United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
M. HILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
case arises from Plaintiff Kenya Brown's employment with
Akima, LLC. Plaintiff is African American and began working
for Akima as an independent contractor in November 2014.
Akima offered Plaintiff full-time employment as an IT
Solutions Analyst on or about May 18, 2015. Plaintiff was an
at-will employee at Akima.
Plaintiff worked for Akima's Finance Department, with
Scott Bohinc as her supervisor. Plaintiff was then
transferred to a Akima's IT department and Navid Falconer
became her supervisor. Plaintiff frequently sent emails to
Falconer but did not receive a response in a timely manner.
Falconer would eventually respond to her emails. Plaintiff
received performance reviews in which her supervisors gave
her positive reviews. She did not receive a pay increase.
There were other Akima employees who received pay raises.
There is no evidence showing that anyone who reported to her
supervisor, Falconer, or held the same role as her as an IT
Solutions Analyst received a pay raise.
2017, Plaintiff requested that she be permitted to attend the
annual Deltek Users Conference, which she was previously
permitted to attend when she worked for the Finance
Department. On September 30r 2017, Akima informed
her that she would not be allowed to attend the conference.
Ms. Quam, who had the same supervisor and Plaintiff
occasionally assisted in her work, was permitted to attend
the conference. Ms. Quam held a higher-level manager position
than Plaintiff. Plaintiff names three other Akima employees
who were permitted to attend the conference as well, all who
were level director or manager employees performing different
positions than Plaintiff. One of the employees permitted to
attend the conference was African American.
complained to her former supervisor, Bohinc, about not being
able to attend the conference. She felt she was being treated
differently than other employees by not being able to attend.
Plaintiff did not use the word "race" when she was
informally complaining to Bohinc. She did not indicate any
concern that it was because of her race.
point during her employment with Akima, some of
Plaintiff's colleagues made unfavorable comments to her.
The comments were: ``I know how to do my job.";
"You're not going to tell me how to do my
job."; "There's not a problem. I don't know
why you're here." Plaintiff reported the comments to
management. Plaintiff does not know why the comments were
made. Two of the individuals who made the comments are also
summer of 2017, Defendant looked for ways to consolidate
positions or fill work needs in a more cost-effective way.
After analyzing Plaintiff's duties, Falconer discovered
that Plaintiff's job did not have enough work to warrant
a full-time position. In July 2017, Falconer spoke with
Akima's Human Resources Department about making
Plaintiff's position part-time.
was notified on October 6, 2017 that her position was no
longer needed as a full-time role. Plaintiff was offered a
part-time, on-call position. Plaintiff was told by her
supervisor, Falconer, that if she took the on-call position,
Akima would send her to the User Conference. Plaintiff did
not take the on-call position because it was not full-time
and did not offer any benefits.
did not file a formal internal complaint with Akima regarding
race discrimination at any point in her employment. The
employee separation agreement between Plaintiff and Akima
states that the parties agreed to "mutually sever the
employment relationship" on October 20, 2017.
Plaintiff left Akima, her duties were initially assumed by
Macky Wilson and his team, which included Jason Yu and Joanna
Weaver. Wilson is African American. Akima currently contracts
with an African-American to do the work previously performed
November 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")
alleging discrimination based on race. On November 20, 2017,
EEOC notified Plaintiff that it was closing its file on her
charge based on the assertion that Akima was exempt from
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
filed suit in this court on February 20, 2018 against
Defendant Akima, alleging five counts: 1) violation of 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq. - discrimination based
on race; 2) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; 3) violation
of Fairfax County Code §11-1-1 et seq.; 4) retaliation;
and 5) hostile work environment.
filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on January 17, 2019.
Plaintiff responded in opposition. The Court finds ...