United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Lynchburg Division
Ronetta W. Jones, Plaintiff,
Best Buy, Defendant.
K. MOON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Norman K. Moon Plaintiff was terminated by her employer, Best
Buy, in March of 2014. Subsequently, she filed suit against
Best Buy for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, §§ 701 et seq., 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e et seq. (“Title
VII”), claiming that she was fired in retaliation for
previously submitting an Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) charge against Best Buy. Construing
Plaintiff's pro se complaint liberally, the
Court also interprets Plaintiff as making a claim of racial
discrimination under Title VII.
on Plaintiff's own sworn statements and others in the
record, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to
present evidence establishing a prima facie case
under Title VII for either retaliation or racial
discrimination. Accordingly, Defendant's motion for
summary judgment will be granted and Plaintiff's case
will be dismissed with prejudice.
is a forty-nine-year-old African-American female who is
proceeding pro se in this case. (Dkt. 18, Exhibit A
at 13 [hereinafter “A13”]). Best Buy hired
Plaintiff on July 17, 2008 (A47-48) and she was later
promoted to the “SWAT” position. (Id.).
Her employment with Best Buy was terminated on March 4, 2014.
November 12, 2013, almost four months before her termination,
Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC. (A72, 74-75; B69-70;
Exhibit L). The charge alleged that Plaintiff was being
discriminated against on the basis of race and presented
three specific grievances that: (1) three recent performance
write-ups were unjustified, (2) a supervisor had made sexual
remarks to her, and (3) a recent hire of a different race was
being given training not available to her. (B69-70; Exhibit
L). Taking into account the entirety of Plaintiff's
evidence, the Commission found that there was insufficient
evidence to establish a violation of the law and dismissed
her charge. (B94-95; Exhibit L).
parties agree that Plaintiff's termination was due at
least in part to, and was certainly initiated by, a time
editing incident that took place on February 3, 2014.
(See A49-50, 71; B60-61). Normally, employees at
Best Buy may not manually edit their start time back to an
earlier time and instead receive credit only for time worked
after they actually clock in. (A151). Sometimes, however, an
employee is permitted to manually enter an earlier start time
when the manager failed to open the store at the start of the
shift, the rationale being that it is the manager and not the
employee who is at fault for the employee's late start in
such instances. (A151-152, 170-171; B8, 33). Such edits are
only permitted when the employee is ready and waiting near
the entrance to the store at the start of their shift and the
only reason for delay is the manager's own tardiness.
February 3, 2014, Plaintiff's shift was scheduled to
start at 7:00 a.m., and she was present in her car in the
parking lot at approximately 6:45 a.m., waiting for her
manager to open the store. (B15, 17-18). However, Plaintiff
“closed her eyes” for a few minutes and did not
notice manager Brittany Bussert open the store at
approximately 7:00 a.m. or shortly thereafter. (B17-18, 20).
Another employee who entered the store with Bussert that
morning was able to clock in at 7:04 a.m. (B18-20, 23-24; D,
¶4; Exhibit N). At 7:09 a.m., Bussert texted plaintiff
“You good?” after which Plaintiff entered the
store and eventually clocked in at 7:11 a.m. (Text message
(B19-20, 21, 24-25, 28; Exhibit O); Time of entry (A71; B22,
30-31; Exhibit Q)). Plaintiff then manually edited her time
back to reflect a 7:00 a.m. start time, thereby receiving
compensation for time worked between 7 a.m. and 7:11 a.m.
another supervisor at Best Buy, Dylan Litchford, noticed
Plaintiff's time edit when auditing the records and
reported it to the Human Resource Support Center (HRSC).
(B39-40; Exhibit D, ¶5). Litchford had a duty to report
any such time edit discrepancies he encountered. (A152-153).
The matter was referred to Nikhil Das at HRSC for evaluation.
(E, ¶5). Plaintiff was informed on February 10, 2014
that her employment with Best Buy was suspended pending an
investigation of the time edit. (B52-53). During the
investigation, Das made several attempts to contact
Plaintiff, but was unsuccessful. (B54-56). After receiving
approval from HRSC, Plaintiff's manager Aaron Watson
implemented her termination on March 4, 2014. (C, ¶6; E,
¶6; Exhibit S; A51-52). The sole reason given for
Plaintiff's termination was her time edit violation.
(B60-61; Exhibit S).
February 10, 2016, Plaintiff initiated the present complaint
against Best Buy, alleging violations of Title VII. (Dkt. 1).
On September 14, 2016, Defendants filed their motion for
summary judgment. (Dkt. 18). Plaintiff, proceeding pro
se, has not filed a response despite being given ample
notice and opportunity to respond pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975).
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that a court should
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.” “As
to materiality . . . [o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). In order to preclude summary judgment, the dispute
about a material fact must be “‘genuine, '
that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Id.; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Washington
Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir.
2001). If, however, the evidence of a genuine issue of
material fact “is merely colorable or is not
significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. In
considering a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56, a
court must view the record as a whole and draw all reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. See, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986); Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d
791, 798 (4th Cir. 1994).