Floyd v. Communications Workers of America, Civil Action No. 3:02-cv-1588WS.

Decision Date17 March 2006
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 3:02-cv-1588WS.
Citation532 F.Supp.2d 816
PartiesBridgette Ann FLOYD, Plaintiff v. COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Mississippi

Bridgette Ann Floyd, Mendenhall, MS, pro se.

John Lee Quinn, Nakamura, Quinn & Walls, LLP, Birmingham, AL, for Defendants.


HENRY T. WINGATE, Chief Judge.

Before the court is the motion of the defendants, the Communications Workers of America and the International Union of Electrical Workers1 for summary judgment brought pursuant to Rules 56(b) and (c)2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [Docket No. 23-1]. On October 15, 2002, the plaintiff, proceeding pro se, but supposedly relying on the, counsel of a Tennessee attorney, filed the instant complaint, claiming that she had been denied permanent employment with the Communications Workers of America, while similarly situated Caucasian-Americans had been hired by, the union. The plaintiff further claimed that Caucasian-Americans with less seniority than the plaintiff were paid more for similar work. The plaintiff also claimed to be the victim of sexual harassment, which she says she reported and which was allegedly ignored by her employer.

Plaintiff brings her complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 703(a)(1), which deals with unlawful employment practices and provides in pertinent part that "jilt shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer — (1) [t]o fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin...." Title 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(1). This court's jurisdiction over this dispute is provided by statute, § 706(f)(3) of Title VII which establishes federal court jurisdiction over' actions brought under Title VII. See Title 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).3


The International Union of Electrical Workers, organized in 1949, reached a record high membership of 320,000 in 1970. Then, between 1970 and 1980, membership receded almost 100,000 due to plant closings and lay-offs. By 1996, say defendants, membership was down to 125,000 and receding. By 2000, membership had dwindled to 113,000. In 1995, say defendants, the International Union of Electrical Workers' assets were depleted and the organization had a deficit of almost $1,000,000.00. So, in order to cut costs, the organization offered early retirement to its employees, conducted layoffs, and cut its full time staff by fifty employees between 1997 and 2004. These dire circumstances, say defendants, motivated all their personnel decisions and policies.

The parties agree that the plaintiff was hired in August of 1999 for the position of "Temporary Organizer," and that she worked part-time. In her position, plaintiff was to assist with the organization of the employees of the Head Start Program in eleven Mississippi counties. According to the defendants, the plaintiff was paid on an hourly basis and was not eligible for either full-time employee's benefits or union membership. Furthermore, say defendants, being hired as a part-time employee was no guarantee of full-time employment.

The plaintiff eventually was laid off from her employment with the International Union of Electrical Workers, allegedly due to a reduction-in-force on November 30, 2001. When the Communications Workers of America and the International Union of Electrical Workers merged and became the IUE-CWA in Mississippi, the full-time employees of both organizations became employees of the Communications Workers of America. This policy, say defendants, did not apply to temporary and part-time workers such as the plaintiff. Moreover, say defendants, temporary organizers (or "blue voucher" workers), such as the plaintiff, had never been included in any collective bargaining agreement between the Communications Workers of America and its employees.

The defendants also say that after their merger they still were operating over their budget, so, they decided that further cuts of employee positions were in order. With regard to the plaintiffs position, the defendants decided to continue its organization efforts in the Mississippi area with just one full-time staff member. This meant that the plaintiffs part-time position would have to be eliminated. Additionally, say defendants, the plaintiff, as a recently hired employee, should be among the first to be terminated.

As events transpired, a permanent staff member for the Communications Workers, one Althea Baptist, an African-American organizer in South Carolina, was moved to Mississippi to provide support services to the merged organizations in the Mississippi area. The person who was occupying the support position to be taken over by Althea Baptist was Connie Speight, an African-American and also a permanent staff member. Connie Speight was tapped for the full-time organizer position which the plaintiff had hoped to get, and the plaintiff was terminated after notice on November 30, 2001.

The plaintiff was "replaced" by an African-American and cannot present a prima facie case of discrimination, argue defendants. Furthermore, the defendants say that the plaintiff never submitted her sexual harassment claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for administrative exhaustion. Accordingly, the defendants ask this court to grant them summary judgment as to the plaintiffs Title VII claims, apparently the only claims asserted in the complaint.

The plaintiff did not respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment as required by the rules of this court which direct a nonmoving party to present a memorandum' of authorities in response and in opposition to the motion. The defendants' motion fore summary was filed in November of 2004. Pursuant to Rule 7.2(D) of the Uniform Rules of this court, the plaintiffs response was due "within ten days after service of the movant's memorandum." The plaintiff offered no response whatsoever until January of 2005 when she sought additional time to respond. Subsequently, the plaintiff submitted what she purported to be a response to the motion for summary judgment which contains many assertions and accusations. The defendants contend that the plaintiff has submitted nothing more than her own conclusory, subjective belief that she had been terminated from her employment with the defendants for discriminatory reasons, assertions which with the defendants disagree. Auguster v. Vermilion Pariah School Board, 249 F.3d 400; 403 (5th 2001). The defendants further contend that the plaintiff has submitted no deuce to support her claim of discriminatory termination, and, most tellingly, that she has never submitted her claim of sexual harassment to the EEOC.4


No right-to-sue letter appears in the record. Exhibits "M" and "N" attached to the defendants' motion for summary judgment show that the plaintiff filed an EEOC charge on October 12, 2001, Charge No. 131-A2-00065, over one month before being laid off on November 30, 2001. The plaintiff amended her EEOC charge on February 27, 2002, claiming retaliation for the filing of the October 12, 2001, charge. The initial discrimination charge states that the plaintiff was the victim of racial discrimination because she was not permitted to join the Communications Workers of America and was being laid off, while Caucasian Americans were being paid pore and were not being, laid off.

Employment discrimination plaintiffs must exhaust their administrative remedies before pursuing claims in federal court. Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 379 (5th Cir.2002). Exhaustion occurs when the plaintiff files a timely charge with the EEOC and receives a statutory notice of right to sue. Dao v. Auchan Hypermarket, 96 F.3d 787, 788-89 (5th Cir.1996). Title 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) provides in pertinent part as follows:

... if within one hundred and eighty days from the filing of such charge or the expiration of any period of reference under subsection (a) or (d) of this section, whichever is later, the Commission has not filed a civil action under this section or the Attorney General has not filed a civil action in a case involving a government, governmental agency, or political subdivision, or the Commission has not entered into a conciliation agreement to which the person aggrieved is a party, the Commission, or the Attorney General in a case involving a government, governmental agency, or political subdivision, shall so notify the person aggrieved and within ninety days after the giving of such notice a civil action, May be brought against the respondent named in the charge (A) by the person claiming to be aggrieved....

So, Title VII provides that claimants have ninety (90) days to file a civil action after receipt of such a notice, or right-to-sue letter, from the EEOC. Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., at 379, citing Nilsen v. City of Moss Point, Miss., 674 F.2d 379, 381 (5th Cir.1982); Title 42 § 2000e-5(f)(1). This requirement to file a lawsuit within the ninety-day limitation period is strictly construed. Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., at 379; Ringgold v. National Maintenance Corporation, 796 F.2d 769, 770 (5th Cir.1986).

In the instant case the plaintiff filed her first charge with the EEOC on October 12, 2001. Then, the plaintiff amended her charge to, include a claim of retaliation on February 27, 2002. This court is now informed that Charge No. 131-A2-00065 was closed and the right-to-letter issued on July 18, 2002. Since the plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit on October 15, 2002, her filing of the instant lawsuit is, timely.


The plaintiffs complaint states that the plaintiff is a resident of Mendenhall in Simpson County...

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    ...... must demonstrate that employees outside [his] protected class received preferential treatment ...." Floyd v. Commc'ns Workers of Am., 532 F.Supp.2d 816, 825 (S.D. Miss. 2006) (emphasis added). Thus, the Court finds that this argument is also insufficient to establish pretext.e. Ewing's ......
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