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Gentry v. City of Russellville

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northwestern Division

August 29, 2019

CHELSEA GENTRY, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF RUSSELLVILLE, ALABAMA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LILES C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Chelsea Gentry alleges discrimination and retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Defendant City of Russellville, Alabama. (Doc. 1, No. 3:16-cv-01466 and Doc. 1, No. 3:17-cv-01127). Plaintiff also asserts a wage and hour claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 207. (Doc. 1, No. 3:17-cv-01127). This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 32). For the reasons set forth below, the Court shall grant Defendant's motion.

         I. STANDARD FOR MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         “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). 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A).

         When considering a defendant's motion for summary judgment, a district court must view the evidence in the record and draw reasonable inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Asalde v. First Class Parking Sys. LLC, 898 F.3d 1136, 1138 (11th Cir. 2018). Accordingly, the Court presents the facts in this opinion in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

         II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         Plaintiff began her employment with the Russellville Police Department (RPD) in December 2011, at the age of 21. (Doc. 28-1 at 12). Plaintiff has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. (Id. at 6). She attended the police academy in January 2012. (Id. at 12).

         Plaintiff worked as a police officer during the first three years of her employment. (Id. at 12, 17). Between October 2012 to September 2013, the RPD disciplined Plaintiff due to some problems, but on December 2, 2014, the RPD gave Plaintiff a good annual review. (Doc. 28-1 at 70-71; Doc. 28-4 at 11; Doc. 28-5 at 11-12; Doc. 39-13).

         In the summer of 2015, Defendant's Civil Service Board (CSB) posted a sergeant position at the RPD. (Doc. 28-1 at 17; Doc. 28-4 at 6). The RPD instructed officers to sign their name to a list if they were interested in applying for the position. (Doc. 28-4 at 6). Plaintiff was the only officer who signed the list. (Doc. 28-1 at 18). Despite reservations based on her prior work history, Chief Hargett recommended Plaintiff to the CSB for promotion. (Doc. 28-4 at 6, 10-11). In August 2015, the CSB promoted Plaintiff to sergeant and gave her a pay raise. (Doc. 39-65; Doc. 28-7, ¶ 4). The CSB has a policy that newly promoted employees are placed on a six-month probation. (Doc. 28-1 at 31-32, 72; Doc. 28-4 at 13; Doc. 28-5 at 22-23).[1]

         Upon her promotion, Chief Hargett and Cpt. Prince told Plaintiff that RPD would assign her to a field training officer and she would undergo a supervisor field training program. (Doc. 28-1 at 18-19). The RPD did not have a written policy for a training program until October 29, 2015. (Doc. 28-4 at 16). Plaintiff was the first participant in the program. (Id. at 11). Over the course of Plaintiff's participation, the RPD made changes to the program because the program was still being developed. (Doc. 28-1 at 18; Doc. 28-7, ¶ 4).

         Initially, the RPD paired Plaintiff with Sgt. Miller. (Doc. 28-1 at 19). Sgt. Miller evaluated Plaintiff stating that she failed to exhibit command presence, failed to demonstrate an ability to control situations when responding to calls, had difficulty organizing officers and distributing calls for service, appeared to lose track of service calls and whereabouts of her officers, and appeared to be unfamiliar with certain department policies and procedures. (Id. at 19-20, 120).[2]Sgt. Miller also noted that Plaintiff was not receptive to feedback, sleeps during shifts, is insubordinate, and overall has leadership and professional weaknesses. (Id. at 123-24). Subsequently, Sgt. Franks evaluated Plaintiff, remarking that Plaintiff had displayed poor leadership skills, poor professionalism, poor knowledge of general orders, and appeared to be sleeping in her patrol car. (Id. at 121-22).

         Plaintiff admitted to occasionally sleeping during a shift. (Id. at 21-22). She also testified that she questioned the qualifications of the training officers assigned to her. (Id. at 20-21). Plaintiff admitted defending or justifying her actions when receiving criticism from her supervisors. (Id.).

         Sgts. Miller and Franks recommended that Plaintiff not continue as sergeant (Doc 28-1 at 121-24). On October 29, 2015, Chief Hargett demoted Plaintiff to patrol officer after reviewing her evaluations and speaking to Sgts. Miller and Franks and Cpt. Prince. (Doc. 28-1 at 27; Doc. 28-7, ¶ 5; Doc. 28-5 at 26; Doc. 39-22).

         At the time of Plaintiff's demotion, Mickey Gentry, Plaintiff's husband, served as a volunteer reserve officer at the police department. (Doc. 28-7, ¶ 9). Since 2004, Defendant had also employed Mr. Gentry as a firefighter. (Doc. 28-3 at 16). Mr. Gentry went to Mayor Grissom to discuss his wife's demotion. (Doc. 28-1 at 41, 78). Among other things, Mr. Gentry told the mayor that Chief Hargett demoted Plaintiff because Plaintiff was not one of Chief Hargett's “drinking buddies.” (Doc. 28-3 at 9, 23-26).

         Chief Hargett removed Mr. Gentry from the reserve officer program and told him not to come to the police station. (Doc. 28-7, ¶ 9). Cpt. Prince told Plaintiff that Mr. Gentry was not allowed at the police station. (Doc. 39-83, recording).[3] After the RPD demoted Plaintiff, the RPD placed Plaintiff into the position of a patrol officer. (Doc. 28-1 at 131). On November 1, 2015, Plaintiff appealed her demotion to the CSB. (Doc. 28-1 at 79; Doc. 39-27). On November 4, 2015, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. (Doc. 28-1 at 80; Doc. 39-28).[4]

         On December 14, 2015, Cpt. Prince reviewed Plaintiff's performance, noting that her job knowledge was “average considering her years of experience, ” she does not take constructive criticism well or follow directions, and she “tends to maximize any opportunity to use her sick leave.” (Doc. 39-34). On December 15, 2015, Lt. Shackelford reviewed Plaintiff's performance, confirming many of Cpt. Prince's statements. (Doc. 39-35). For example, Lt. Shackelford stated that Plaintiff was not dependable and that he “was in full support of [Plaintiff's] removal [as sergeant], and I still stand beside that decision.” (Id.).

         In late January 2016, Plaintiff informed Chief Hargett that she was pregnant and requested that he keep the information private. (Doc. 28-1 at 83).

         On March 5, 2016, during the night shift, Sgt. Franks observed Plaintiff sitting in her patrol vehicle in the police station parking lot. (Id. at 132-33). Sgt. Franks believed Plaintiff was sleeping and took a picture of her. (Id. at 134, photograph). Plaintiff testified that she was not asleep, but she does not dispute that Sgt. Franks believed she was asleep. (Id. at 22, 35-36).

         On March 7, 2016, Mr. Gentry and Plaintiff went to the police station to speak to Chief Hargett about Sgt. Franks. (Doc. 28-1 at 36-37, 41). The RPD's General Order No. 100 I. (O.) provides that employees are required to follow the chain command to report department related issues unless an employee has a complaint of sexual harassment. (Doc. 28-1 at 135-36, 141; Doc. 28-7, ¶ 10). Plaintiff testified that she was not reporting sexual harassment. (Doc. 28-1 at 40).

         On March 10, 2016, Plaintiff interviewed for another sergeant position. (Id. at 84). That same day, Chief Hargett suspended Plaintiff for five days without pay for sleeping on duty and an additional five days without pay for bypassing the chain of command. (Doc. 39-39).[5]

         Plaintiff gave Chief Hargett a note from her doctor, dated March 21, 2016, requesting that she be placed in the office, preferably on a day shift. (Doc. 39-43). Chief Hargett requested clarification from Plaintiff's physician as to the extent of her medical limitations, which he received on April 1, 2016. (Doc. 28-2 at 35; Doc. 28-4 at 24, 39, 42). The physician's note stated that Plaintiff could not wear her utility belt, [6] and she could not be on the street because of a risk of being hit in the abdomen. (Doc. 28-4 at 42).

         On March 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed a second charge of discrimination with the EEOC. (Doc. 39-9 at 8).

         The RPD did not have a “light duty” position. (Doc. 28-1 at 88). Therefore, the RPD placed Plaintiff on a medical leave and required her to use sick or personal leave to take time off. (Doc. 28-1 at 88; Doc. 28-4 at 39; Doc. 28-8 at 7). Plaintiff could request leave donations from other employees if she exhausted her own leave time. (Doc. 28-8 at 7). Several Fire Department employees donated sick leave time to Plaintiff. (Doc. 28-1 at 63). No. RPD employees donated time to Plaintiff, despite her requests to RPD employees for donated time. (Id. at 65).

         During her medical leave, the RPD offered Plaintiff dispatch shifts when available so she would not have to use her own leave time or donated leave time. (Doc. 28-1 at 42-43; Doc. 28-4, at 40). On June 18, 2016, while Plaintiff was working a dispatch shift, Mr. Gentry came to the police station and went inside the dispatch room with Plaintiff. (Doc. 28-1 at 42-43). Lt. Shackelford observed the incident and reported it to Cpt. Prince. (Doc. 28-4 at 27; Doc. 28-5 at 19). Plaintiff was suspended for 14 days without pay. (Doc. 28-1 at 44-45).

         In September 2016, Plaintiff's child was born. (Id. at 6, 94). On October 12, 2016, the RPD disciplined Plaintiff for taking her sick leave donation forms to City Hall, rather than turning them in to Chief Hargett. (Doc. 28-1 at 45, 95; Doc. 39-52; Doc. 39-53). On November 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed a third charge of discrimination with the EEOC related to her demotion. (Doc. 39-8 at 12).

         On November 7, 2016, Plaintiff returned to full-time duty. (Doc. 28-1 at 95). Plaintiff told Cpt. Prince that she needed to pump breast milk for her child. (Id.). The RPD told Plaintiff she could use the break room or go home during breaks to pump breast milk. (Id. at 50). Plaintiff chose to go home during her paid breaks. (Id.). The RPD required Plaintiff to remain on duty while traveling home until she went out of her service area, at which time she was required to call or text. (Id.).

         The RPD instructed Plaintiff to make up extra time at the end of her shift because her breaks took longer than the allotted hour and Plaintiff sometimes arrived at work late. (Doc. 28-4 at 30; Doc. 39-55). On December 12 and 27, 2016, the RPD counseled Plaintiff and gave her a written directive regarding her breaks, but the RPD did not discipline her. (Doc. 28-1 at 82, 96; Doc. 28-2 at 51; Doc. 28-5 at 21-22; Doc. 39-55; Doc. 39-56).

         At some point, Plaintiff's physician instructed her to breastfeed her baby instead of pumping milk. (Doc. 28-1 at 49-50, 97; Doc. 39-84, recording).[7]Plaintiff worked a 12-hour shift and needed three breastfeeding breaks, which were about 20 minutes each. (Doc. 39-84, recording).

         Around this time, a shooting occurred in Russellville, Alabama, during which the suspect was injured and required medical care. (Doc. 28-1 at 47). The RPD transported the suspect to Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama. (Doc. 28-4 at 32). The RPD scheduled Plaintiff to guard the suspect at the hospital in Huntsville. (Id.) Plaintiff raised concerns about breastfeeding while guarding the suspect. (Doc. 28-1 at 47). The RPD told Plaintiff to take her concerns up the chain of command, which she did. (Id.). The RPD rearranged the schedule and reassigned Plaintiff that day. (Id.). The RPD scheduled Plaintiff for a night shift that evening in Russellville. (Doc. 28-1 at 97-99; Doc. 28-4 at 33-34).

         A few weeks later, Cpt. Prince made a schedule change and reassigned some officers, including Plaintiff to the night shift. (Doc. 28-5 at 27; Doc. 28-1 at 46; Doc. 30, Ex. L, recording). Plaintiff complained to her lieutenant and then to Cpt. Prince about the schedule change. (Doc. 30, Ex. L, recording). Cpt. Prince told her it was a temporary assignment until the new sergeants gained experience. (Doc. 28-1 at 49; Doc. 30, Ex. L, recording). Plaintiff submitted a written request to speak to the City Council instead of taking her complaints to Chief Hargett. (Doc. 28-1 at 46, 52). Plaintiff did not tell anyone that she had requested to speak to the City Council. (Id. at 52).

         The City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting, and at Plaintiff's request, the City Council spoke to her in a private executive session. (Doc. 28-4 at 30). Plaintiff hoped the City Council would “step in and just tell my supervisors to back off a little bit and just let me do my job.” (Doc. 28-1 at 46). Plaintiff spoke to the City Council about the assignment to guard the suspect at Huntsville Hospital. (Id. at 47-48). The City Council questioned Chief Hargett about this matter and others issues related to Plaintiff. (Doc. 28-4 at 30). Based on the questions, Chief Hargett understood that Plaintiff had led the City Council to believe that the RPD required Plaintiff to travel to Huntsville to guard a suspect. (Doc. 28-4 at 30, 32, 34; Doc. 28-6 at 4). The next working day, the RPD placed Plaintiff on paid administrative leave. (Doc. 28-1 at 55; Doc. 28-4 at 32, 34).

         The following day, the RPD instructed Plaintiff to come to the station with her police equipment. (Doc. 28-1 at 56; Doc. 28-4 at 34). Plaintiff testified that she thought the RPD would terminate her employment and spoke to her father, who was with her at the time in Birmingham, about her anticipated termination. (Doc. 28-1 at 56).[8] When Plaintiff arrived, Chief Hargett told her that she had violated the chain of command and could resign or be terminated. (Doc. 28-1 at 57-58; Doc. 28-4 at 32, 35; Doc. 39-79, recording). Plaintiff opted to resign. (Doc. 28-1 at 60-61). She asked if she should go home to write her resignation letter. (Id. at 58). Chief Hargett told her she could use the computer that was in their room. (Id.). She did not request additional time to consider her decision. (Id.).

         On April 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a third charge of discrimination with the EEOC. (Doc. 39-59).

         On September 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit --- (Doc. 1, No. 3:16-cv-01466-MHH), [9] --- and on July 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed a second lawsuit --- (Doc. 1, No. 3:17-cv-01127-AKK).[10] On November 30, 2017, another judge on this Court consolidated these two cases under case number 3:16-cv-01466. (Doc. 21).[11]

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Retaliation Claim

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant retaliated against her in violation of Title VII. (Doc. 1 at 18-21, ¶¶ 141-45, No. 3:17-cv-01127).[12] The burden-shifting analysis established by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), applies to Plaintiff's retaliation claim because she has not put forth direct evidence of retaliation. Under McDonnell Douglas, Plaintiff first must establish a prima facie case of retaliation. Id. If she is able to establish a prima facie case of retaliation, then the burden shifts to Defendant to produce a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for the action. Id. Once Defendant meets its burden, then Plaintiff must show that the proffered reason is a pretext for retaliation. Furcron v. Mail Ctrs. Plus, LLC, 843 F.3d 1295, 1310 (11th Cir. 2016).

         To establish a prima facie case for retaliation, a plaintiff must show that: (1) she engaged in statutorily protected activity, (2) she suffered a materially adverse action, and (3) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the materially adverse action. Howard v. Walgreen Co., 605 F.3d 1239, 1244 (11th Cir. 2010). As to the first element, Defendant does not dispute that Plaintiff's filing of three EEOC charges and two lawsuits constitute statutorily protected activity. (Doc. 50, p. 35).[13] Accordingly, the Court proceeds with its analysis of the other factors under the burden-shifting framework.

         Under the next prong of the prima facie case, Plaintiff alleges that she suffered 13 different materially adverse actions:

[1] [Plaintiff's] husband was banned from the premises and taken out of reserves, [2] she was not given the right to appeal her demotion contrary to policy, [3] her co-workers were told not to associate with her, [4] she was followed and verbally harassed and told she was disgruntled and she needed to quit, [5] she was written up on March 10, 2015 wherein she was docked 5 days' pay for sleeping and 5 more days for her complaint of disparate treatment/harassment to the chief, [ 6 ] her doctor's excuse was refused, [7] she was not donated hours by anyone in her department, [8] she was only given half of the hours donated to her, [9] she was written up for pump/breastfeeding breaks, [10] she was written up and docked 14 days' pay because her husband came to the department to bring her lunch, [11] she was written up just three days later because her husband did not come to the department to turn in forms, [12] she was not promoted to Sergeant, and [13] she was involuntarily terminated.

(Doc. 52 at 39-40) (citations omitted). With respect to these actions, the Court considers each of the alleged adverse actions in turn.

         1. Mr. Gentry's ban from police station and removal from reserves

         Plaintiff argues that Mr. Gentry's ban from the police station and removal from officer reserves was “because of [Mr. Gentry's] discussion with the Mayor threatening a lawsuit.” (Doc. 52 at 40). Defendant's argument focuses on Plaintiff not having engaged in a statutorily protected activity yet because Mr. Gentry's accusations occurred “the very day [Plaintiff] was demoted.” (Doc. 53 at 8). However, Plaintiff's argument of a statutorily protected activity concerns Mr. Gentry's alleged threat of a lawsuit to the mayor.

         First, Plaintiff cites a recording to support her statement that Mr. Gentry threatened a lawsuit when talking to the mayor. (See Doc. 39-83). However, this recording does not support her assertion that Mr. Gentry actually threatened a lawsuit. (Id.). Second, Plaintiff generally cites to Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, 562 U.S. 170 (2011) without any discussion. In Thompson, the defendant fired the plaintiff three weeks after his fiancée, who was also an employee of the defendant, filed an EEOC charge alleging sex discrimination. The plaintiff in Thompson then filed an EEOC charge based on retaliation. Id. at 172. The facts in Thompson are clearly distinguishable from the facts in the instant case. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff's reliance on Thompson is misplaced, and Thompson is inapplicable. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not established a prima facie case.

         Assuming, arguendo, that Plaintiff could establish a prima facie case, Defendant has asserted a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for restricting access, i.e., Chief Hargett had “discretion as police chief to restrict access to the police station due to [Mr. Gentry's] baseless accusation.” (Doc. 53 at 8).

         During Mr. Gentry's conversation with Mayor Grissom, Mr. Gentry told the mayor that one of the reasons Plaintiff was demoted was because she was not one of Chief Hargett's “drinking buddies.” (Doc. 28-3 at 24).[14] Chief Hargett attested that “[w]hen [Mr.] Gentry told [] Mayor David Grissom that I demoted Ms. Gentry because she was not one of my ‘drinking buddies,' I decided that Mr. Gentry could no longer serve as a reserve officer and was not welcome at the police station. I instructed him not to come down to the police station for any reason. I did not discipline Plaintiff in any way for her husband's statements.” (Doc. 28-7, ¶ 9). Plaintiff has not shown that her husband's ban and removal from officer reserves was a pretext for retaliating against her.[15] Thus, Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on this claim.

         2. Right to appeal demotion

         Plaintiff asserts that “she was not given the right to appeal her demotion contrary to policy” (Doc. 52 at 39), and that “[a]ny permanent employee, which [she] was, can appeal disciplinary decisions, and demotion is disciplinary.” (Id. at 42-43). Defendant argues that pursuant to City policy, “only permanent (i.e., not probationary) employees are permitted to appeal demotions” and Plaintiff was not a permanent employee. (Doc. 53 at 9). In other words, Defendant argues that it had a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for not allowing Plaintiff to appeal her demotion.

         City policy grants a permanent employee “the right to appeal any disciplinary action . . . .” (Doc. 39-38, Rule X - Rights of Review and Appeal). Plaintiff acknowledges that she was on “promotional probation” when she became a sergeant. (Doc. 28-1 at 104). Thus, Plaintiff was not a permanent employee with respect to the sergeant position. Defendant argues that Plaintiff “has presented no evidence to invalidate the City's showing that she was not permitted to appeal her demotion due to her probationary status.” (Doc. 53 at 9). With no other factual support or authority, Plaintiff has failed to show that that the City's reason for not allowing her to appeal her demotion was a pretext for retaliation. Accordingly, summary judgment is granted on this claim.

         3. Associating with co-workers

         Plaintiff asserts that she suffered an adverse action when “her co-workers were told not to associate with her.” (Doc. 52 at 39). Plaintiff does not discuss the action or provide any evidence in support thereof. Plaintiff testified that when she and her husband had a conversation with Officer Brett Evans about not returning phone calls or texts, he responded that he was “told just to kind of keep my distance from you, that I - until all your stuff is over, I can't really talk to you.” (Doc. 28-1 at 66). Mr. Gentry also testified that Officer Evans told him he was “no longer allowed to talk to us” and that he did not want to lose his job. (Doc. 28-3 at 11).[16] However, Officer Evans did not tell Plaintiff or her husband who told him to keep his distance. (Doc. 28-1 at 67). Plaintiff does not demonstrate who told her co-workers not to associate with her. Plaintiff fails to show an adverse action and thus cannot establish a prima facie case. Accordingly, the Court grants summary judgment on this issue.

         4. Harassing behavior

         Plaintiff asserts that she suffered an adverse action when she was “followed” and “verbally harassed.” (Doc. 52 at 39). Specifically, Plaintiff states, “Supervisor Franks told [her] she was disgruntled and needed to quit, [17] and when [she] told [Officer] Shackelford she could not watch an inmate and breastfeed, he told her she needed to quit again.” (Id. at 42). Plaintiff's only argument is that Sgt. Franks and Lt. Shackelford were supervisors telling her to quit based on “gender based issues.” (Doc. 52 at 42). With no evidence or authority, Plaintiff fails to establish the elements of a prima facie case based on this single statement.

         Even if Plaintiff could establish a prima facie case, Defendant asserts that Sgt. Franks's actions in monitoring Plaintiff's whereabouts and activities were legitimate and nonretaliatory because his actions were consistent with his job duties. (Doc. 53 at 11). Sgt. Franks was Plaintiff's supervisor and thus was responsible for keeping track of her, as well as other officers under his supervision. (Doc. 28-1 at 37). Plaintiff agreed that she had a GPS for that purpose and had no evidence of how much supervision was being given to other officers. (Id. at 37-38). Plaintiff's questioning of how Sgt. Franks could be doing his job properly if he was constantly following her around does not establish pretext. (Doc. 28-1 at 37). Plaintiff does not show that Defendant's reason was a pretext for retaliation. Accordingly, summary judgment is granted on this claim.

         5. Docked pay for sleeping and violating chain of command

         a. Sleeping incident

         Plaintiff asserts that “she was written up on March 10, 2015, wherein she was docked 5 days' pay for sleeping” in her patrol car on March 5, 2016. (Doc. 52 at 40; Doc. 39-39). Defendant does not address whether the plaintiff has established a prima facie case. Accordingly, for purposes of this motion, the Court will assume that Plaintiff has satisfied her burden. Defendant asserts it had a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for Plaintiff's discipline.

         The RPD's Rule of Conduct 100, IV(C)(i)(d) states that “sleeping on duty” is considered a serious violation. (Doc. 28-1 at 138). Plaintiff argues that she was not asleep, but that Sgt. Franks “thought that I was sleeping.” (Id. at 35).[18] This statement does not establish that Defendant's reason for disciplining Plaintiff was a pretext for retaliation. See Williams v. Fla. Atl. Univ., 728 Fed.Appx. 996, 999 (11th Cir. 2018) (holding that “[a]n employer who fires an employee under the mistaken but honest impression that the employee violated a work rule is not liable for discriminatory conduct”) (quoting Damon v. Fleming Supermarkets of Fla., 196 F.3d 1354, 1363, n.3 (11th Cir. 1999)).

         Plaintiff also argues that “the Chief made it clear [sleeping] is okay for safety purposes and admitted everyone does it.” (Doc. 51 at 42).[19] The Plaintiff offers a photograph of Lt. Shackelford sleeping inside the police station. (Doc. 39-18).[20] Plaintiff does not discuss or provide the context of this photograph. Furthermore, Plaintiff has failed to produce evidence of officers sleeping in their patrol cars, as she was, and Chief Hargett being aware of these incidents. (See Doc. 28-4 at 38). Plaintiff has not been able to show ...


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