United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on
“Defendants' Renewed Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment” as to Plaintiffs' Title VII claims. (Doc.
29). Plaintiffs allege, in addition to their other claims,
race discrimination, gender discrimination, and retaliation
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991. See 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (2012). Defendants
maintain that they did not employ 15 or more people during
the relevant time period and so cannot be liable under Title
VII. The Motion has been fully briefed. See (Docs.
31, 34, 43, 46).
liable under Title VII, an employer must employ fifteen or
more employees for each working day in at least twenty weeks
during the current or preceding calendar year, with the
“current year” being the year of the alleged
discrimination. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b)
(defining “employer” for purposes of Title VII);
Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 516 (2006)
(holding that a Title VII claim must meet the threshold
employee number); Walters v. Metro. Educ. Enters.,
Inc., 519 U.S. 202, 205 (1997) (examining whether
employer met Title VII definition “at the time of the
alleged retaliation”). Here, the relevant years are
2014 and 2015.
court applies the “payroll method” of calculating
employees: if an employee appears on the employer's
payroll for a given working day, then she is considered an
employee for Title VII purposes. Walters, 519 U.S.
at 206-207; see also Id. at 206 (explaining that
“whether the employer has an employment relationship
with the individual on the day in question . . . is most
readily demonstrated by the individual's appearance on
the employer's payroll”).
submit Socoper's biweekly payroll records for 2014 and
2015, which demonstrate that Socoper had an employment
relationship with-and thus employed for purposes of Title
VII-fifteen or more employees for only one two-week
pay period during those two years.
opposition, Plaintiffs present (1) Socoper's own list of
employees and their dates of employment, covering the period
from April 2015 through the time Socoper submitted the list
to the EEOC on February 16, 2016, and (2) Socoper's 2014
and 2015 Quarterly Contribution and Wage Reports, created by
the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, which include
the number of employees Socoper reported employing during
each quarter. These reports show the following total employee
numbers: for 2014, 16 during the first quarter, 16 during the
second quarter, 16 during the third quarter, and 12 during
the fourth quarter; for 2015, 19 during the first quarter, 15
during the second quarter, 15 during the third quarter, and
13 during the fourth quarter.
VII looks at payroll periods, however, not quarterly employee
numbers as reported to the state. The Quarterly Contribution
and Wage Reports do not show which individuals appeared on
Socoper's payroll records on a weekly basis. As for the
EEOC list, it does not provide a complete employee tally for
2014 and 2015. And calculating the number of Socoper
employees employed weekly from April through December of 2015
based on the EEOC list reveals that Socoper did not employ 15
employees at any point during that period.
also present deposition testimony from Cam Coxwell Shiflett,
who testified that she performed paid work for Socoper during
summer, spring, and or/winter breaks in 2014 and 2015,
“whenever [she was] needed.” (Doc. 46-2 at
deposition 13:14). Ms. Shiflett, formerly Ms. Kirk, does not
appear on the payroll records submitted by Socoper. As
Socoper points out, however, even if Ms. Shiflett is deemed
to have worked for Socoper for every week during 2014 and
2015, Socoper would still have employed fifteen or more
individuals during only two two-week periods in 2014
and 2015. That Ms. Shiflett, who worked irregularly and
infrequently at Socoper, does not appear on the payroll
records amounts to only a scintilla of evidence showing that
Socoper employed fifteen or more employees for twenty or more
weeks during 2014 or 2015. That scintilla is insufficient to
meet Plaintiffs' summary judgment burden. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986) (“The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence
in support of the plaintiff's position will be
insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could
reasonably find for the plaintiff.”).
because even taken in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff Socoper's payroll records evidence that it did
not employ fifteen or more individuals for twenty or more
weeks during either 2014 or 2015, Socoper does not qualify as
an employer under Title VII and is due judgment in its favor
on the Title VII claims.
court WILL GRANT Defendants' Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment and WILL ENTER
JUDGMENT in favor of Socoper as to Plaintiffs'
Title VII claims.
 Though Plaintiffs in their Complaint
only alleged Title VII claims against Defendant Socoper, the
Defendants brought the Motion for ...