280 F.3d 576 (5th Cir. 2002), 01-50015, Ramirez v. Landry's Seafood Inn & Oyster Bar

Docket Nº:01-50015.
Citation:280 F.3d 576
Party Name:Shirley RAMIREZ, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LANDRY'S SEAFOOD INN & OYSTER BAR; Landry's Seafood Restaurant, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:February 04, 2002
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 576

280 F.3d 576 (5th Cir. 2002)

Shirley RAMIREZ, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

LANDRY'S SEAFOOD INN & OYSTER BAR; Landry's Seafood Restaurant, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 01-50015.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

February 4, 2002

Rehearing Denied March 7, 2002.

Gustavo L. Acevedo, Jr. (argued), San Antonio, TX, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Kevin M. Sadler (argued), Kelly Diane Walton, Baker Botts, Austin, TX, for Defendants-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Before JOLLY, SMITH and BENAVIDES, Circuit Judges.

Page 577

E. GRADY JOLLY, Circuit Judge:

Shirley Ramirez, a Hispanic woman, has adduced enough evidence for a jury to find that her former employer, Landry's Seafood Inn ("Landry's"), violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, by discharging her based on her national origin. We therefore reverse the grant of summary judgment by the district court in favor of Landry's and remand for further proceedings.

I

Ramirez was employed as a waitress at Landry's from 1990 until she was discharged in 1995. In December 1995, two managers at Landry's, Carol Cree and Wendi Scarborough, informed general manager Patrick Richardson--based on second-hand reports--that Ramirez planned to stage a walkout en masse in the middle of a shift and had spread an unfounded rumor that a manager had been fired for calling in sick. Ramirez denies planning a massive walkout 1 and denies spreading a rumor. Following a meeting of Landry's managers, Richardson terminated Ramirez on December 9, 1995. A contemporaneous report documenting the termination indicates that Ramirez was fired because: (1) "[s]he has been working behind the scenes attempting to lure fellow employees to leave Landry's" and (2) "she is spreading rumors about a manager being fired for calling in sick."

Ramirez filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that she was discharged based on her national origin in violation of Title VII. Based on its investigation of Ramirez's allegations, the EEOC issued a right to sue letter stating that it found reasonable cause to believe that Ramirez's discharge was the result of illegal discrimination. In August 1999, Ramirez filed this Title VII action against Landry's. After nine months of discovery, Landry's filed a motion for summary judgment. Accepting the magistrate judge's recommendation, the district court granted Landry's motion in November 2000. Ramirez now appeals.

II

The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Landry's because "Ramirez has wholly failed to present any evidence to support an...

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