United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Bonnie Williams Moore is a former employee of defendant
Computer Sciences Corporation. Ms. Moore alleges that CSC
discriminated against her on the basis of her race, age, and
disability. Based on that alleged discrimination, Ms. Moore
asserts claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29
U.S.C. § 623 et seq.; the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.;
and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 791. Ms. Moore
also asserts a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act,
29 U.S.C. § 2615, on grounds that CSC allegedly
interfered with her ability to take medical leave. (Doc. 1).
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, CSC has filed
a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 18). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court grants CSC's motion with respect
to Ms. Moore's Title VII, Section 1981, and ADEA claims.
The Court also grants summary judgment with respect to Ms.
Moore's Rehabilitation Act claim. The Court denies
summary judgment on Ms. Moore's ADA claims and on her
FMLA interference claim.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
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). To demonstrate that there is a genuine
dispute as to a material fact that precludes summary
judgment, a party opposing a motion for summary judgment must
cite “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.”
considering a summary judgment motion, the Court must view
the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. See White v. Beltram Edge Tool Supply,
Inc., 789 F.3d 1188, 1191 (11th Cir. 2015). Accordingly,
the Court presents the facts in this opinion in the light
most favorable to Ms. Moore. See White, 789 F.3d at
1191; see also Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach, 707
F.3d 1244, 1252 (11th Cir. 2013) (“[W]hen conflicts
arise between the facts evidenced by the parties, [courts]
must credit the nonmoving party's version.”).
“The court need consider only the cited materials, but
it may consider other materials in the record.”
Moore is an African-American female. She was born in 1957.
(Doc. 24, ¶ 3-5; Doc. 19-1, p. 9). Ms. Moore worked for
CSC for nearly 15 years, from 1999 until March 28,
2014. (Doc. 19-1, p. 21; Doc. 24-6, ¶ 24).
Ms. Moore began her career with CSC as an account
professional in the company's billing and collections
division. (Doc. 24-6, ¶ 6; Doc. 20, ¶¶ 3-4).
In 2007, CSC promoted Ms. Moore to the position of senior
billing accountant/AR lead. (Doc. 19-1, p. 25; Doc. 19-5, p.
32). Ms. Moore held the position of senior billing lead until
her employment with CSC ended in March of 2014. (Doc. 24-6,
2004, while working full-time for CSC, Ms. Moore obtained a
bachelor's degree in business administration. (Doc. 19-1,
p. 23). The following year, she earned a master's degree
in business administration. (Doc. 19-1, p. 23). Ms. Moore
also obtained certifications in contract management and
contract acquisitions, and she took college courses in
contracts administration as recently as 2012. (See
Doc. 19-1, pp. 24-25, 42). In her annual reviews, CSC
recognized Ms. Moore's ability to continue her education
while maintaining a full workload at CSC. (Doc. 19-5, pp. 24,
30; Doc. 24-9, pp. 21, 37).
2007 until 2012, Ms. Moore reported to James Romine. Mr.
Romine was responsible for completing Ms. Moore's
performance appraisals at the end of each fiscal year.
(See Doc. 24-9, pp. 2, 13, 17, 22, 27; Doc. 19-5, p.
For fiscal years 2007 through 2012, Mr. Romine rated Ms.
Moore as meeting, exceeding, or far exceeding expectations.
(Doc. 24-9, pp. 6, 15, 20, 25; Doc. 19-5, p.51). In fiscal
year 2013, Amanda Martin became Ms. Moore's supervisor,
and she completed Ms. Moore's 2013 performance appraisal.
(Doc. 19-1, pp. 108-109; Doc. 24-9, p. 32). Ms. Martin also
rated Ms. Moore's performance as meeting or exceeding
expectations. (Doc. 24-9, pp. 32-37).
Moore's performance evaluations for fiscal years 2007
through 2013 contain almost entirely positive comments. There
are two exceptions. Mr. Romine noted in his 2012 assessment:
“[a] single area of improvement would be to become more
assertive in her role as Lead not only with billers assigned
under her but to the entire Huntsville staff.” (Doc.
24-9, p. 31). Ms. Martin noted in her 2013 appraisal that
“[o]ne single area of improvement is that when issues
arise, [Ms. Moore] and the biller come see management
together.” (Doc. 24-9, p. 36).
evaluations otherwise contain glowing reviews. Here are a few
2007: “She is seen as a team player and is very
cooperative. Bonnie's natural demeanor allows her to
easily gain the trust and support of her peers . . . . She
does not become defensive or irritated when
challenged.” (Doc. 24-9, pp. 7-8).
2008: “As a Lead, the quality and quantity of work
Bonnie produces is consistently among the best and is always
within acceptable ranges of accuracy and timeliness.”
(Doc. 24-9, p. 16).
2009: “Bonnie continues to be a strong Lead not only to
her staff, but to the Huntsville billing department as a
whole. She consistently demonstrates an understanding nature
and excellent training skills both wrapped around the desire
for her team to get things done right the first time, but to
understand what they are doing and not just going through a
motion.” (Doc. 19-5, p. 55).
2010: “During the past year Bonnie continued to
demonstrate exceptional scheduling and time management
abilities. . . . As always, her understanding nature and
excellent training skills are to be recognized and commended.
Bonnie is by far my #1 Lead in Huntsville.” (Doc. 24-9,
2011: “FY11 for Bonnie was somewhat full of medical
challenges; however, through it all, she continued to
demonstrate ‘strong lead' abilities for the entire
Huntsville Billing department. . . . Bonnie continues to be
the ‘Mainstay' of the Huntsville Billing Department
and is by far my #1 Lead.” (Doc. 24-9, p. 26).
2012: “Bonnie is by far the #1 Lead in the Huntsville
Billing Office. . . . If CSC had more employees as conscience
[sic] of their work, relationships with peers, and that truly
exemplified our code of ethics and conduct as does Bonnie, we
would be a force to contend with on every front.” (Doc.
24-9, p. 31).
2013: “Bonnie continues to be the #1 Billing Lead in
the Huntsville Billing Office.” (Doc. 24-9, p. 36).
“Bonnie continues to give 125% daily to the Huntsville
Billing office. She often goes over and beyond
expectations.” (Doc. 24-9, p. 37).
Moore's 2013 appraisal, which Ms. Moore reviewed on May
14, 2013, contains a prescient request from Ms. Moore's
mentor, Mr. Romine: “FY2014 is setting up to be a
challenging year for NPS Defense Billing so I ask your
continued support in helping Huntsville maintain our high
quality standards.” (Doc. 24-9, p. 32).
year 2014 was a challenging year indeed for both Mr. Romine
and Ms. Moore. The record does not disclose who completed Ms.
Moore's performance evaluation in 2014. The performance
appraisal identifies James Romine as the appraiser, but Mr.
Romine did not acknowledge or approve the fiscal year 2014
evaluation. (Doc. 24-2, p. 2). In the approvals and
acknowledgments section of the form, Abbi Malone, identified
as the “NLA, ” noted that the review was approved
and returned. (Doc. 24-2, p. 2). The space where Mr. Romine
would approve the form states only “Administratively
Closed: 30 Jun 2014.” (Doc. 24-2, p. 3).
contrast to earlier performance reviews, Ms. Moore's
fiscal year 2014 review states that Ms. Moore met or only
partially met expectations. (Doc. 24-2, pp. 5-6). Of the
eleven total performance factors identified on the form, Ms.
Moore received seven ratings of partially met expectations
and four ratings of met expectations. (Doc. 24-2, pp. 5-6).
The comments section of the 2014 appraisal states:
Bonnie is dedicated to meeting the expectations and
requirements of internal and external customers and has the
technical knowledge and skills to do the job at a high level
of accomplishment but is often viewed by her colleagues as
too narrow. She tends to depend upon technical and functional
knowledge and skills at the expense of personal,
interpersonal and managerial skills. Bonnie does; [sic]
however, pursue everything with energy, drive, and a need to
finish, seldom giving up before finishing, especially in the
face of resistance or setbacks. Too often; [sic] however,
this trait, when coupled with invoice submission limits tends
to confuse people who observe her across different settings
and is misinterpreted as to what she deems most important.
Bonnie has a tendency to appear overly wise or close to
perfect, as someone who can't, doesn't make, or [who
is] unable to acknowledge personal mistakes which leads to
being viewed by colleagues as stubborn and not willing to
negotiate or compromise. At times, she displays frustration
when advice is rejected and an undesirable relationship with
less data-based people. As a Lead, Bonnie doesn't pick up
on social clues that others would recognize often displaying
a sense of tenseness causing less than desirable
interactions. Bonnie has a good understanding of CSC's
CLEAR values with a deep understanding of who our clients
are; she uses facts to support straight talk; embraces a
profound sense of comment [sic] to our clients and
colleagues, although often times being misinterpreted; she
looks for ways to continuously improve our processes; and
confronts obstacles and strives to overcome them.
(Doc. 24-2, pp. 5-6).
Moore contends that she did not see the fiscal year 2014
performance appraisal because CSC laid her off on March 28,
2014 before the end of the fiscal year. (Doc. 24-6, ¶
11). The record indicates that Ms. Moore typically received
and reviewed her annual appraisals in late April or May of
the calendar year in which CSC completed the appraisal.
(See Doc. 19-5, p. 31; Doc. 19-5, p. 52; Doc. 24-9,
p. 14; Doc. 24-9, p. 18; Doc. 24-9, p. 28; Doc. 24-9, p. 32).
Moore received strong annual evaluations in many years in
which CSC was trimming its workforce. CSC also reduced the
size of its workforce in 2014, the year in which Ms. Moore
received her only mediocre annual review. Beginning in fiscal
year 2009 and continuing in 2012, 2013 and 2014, CSC
implemented budget cuts in all divisions of finance which
resulted in reductions in force in CSC's Cash Operations
division. (Doc. 21-1, ¶ 3). Kathryn Vadenoff, the
Director of Cash Operations for the North American Public
Sector, was responsible for deciding which positions to
eliminate. (Doc. 21-1, ¶¶ 3, 4; Doc. 21-2, p. 2).
CSC's Human Resources Management Policy 213
“Reduction in Force” governed the annual RIFs.
That policy provides in relevant part:
1.1. When a reduction in the workforce is necessary due to
business reasons (including the discontinuance of a business
unit or function within a unit), selection of individuals
affected shall be based on a combination of factors,
including but not limited to CSC's business needs, as
well as employee knowledge, skills and ability, reliability,
performance and conduct.
4.1 Selection for a Reduction in
Force - As outlined in Section 1.1 above,
selection for a reduction in force due to business reasons is
based upon a combination of factors. However, when two
people, in CSC's judgment, possess equal knowledge,
skills and ability, reliability, and substantially similar
conduct and performance records, the person with the least
length of service shall be selected first for involuntary
(Doc. 21-1, p. 7).
Vadenoff testified that in preparation for fiscal year 2015
budget cuts, she determined that Organization 114: Defense
(Org 114) “had management and lead resources that could
be absorbed by a single supervisor, rather than a supervisor
and a manager, and by the remaining leads.” (Doc. 21-1,
¶ 9). Ms. Vadenoff selected Ms. Moore and Mr. Romine for
layoff. Ms. Vadenoff stated that she selected Ms. Moore for
layoff “because she was the only lead in the
organization to be rated Partially Meets Expectations in the
upcoming FY 2014 performance appraisals (the others were
rated ‘Meets Expectations' or higher).” (Doc.
21-1, ¶ 10). The record does not support this assertion:
in her FY 2014 performance evaluation, Dawn Bates, one of the
lead billers who CSC retained, received “partially
meets expectations” ratings in two categories.
(See Doc. 24-4, pp. 4-5).
Vadenoff states that she also considered the interpersonal
conflict noted in Ms. Moore's 2014 performance appraisal,
as well as her own observation and judgment that Ms. Moore
“would be the least receptive to the added workload and
least effective in the essential team environment of the
down-sized group.” (Doc. 21-1, ¶ 10). Ms. Vadenoff
Q: Did you find that Ms. Moore was lacking in employee
Q: How did you find that ...