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Childrey v. CGI Technologies and Solutions

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

March 28, 2018

ZEFFIE CHILDREY, Plaintiff,
v.
CGI TECHNOLOGIES AND SOLUTIONS, Defendant.

          OPINION

          MYRON H. THOMPSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Zeffie Childrey filed this lawsuit asserting sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 et seq. This cause is before the court on the recommendation of magistrate judge that defendant CGI Technologies and Solutions' summary judgment motion as to Childrey's “October 8 retaliation claim”--the only claim remaining in the case--be granted.[1] For the reasons stated below, the court agrees with the recommendation although it does not adopt the reasoning fully. The court concludes that Childrey's reassignment to a position to be led by the son of her alleged harasser does constitute an “adverse employment action, ” and that she has stated a prima-facie case for retaliation under Title VII. Nevertheless, Childrey's claim fails as a matter of law because she has not produced sufficient evidence for a jury reasonably to conclude that CGI's proffered reason for her reassignment was pretextual. The motion for summary judgment as to this final remaining claim will therefore be granted.

         I. Background

         A. Procedural Background

         Childrey brought suit in federal court against CGI charging sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII. Childrey twice amended her complaint. Her counsel withdrew from the case, after which she proceeded pro se. After discovery, CGI filed a motion for summary judgment, to which Childrey responded.

         The magistrate judge issued a recommendation concluding that the motion for summary judgment should be granted in its entirety and that the case should be dismissed with prejudice. See Childrey v. CGI Techs. & Sols., No. 2:14cv616, 2016 WL 9751962 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 7, 2016). Childrey timely objected to the recommendation. See Objection (doc. no. 115). This court then entered an order adopting in part and rejecting in part the recommendation. See Childrey v. CGI Techs. & Sols., No. 2:14cv616, 2017 WL 4365161 (M.D. Ala. Sept. 29, 2017)

         (Thompson, J.). As the order explained,

“It appears that defendant and the magistrate judge have overlooked a claim asserted by plaintiff, viz., that defendant transferred plaintiff in October 2012 to work under the authority of Benjamin McCall and others, and that this act constituted retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 et seq. See Am. Compl. (doc. no. 47) ¶ 21(d). Rather, defendant and the magistrate judge appear to address only plaintiff's claim that defendant's failure to transfer her promptly away from that new assignment constituted retaliation. See Report & Recommendation (doc. no. 112) at 24-25.”

Id. at *1. Accordingly, while the court adopted the recommendation granting CGI's motion for summary judgment as to all other claims, it referred this remaining claim back to the magistrate judge for appropriate resolution “on a renewed summary judgment or otherwise.” Id.; see also Order (doc. no. 119) (granting leave to file renewed motion for summary judgment). CGI then filed a renewed motion for summary judgment as to the outstanding claim.

         The magistrate judge issued a second recommendation concluding that the renewed motion for summary judgment should be granted. See Second Report and Recommendation (Second R&R) (doc. no. 126). Specifically, the magistrate judge found that Childrey failed to establish a prima-facie case of retaliation because “[she] has failed to demonstrate that there exists a genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether she suffered any adverse employment actions sufficient to survive the defendant's motion for summary judgment.” Id. at 12. The magistrate judge further concluded that, even if Childrey could establish a prima-facie case, her claim fails because she did not offer any facts to show that CGI's stated reason for the reassignment was merely a pretext for retaliation. Id. at 13.

         Childrey requested, and the magistrate judge granted, two extensions for time to file objections to the magistrate judge's second recommendation. See Order Granting Extension (doc. no. 130); Order Granting Extension (doc. no. 128). However, she did not submit any objections nor any further requests for an extension.

         B. Factual Background

         The facts relevant to this opinion are as follows:[2]CGI is a professional services company dedicated to providing IT solutions and business process outsourcing services to commercial clients and federal, state, and local government agencies. Childrey was hired by CGI on April 16, 2012, as an IT specialist for a CGI team providing support services for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Her supervisor at the time of hiring was Calvin Patterson, and Lynn Engram was the overall manager for the teams supporting Fannie Mae's operations.

         On August 15, 2012, Childrey left work and encountered her co-worker Willie McCall at the bottom of a stairwell. McCall had made a number of sexual advances to Childrey prior to that date, which she had consistently refused. As they passed in the stairwell, McCall grabbed Childrey's buttocks. She then immediately called Patterson, and reported McCall's behavior. The next day a human resources representative from CGI contacted Childrey about the incident. She explained what happened and told the representative about the earlier incidents in which she had rebuffed McCall's advances. She told the representative ...


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