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Rebecca A. Young-Losee v. Graphic Packaging International

January 26, 2011

REBECCA A. YOUNG-LOSEE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
GRAPHIC PACKAGING INTERNATIONAL, INC., ALTIVITY PACKAGING LLC,
JIM SHELLEY, AND BEVERLY ADAIR, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Benton, Circuit Judge.

Submitted: November 4, 2010

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BYE and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

Rebecca Ann Young-Losee sued Graphic Packaging International, Inc., Altivity Packaging LLC, James Shelley and Beverly Adair (collectively "GPI"), asserting sex discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.§ 2000e-3 et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act ("ICRA"), Iowa Code ch. 216. GPI moved for summary judgment on all counts. Young-Losee opposed summary judgment on the retaliation claim. The district court granted GPI's motion on all claims.

Jurisdiction being proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court reverses and remands.

I.

This court states the facts in the light most favorable to Young-Losee. See Fercello v. County of Ramsey, 612 F.3d 1069, 1077 (8th Cir. 2010). In 2004, Young-Losee began working for a predecessor of GPI, in its Des Moines plant. In the spring of 2008, she applied for an administrative assistant position under Adair. Young-Losee accepted the position in April 2008.

Shortly after she began as an administrative assistant, Adair began harassing her. Adair insulted her between three and thirteen times a day, calling her "retarded," "crippled," "stupid," and a "bitch." Additionally, Adair elbowed Young-Losee and stuck her finger out at her.

Within three days of accepting the position, Young-Losee complained to plant supervisor Shelley twice, to the office manager two or three times, to the production manager about fifteen times, and also twice to the plant's human resources ("HR") representative. About one month after starting the new position, Young-Losee filed a "Formal complaint of harassment" with the HR representative, who recommended that Young-Losee email her complaint to a marketing manager at the Georgia headquarters.

On Tuesday, May 6, Shelley and two managers met with Young-Losee to discuss the formal complaint. Shelley interrupted Young-Losee and did not permit her to speak at the meeting. He eventually wadded up the complaint, threw it in the garbage can, and told Young-Losee that it was "total bullshit." The meeting ended when Shelley pointed to the door, told Young-Losee, "I want you out of here," and said that he never wanted to see her again.

Young-Losee believed that she was fired at the meeting. The meeting ended two minutes before the end of her normal work day. She left after the meeting and did not return to work the next day. She experienced stress, anxiety attacks, and had trouble sleeping. The firing also created tension between Young-Losee and her husband, who still worked at GPI.

On Wednesday, May 7, Young-Losee emailed the marketing manager, stating that she was an employee "as of yesterday," but was "pushed out the door" after filing a formal complaint. That day, the marketing manager alerted the HR director for GPI, located in Illinois. The HR director called Young-Losee in the afternoon on Thursday, May 8, and told her she was not terminated. She also told Young-Losee that she would investigate the complaint and follow up with her.

The HR director traveled to Des Moines, conducting an investigation that was completed on Wednesday, May 14. That day, she called Young-Losee and told her that she should return to work, but Young-Losee responded that she would not return because she was unsatisfied with GPI's actions. The HR director then notified her that GPI would treat her refusal to ...


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