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Tetteh v. Waff Television

United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division

March 27, 2015

MICHAELENE TETTEH, Plaintiff,
v.
WAFF TELEVISION, and RAYCOM MEDIA, Inc., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, JUDGE

Introduction

Plaintiff Michaelene Tetteh filed this employment action against WAFF Television and Raycom Media, Inc. (collectively “WAFF”). In her complaint, Ms. Tettah alleges claims for race and gender discrimination and retaliation pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq and §1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. She also asserts a claim for disability discrimination pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (Doc. 1).

WAFF moved for summary judgment on all of Ms. Tetteh’s claims. (Doc. 24). The Honorable John H. England III, Magistrate Judge, entered a report in which he recommended that the Court grant WAFF’s summary judgment motion as to all claims. (Doc. 48). Ms. Tetteh objected to the report and recommendation. (Doc. 51). Based on its review of the evidence, the Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation, and Ms. Tetteh’s objections, the Court will grant WAFF’s summary judgment motion on all of Ms. Tetteh’s claims.

Standard of Review

“The 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). A party opposing a motion for summary judgment must identify disputed issues of material fact by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When considering a summary judgment motion, the Court must view the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Moton v. Cowart, 631 F.3d 1337, 1341 (11th Cir. 2011). “The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

When reviewing a Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation, the Court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection has been made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). When a party specifically objects to portions of the report and recommendation, the district judge must “give fresh consideration to those issues.” Jeffrey S. by Ernest S. v. State Bd. of Educ. Of State of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 94–1609, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6162, 6163). The Court reviews for clear error the portions of the report and recommendation to which no party has objected. Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006). The Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

Factual and Procedural Background

In Ms. Tetteh’s objection to the Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation, she reproduced, paragraph-for-paragraph, the statement of facts from her brief in opposition to summary judgment. (Compare Doc. 29, pp. 17–27 ¶¶ 1–185 with Doc. 51, pp. 1–31 ¶¶ 1–185). To the extent that Ms. Tetteh intended to object to the facts recited in the report and recommendation, her objections are not sufficiently specific.

The facts recited by Ms. Tetteh, along with the underlying evidentiary record, served as the basis for the Magistrate Judge’s findings. (See Doc. 48, pp. 3–15). The Court has reviewed the parties’ briefs and supporting evidence. To the extent that Ms. Tetteh’s legal objections include specific factual objections, they are addressed below. See Macort, 208 Fed.Appx. at 784. Otherwise, the Court finds no clear error in the Magistrate Judge’s factual findings and adopts the facts in the report and recommendation. (Doc. 48, pp. 3–15).

Discussion

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating in the workplace on the basis of a person’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). An employee may sue an employer under the Act when an employer treats the employee differently based on one of Title VII’s suspect categories. See Id. § 2000e-2(a). “Disparate treatment can take the form either of a ‘tangible employment action, ’ such as firing or demotion, or of a ‘hostile work environment’ that changes ‘the terms and conditions of employment, even though the employee is not discharged, demoted, or reassigned.’” Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 807 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Hulsey v. Pride Rests., LLC, 367 F.3d 1238, 1245 (11th Cir. 2004)). Ms. Tetteh alleges that WAFF subjected her to a hostile work environment based on her gender and race and that WAFF took tangible employment actions against her.[1]The record does not support Ms. Tetteh’s claims.

A. Hostile Work Environment –Gender and Race

Ms. Tetteh’s hostile work environment claims against WAFF are without merit because the entirety of Ms. Tetteh’s evidence reveals conduct that was neither severe nor pervasive enough to allow her to maintain a hostile work environment claim under Eleventh Circuit law.[2] When ...


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