My accommodation
would be that a copy or ...