Guliford v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 90-1013 C.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
Writing for the CourtCROW
Citation768 F. Supp. 313
PartiesDorothy M. GULIFORD, Plaintiff, v. BEECH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION, Defendant.
Docket NumberNo. 90-1013 C.,90-1013 C.
Decision Date23 July 1991

768 F. Supp. 313

Dorothy M. GULIFORD, Plaintiff,

No. 90-1013 C.

United States District Court, D. Kansas.

July 23, 1991.

768 F. Supp. 314

Pantaleon Florez, Jr., Topeka, Kan., for plaintiff.

Larry B. Spikes and Kathryn Gardner, Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Swartz, Wichita, Kan., for defendant.


CROW, District Judge.

The case comes before the court on the defendant's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment (Dk. 31). Plaintiff brings this employment discrimination case alleging that on the basis of her race and in retaliation, she was denied promotions and transfers, was demoted, was transferred and was a victim of harassment. Plaintiff seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII). Defendant seeks summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims but the Title VII claim for discriminatory transfer on August 24, 1988.

Defendant styles its motion as one to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Whenever the movant or respondent submit matters outside the pleadings and the court accepts those matters in making its decision, Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will govern the motion. Torres v. First State Bank of Sierra County, 550 F.2d 1255, 1257 (10th Cir.1977). Plaintiff has been adequately notified that the defendant is also seeking summary judgment by its motion. Having relied upon those matters submitted by the parties that are outside the pleadings, the court will treat the motion as one for summary judgment.

768 F. Supp. 315

Without weighing the evidence or determining credibility, the court grants summary judgment when no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Essentially, the inquiry is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-252, 106 S.Ct. at 2511-2512.

An issue of fact is "genuine" if the evidence is significantly probative or more than merely colorable such that a jury could reasonably return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at 2510. An issue of fact is "material" if proof of it might affect the outcome of the lawsuit. 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. at 2510. Factual inferences are drawn to favor the existence of triable issues, and where reasonable minds could ultimately reach different conclusions, summary judgment is inappropriate. See Riley v. Brown & Root, Inc., 896 F.2d 474, 476-77 (10th Cir.1990).

More than a "disfavored procedural shortcut," summary judgment is an important procedure "designed `to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.' Fed.R.Civ.P. 1." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2555, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Though a court should be cautious to grant summary judgment in a discrimination case when intent is at issue, such motions are useful to weed out those claims and cases obviously lacking merit. Summers v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 864 F.2d 700, 709 (10th Cir.1988); Schwenke v. Skaggs Alpha Beta, Inc., 858 F.2d 627, 628 (10th Cir.1988). Plaintiff must come forth with specific facts to show a genuine issue of material fact; mere assertions or conjecture as to intent or pretext is not enough to survive summary judgment. Branson v. Price River Coal Co., 853 F.2d 768, 771-72 (10th Cir.1988).

With few exceptions, the parties have not controverted each other's statement of facts. Rather than repeat them here, the court simply adopts the uncontroverted facts as stated. A brief summary of the relevant facts is an adequate background for the legal rulings which follow.

After her lay off from Salina, plaintiff was recalled to Beech's facility in Wichita, approximately five months later, on May 6, 1985, as a metal bond worker in Department 326. She transferred from this department to Department 378 on June 6, 1988, on her own request. Beech transferred her back to Department 326 effective August 29, 1988.

On April 1, 1989, plaintiff filed a race discrimination charge with the Kansas Commission on Civil Rights ("KCCR"). The sole allegation in that charge is:

I was hired by the employer on 11-29-76. My Badge Number is 70792. On 8-24-88 I was told I was disqualified as an Inspector in Department 378, (Quality Assurance). I believe that I was disqualified due to my race, Black.

This is the only discrimination charge filed by plaintiff against Beech.

During discovery, plaintiff has identified the following claims:

a) failure to promote her from Department 326 metal bond worker to Department 326 crew chief on the following dates: October 1, 1987; October 9, 1987; December of 1989; February 19, 1989; and June 8, 1989.
b) failure to transfer from Department 326 metal bond worker to inspector on the following dates: March 23, 1989 (Andover plant); and Fall of 1989 (Plant II).
c) demotions from inspector to Department 326 metal bond worker on the following dates: August 29, 1988 (from Department 378); February 27, 1989 (from Department 378); and August 14, 1989 (from Department 78-5).
d) harassment on a number of specified and unspecified dates from August through December 1988, August 1989, and April through May of 1990.
e) retaliation concerning most of the discriminatory conduct referenced in the above categories.
768 F. Supp. 316


As reflected in the pretrial order, the plaintiff is not bringing any claim for relief under the Fourteenth Amendment.


Defendant contends plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies on the Title VII claims with the exception of her disqualification from inspector in August 1988 which is the only act of discrimination specifically mentioned in her administrative charge. Plaintiff briefly responds that her other race discrimination claims are "like" the allegations in the charge and that the adverse actions occurring after the charge was filed were retaliation for the charge.

Before a Title VII suit is filed in federal court, the aggrieved individual must exhaust administrative remedies. Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 47, 94 S.Ct. 1011, 1019, 39 L.Ed.2d 147 (1974). The administrative remedies are exhausted when the claimant files a timely charge of discrimination with the appropriate administrative agency and then receives and acts upon the statutory notice of the right to sue. Id. The enforcement of these exhaustion requirements ensures the EEOC the opportunity to conduct its investigatory and conciliatory procedures before any suit is filed on the charges. Evans v. U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co., 696 F.2d 925, 929 (11th Cir.1983).

The exhaustion requirements are enforced in part by the general rule that the judicial complaint can include only claims which were the precise subject of the administrative charge and any claims of "`discrimination like or reasonably related to the allegations of the EEOC charge, including new acts occurring during the pendency of the charge before the EEOC.'" Brown v. Hartshorne Public School Dist. No. 1, 864 F.2d 680, 682 (10th Cir.1988) (quoting Oubichon v. North American Rockwell Corp., 482 F.2d 569, 571 (9th Cir.1973)). The proper scope of the judicial complaint is determined from both the EEOC charge and the EEOC investigation. Sosa v. Hiraoka, 920 F.2d 1451, 1456 (9th Cir.1990). The EEOC charge is construed liberally. Sosa, 920 F.2d at 1456; Lange v. Cigna Individual Financial Services Co., 759 F.Supp. 764, 767 (D.Kan.1991); see also Powers v. Grinnell Corp., 915 F.2d 34, 38-39 (1st Cir. 1990) (EEOC charge is not a "blueprint for the litigation" or a "common-law pleading," nor need it presage exactly the judicial pleadings; instead, it is "a jurisdictional springboard" for the EEOC's investigation of discriminatory practices); Rush v. McDonald's Corp., 760 F.Supp. 1349, 1355 (S.D.Ind.1991) (Charge of discrimination is construed "with the utmost liberality"). The court must also consider whether the EEOC's investigation actually included, or should have included, the additional claims not expressly stated in the administrative charge. "The critical question is whether the claims set forth in the civil complaint come within the `scope of the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination.'" Powers, 915 F.2d at 39 (citations omitted); see also Sosa, 920 F.2d at 1456; Whitten v. Farmland Industries, Inc., No. 88-2637-0 (D.Kan. Apr. 25, 1991) (1991 WL 75695, 1991 US Dist. Lexis 6075); Rucker v. Frito-Lay, Inc., No. 89-4172-S (D.Kan. Nov. 21, 1990) (1990 WL 203167, 1990 US Dist. Lexis 16566). In applying these rules, the court must remain mindful that the EEOC's investigative and conciliatory role should not be frustrated nor the employer deprived of all reasonable notice. Babrocky v. Jewel Food Co. and Retail Meatcutters, 773 F.2d 857, 863 (7th Cir. 1985).

The EEOC's written determination on plaintiff's charge is the only evidence of record concerning the actual scope of the EEOC's investigation. The EEOC's determination shows the investigation was confined to plaintiff's disqualification from inspector because of her inability to read blueprints accurately and complete forms properly. The EEOC also considered whether defendant gave plaintiff the time to obtain those skills and for additional attempts at qualifying. Because of the scant allegations in plaintiff's administrative

768 F. Supp. 317
charge, this court has no reason to find that it could be reasonably expected that the EEOC's investigation would be broader than it actually was. The EEOC's determination indicates the investigation included plaintiff's other attempts at qualification which apparently occurred on February 27, 1989 and August 14...

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