United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Northern Division
K. DuBOSE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Tekpak's
(“Tekpak”) Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff
Navolin Phillips' (“Phillips”) response, and
Tekpak's reply. (Docs. 29, 31, and 32). Upon
consideration, Tekpak's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
29) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
Findings of Fact
March 2, 2015, Phillips began working at Tekpak's
location in Marion, Alabama. Tekpak is a “manufacturing
company which, as part of its services packs various food
items for its customers.” (Doc. 1 at 1, ¶5).
Phillips was contracted through a temp agency. (Doc. 1 at 1,
Friday, April 3, 2015, Phillips was working a night shift on
the seasoned salt packing line. Her immediate supervisor was
Robert Boykin (“Boykin”). During the shift,
Phillips and a co-worker had an argument. (Doc. 29-13 at 35;
Dep. Phillips at 112). Following the dispute, Boykin moved
Phillips to a different section of the workplace, away from
the co-worker. (Doc. 29-13 at 33; Dep. Phillips at 131).
Phillips was displeased with the co-worker's treatment of
her and with Boykin's reaction to the dispute. (Doc.
29-13 at 33-34; Dep. Phillips at 132-133). As a result,
Phillips expressed her complaints to Boykin. (Id.)
the same shift, just after Phillips complained to Boykin, he
“inappropriately touch[ed] her on her rear-end and
arm….” (Doc. 1 at 1, ¶10). Specifically,
Boykin grabbed Phillips by the rear end, shook her rear end,
made a grunting noise, and pushed her into a pallet. (Doc.
29-13 at 38, 39; Dep. Phillips at 149-156). After this
incident, Phillips told Boykin she was going to report him to
the human resources department. (Doc. 1 at 1, ¶ 11; Doc.
29-13 at 34, 39; Dep. Phillips at 135, 149). Phillips
remained at work until her shift concluded.
this shift, Boykin wrote a note to his supervisor, Robert
Askew (“Askew”). The note  stated:
I Robert Boykin, 2nd/shift Production Supervisor, would like
immediately termination. For employee, Navolin Phillips. She
is a Temp, employee will not listen or follow work
Procedures. Navolin always got something smart to say, when
[quality control] or Supervisor tell her how to do her job
properly. Navolin Phillips, work are unsatisfactory work. If
I Let Navolin stay I would be gambling with the Quality of my
work. Robert Boykin 4/3/15
(Doc. 31-1). Based on Boykin's recommendation, the
morning of Monday, April 6, 2015, Askew instructed
Tekpak's Assistant Human Resources Coordinator Elsie
Essex (“Essex”) to terminate Phillips. That day,
Essex called Phillips to tell her not to report back to
Tekpak until further notice.
April 15, 2015, Phillips filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc.
29-4). On April 12, 2016, after she had received a Notice of
Right to Sue letter, Phillips filed the instant complaint
against Tekpak, alleging a claim of sexual harassment and a
claim of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.
(“Title VII”). (Doc. 1; Doc. 1 at ¶2).
Tekpak has moved for summary judgment on both claims.
Standard of Review
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). Rule 56(c) provides as follows:
(1) Supporting Factual Positions.
A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) 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; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.
(2) Objection That a Fact Is Not Supported by
A party may object that the material cited to support or
dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form that would be