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Wade v. Sanford Medical Center

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division

August 10, 2018




         Plaintiff Diane Wade (Wade) filed a Complaint against Defendant Sanford Medical Center (SMC) alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., (Count I), hostile work environment in violation of Title VII (Count II), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count III), negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count IV), and punitive damages (Count V). Doc. 1. SMC moved for summary judgment, Doc. 14, which Wade opposed, Doc. 24. For the reasons explained below, this Court grants SMC's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Undisputed Facts[1]

         A. Wade's History and Conduct Leading to Termination

         Wade began her career with SMC on August 8, 1991, when SMC was known as Sioux Valley Hospital. Doc. 15 at ¶ 1; Doc. 26 at ¶ 1. SMC terminated Wade's employment on September 18, 2014, when Wade was 54 years old. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 2, 6; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 2, 6. At the time of her termination, Wade was the lead pediatric cardiac ultrasound sonographer in the pediatric unit, but was dually certified to work in both the pediatric and adult cardiac sonography units. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 3, 5; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 3, 5. Wade also was a formal preceptor in the pediatric unit whereby she received additional compensation when she was training new employees, a position which required Wade to undergo additional training. Doc. 15 at ¶ 4; Doc. 26 at ¶ 4.

         SMC has an Attendance and Punctuality policy which outlines the expectations for employees of SMC with respect to their attendance and punctuality. The policy states that "[e]mployees have the personal responsibility to ensure that they are at their work station and are ready to work at the starting time of their assigned shift. Reliable and consistent attendance is required for job performance success." Doc. 15 at ¶ 9; Doc. 16-10 at 1. The Attendance and Punctuality policy further establishes that when "an employee does not meet the attendance expectations outlined, they will be subject to the progressive discipline process" and directs employees to reference the Discipline policy. Doc. 16-10 at 3. SMC's progressive discipline procedure begins with an informal process consisting of communication with the employee by the manager, requiring no documentation or involvement of the Human Resources Department. Doc. 16-11 at 2. If attendance and punctuality problems persist, the process progresses from verbal reminders to written warnings, and then to Decision Making Leave (DML) prior to involuntary termination.[2] Doc. 16-11 at 3.

         During her annual evaluation in May of 2008, Wade's supervisor-at that time Tom Denevan-spoke with Wade about her tardiness and the expectation that SMC employees be clocked in and prepared to work at the start of their scheduled shift.[3] Doc. 15 at ¶ 12. Meanwhile, Wade's 2008 annual evaluation recorded that she "Meets Expectations" or "Exceeds Expectations" in every category for which she was evaluated, and did not mention any attendance issues. Doc. 26 at ¶ 12; Doc. 28-2.

         Wade received a written warning on December 9, 2008, which raised punctuality and productivity concerns. Doc. 15 at ¶ 13; Doc. 26 at ¶ 13; Doc. 16-8 at 28-29. The warning stated that Wade had a tardiness percentage of 80 percent for the 46 in-house shifts for which she was scheduled from September 20 to December 9, 2008. Doc. 15 at ¶ 14; Doc. 26 at ¶ 14. The documents warned Wade that failure to comply with SMC's Attendance and Punctuality policy would result in further disciplinary action. Doc. 15 at ¶ 15; Doc. 26 at ¶ 15. However, in Wade's 2009 annual evaluation her supervisor noted that "Dianef's] attendance is much improved meeting supervisor[']s expectations since our 12/09/08 discussion." Doc. 26 at ¶ 14; Doc. 28-3; Doc. 30-5 at 6. In that evaluation, Wade received a rating of "Exceeds Expectations" or "Outstanding Performance" in every category for which she was rated. Doc. 30-5 at 1-5.

         Wade received a second written warning concerning punctuality and productivity on October 28, 2009.[4] Doc. 15 at ¶ 16; Doc. 16-8 at 25-27. The warning stated that Wade clocked in late for 9 of 15 in-house shifts for which she was scheduled from September 2 to October 12, 2009, for a tardiness percentage of 60 percent. Doc. 15 at ¶ 17; Doc. 16-8 at 25. The written warning informed Wade that "future concerns will result in further disciplinary action up to and including termination." Doc. 16-8 at 26. Wade signed the written warning on November 16, 2009, and under "Employee Response" she handwrote an action plan to address her tardiness, among other issues. Doc. 16-8 at 27. Wade's 2010 annual evaluation documented that she received the written warning in October of 2009, but it made no further mention of attendance or punctuality issues and Wade received ratings of "Meets Expectations" or above in every category for which she was evaluated. Doc. 28-4 at 1-11.

         Sandra Josko (Josko) became the Cardiovascular Services (CVS) diagnostic manager in the summer of 2011. Doc. 15 at ¶ 20; Doc. 26 at ¶ 20. As CVS manager, Josko supervised the adult and pediatric cardiac sonography units, making her Wade's direct supervisor as of the summer of 2011 until Wade's termination in 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 7, 20, 22; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 7, 20, 22. Josko managed the staff and created the schedules for both the adult and pediatric cardiac sonography units. Doc. 15 at ¶ 22; Doc. 26 at ¶ 22.

         Josko spoke with Wade regarding her tardiness percentage for the pay period from November 27 through December 10, 2011. Doc. 15 at ¶ 23; Doc. 26 at ¶ 23. Josko's later email to Wade stated that Wade was late for every shift during that pay period, and for shifts during the prior pay period as well. Doc. 16-8 at 40. However, the tardiness percentage for this time period was recorded at 75 percent in later documentation. See Doc. 16-13 at 2. Wade's 2011 annual evaluation, dated May 16, 2011, did not refer to any attendance issues, noted that Wade is an extremely skilled sonographer, and gave Wade a "Meets Expectations" or "Exceeds Expectations" under every evaluative category. Doc. 28-5 at 8. In her 2012 annual evaluation, dated August 28, 2012, Wade again met or exceeded expectations in all evaluative categories, though her manager documented that "[i]t was requested that [Wade] work on her punctuality and to be here when her shift started, [and Wade] has made an effort to be more dependable." Doc. 28-6 at 8. That evaluation also noted Wade "is committed to Sanford Health and the standards of care [SMC] provide patients." Doc. 28-6 at 8.

         Wade had another conversation with Josko and other supervisors in November of 2012 regarding her tardiness percentages during several previous pay periods. Doc. 15 at ¶ 24; Doc. 26 at ¶ 24. According to SMC business records, Wade had a tardiness percentage of 50 percent from November 19 through November 30; 0 percent for the 2 shifts worked between November 5 and November 16; 80 percent from October 22 through November 1; 50 percent from October 8 through October 19; 40 percent from September 24 through October 5; and 0 percent for the two shifts worked between September 17 and September 21.[5] Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 25-28; Doc. 16-8 at 22; Doc. 16-13 at 2.

         On December 5, 2012, Wade was placed on a DML. Doc. 16-8 at 22-23. The DML paperwork stated that "[Wade] has not followed Sanford's guidelines for Punctuality. [Wade] has had many verbal conversations as well as Written Warnings regarding her tardiness. Her tardiness continues to fall outside of Sanford's expectations." Doc. 16-8 at 22. The DML further directed that Wade was to present an action plan when she returned on December 6, 2012, detailing how she would commit to meeting performance expectations or resign her position. Doc. 16-8 at 22. The final paragraph of the DML stated that "[t]his is the final step in the discipline process. If you commit to staying in your position, you need to commit to fully acceptable attendance and punctuality. Failure to meet the Sanford expectation of performance will result in termination of your employment." Doc. 16-8 at 23. The DML documentation was signed by Wade, Josko, and a representative from Human Resources. Doc. 16-8 at 23. Wade also hand wrote an action plan, dated December 5, 2012, indicating she would leave for work 15 minutes earlier and would contact Josko in the event she was delayed on her way to work. Doc. 16-8 at 24.

         Wade left her shift on December 31, 2012, to attend a personal appointment and rescheduled a patient appointment to do so. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 37-38; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 37-38. Josko emailed Wade to explain that, because Wade left her shift without prior management approval, her absence would be documented as an unapproved absence, and attached portions of the Attendance and Punctuality policy which establish that employees "must receive prior authorization from their supervisor before leaving Sanford premises during their scheduled work hours." Doc. 16-8 at 50; see also Doc. 16-10 at 2. Wade's 2013 annual evaluation, dated June 4, 2013, documented that she was placed on a DML in December of 2012 for excessive tardiness, though it did not mention the December 31, 2012 appointment incident. Doc. 28-7. While the evaluation noted that Wade "often needs to be remined that she holds a position at Sanford as a dual registered sonographer, which comes with more responsibility than a single registered sonographer[, ]" Wade received scores of "Meets Expectations," "Exceeds Expectations," or "Outstanding Performance" in each evaluative category. Doc. 28-7 at 2-7. Wade's 2014 annual evaluation also noted that she meets or exceeds expectations in every evaluative category but documented that Wade "continues to struggle with time management." Doc. 28-8 at 8.

         On July 30, 2014, Wade submitted a Paid Time Off (PTO) request for September 10 through September 15, 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶ 43; Doc. 26 at ¶ 43. Pediatric cardiac sonographers at SMC are able to submit PTO requests up to six months in advance. Doc. 15 at ¶ 42; Doc. 26 at ¶ 42. Wade requested the PTO to go on a trip with her husband, and her husband had purchased the airline tickets for the trip prior to Josko's August 19, 2014 response to Wade's PTO request. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 44-45; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 44-45. On that day, Josko emailed Wade to inform her that she could not grant Wade's request for PTO on September 12, stating that another pediatric sonographer, Sarah Bohnenberger (Bohnenberger), had requested PTO for that same date prior to Wade's request. Doc. 15 at ¶ 46; Doc. 26 at ¶ 46. There were two pediatric cardiologists scheduled to see patients at Sanford Children's Hospital on September 12, 2014, and SMC's policy was to have two pediatric cardiac sonographers available to scan patients on such days. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 47-48; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 47-48. SMC required a total of four pediatric cardiac sonographers on September 12, 2014, because in addition to the two required at the Children's Hospital, SMC policy required one sonographer to be on call to cover the hospital and neonatal intensive care unit and an additional sonographer was needed to cover an athletic screening scheduled on that same date. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 49-50; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 49-50. At the time Josko denied Wade's request for PTO, SMC employed a total of five pediatric cardiac sonographers. Doc. 15 at ¶ 50; Doc. 26 at ¶ 50.

         Wade responded to Josko's email on August 20, 2014, stating "I will start working on it[, ] I already have plane tickets." Doc. 15 at ¶ 51; Doc. 26 at ¶ 51. Josko responded that "[t]here are no options for staff. I have a screening scheduled and there is double clinic in the am." Doc. 15 at ¶ 52; Doc. 26 at ¶ 52. Wade contacted Bohnenberger and requested that she cover Wade's shift on September 12, and Bohnenberger indicated she would be willing to do so if she would be allowed to leave during her shift to attend an appointment scheduled for the morning of September 12. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 53-54; Doc. 26 at ¶ 53-54. After Josko informed Bohnenberger that it was not guaranteed that she would be permitted to leave during her shift, Bohnenberger informed Wade that she could not cover the September 12 shift. Doc. 16-8 at 44.

         On August 21, 2014, Wade emailed the other pediatric cardiac sonographers regarding the schedule for September 12. Doc. 16-8 at 49. Wade indicated that she would ask the physicians if Rochelle Boone (Boone), who was still training as a pediatric cardiac sonographer, could do the athletic screening on her own and whether the remaining two sonographers, Ashley Hargreaves (Hargreaves) and Jackie Salzwedel (Salzwedel) would be alright if the two of them were left to cover the double clinic and "inhouse" if the physicians approved. Doc. 15 at ¶ 74; Doc. 16-8 at 49. Pediatric cardiac sonographers often emailed their peers with requests to change the schedule to cover call. Doc. 15 at ¶ 57; Doc. 26 at ¶ 57.

         Bridget O'Brien Johnson, at the time Bridget Rients, (Johnson), was Josko's direct supervisor in August of 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶ 8; Doc. 26 at ¶ 8. When Johnson learned of Wade's email, Johnson emailed Human Resources to express concerns that Wade had not included Josko or Johnson on the email to inform them of any such plan; that Boone was still in orientation and the physicians had stated that she could not go on screenings; and that having only two sonographers to cover the Children's Hospital as well as the hospital and neonatal intensive care unit would limit staffing and cause delays, compromising patient care. Doc. 16-8 at 48.

         Wade emailed Johnson on September 5, 2014, to inform her that she would not be at work during her shift scheduled for September 12. Doc. 16-8 at 44. Johnson responded on September 8, requesting that Wade and Johnson "touch base" with Josko sometime that day. Doc. 16-8 at 44. Wade emailed Johnson back that afternoon, stating she had been busy in clinic that day and had not yet been able to reach Josko, but would attempt to call her again that day. Doc. 16-8 at 43. Johnson emailed Josko on September 9 regarding the plan for the September 12 shift and inquired whether Wade and Josko had communicated the previous day. Doc. 16-8 at 43. Josko responded to Johnson's email, stating:

I talked to [Wade] late yesterday afternoon. I told her that you and I had discussed the issue and that if she is not here on Friday that it would be considered an unexcused PTOU[6] day. She asked if she needed [to] call in and tell us on Friday morning that she would not be in and I said no[, y]ou already notified me and Bridget said you sent her an email. I reminded her that she was not approved for the vacation and that she would be considered a no show for her shift. I also reminded her the plane tickets cannot be purchased prior to receiving vacation approval, I do not recall that she had a response to this.

Doc. 16-8 at 43. Wade did not work her scheduled shift on September 12, 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶ 70; Doc. 16-13.

         Josko sent an email to the pediatric cardiac sonographers on September 3, 2014, which stated that "[d]uring this time-all staff on back up call with [Boone] will need to come in to the hospital when she does. You will need to follow call expectations of 30 minutes bedside after receiving a page." Doc. 16-8 at 51. On September 16, 2014, Wade was on back up call with Boone, who was in training and not off orientation. Doc. 15 at ¶ 74; Doc. 26 at ¶ 74. When Boone contacted Wade on September 16 informing Wade that they had been called to the emergency room, Wade asked Boone if Boone wanted her to come in. Doc. 15 at ¶ 75; Doc. 26 at ¶ 75. Boone did not ask Wade to come in, thus Wade did not accompany Boone to the hospital. Doc. 15 at ¶ 77; Doc. 26 at ¶ 77. When Josko questioned Wade on September 17, 2014, as to why she did not accompany Boone, Wade stated that she had not gotten caught up on her emails since being on vacation and was unaware of Josko's directive to accompany Boone. Doc. 15 at ¶ 78; Doc. 26 at ¶ 78.

         Josko prepared and submitted to Human Resources documentation regarding Wade's missed shift on September 12 and decision not to accompany Boone on September 16. Doc. 15 at ¶ 87; Doc. 26 at ¶ 87. Wade's situation was discussed by Johnson; Patsy Kramer (Kramer), a Human Resources Advisor at SMC; Karla Haugan (Haugan), the vice president of Human Resources at SMC; Kathryn Schuler (Schuler), a vice president at SMC; and Robin Burnley (Burnley), the Director of Human Resources at SMC. Doc. 16-8 at 53-57. Kramer forwarded the documentation prepared by Josko to the group via email on September 17, 2014, asking whether each individual supported termination or a second DML for Wade. Doc. 16-8 at 53. Kramer's email mentions that "[w]e have had a couple other situations within Sanford in which we gave the employees an additional DML if time had passed since the previous. In the two situations that I reviewed there was about 2 years between the two DMLs for the employees."[7] Doc. 16-8 at 53. Schuler responded that:

Based on past history and DML I support termination. [Wade] is in a leadership role, and is supposed to set the example for the team. I do not agree with setting a precedence [sic] of a second DML process at SMC. To my knowledge we have not done that before. It seems she has adequate time to reflect personally and change habits.

Doc. 16-8 at 53. Haugan declined to support either option, stating:

I could go either way on this individual-very rarely do we have an employee whose primary issue for an on-going period is tardiness. I know that these are not easy positions to recruit for and she has been here a long time. How [are] her skills as a cardiac sonographer? I will defer this one to Andy, [Johnson] and [Josko].

Doc. 16-8 at 55. Johnson supported termination, stating:

[Wade's] skills as a sonographer are solid. However, he[r] decision making is of concern to me and this is affecting the team and patient care. This was also evident in the decision she made last night after we visited with her yesterday regarding her unplanned PTO.

Doc. 16-8 at 56. Finally, Burnley also supported termination, stating:

I support termination. We are starting to see where DML's have been presented a few years ago and need to make the decision if we do another step or go to termination. I think we need to take into consideration if the current issue is a continued pattern of behavior or if it is something new. Given that the DML was related to attendance issues as well as this most recent issue, I support termination.

Doc. 16-8 at 56.

         Kramer notified Josko that the decision had been made to terminate Wade. Doc. 15 at ¶ 89; Doc. 26 at ¶ 89. On September 18, 2014, Wade was informed that she was being terminated. Doc. 15 at ¶ 84; Doc. 26 at ¶ 84. Kramer, Josko, and Johnson were present at the time Wade was informed of her termination, and Kramer and Johnson both signed Wade's termination paperwork. Doc. 15 at ¶ 84; Doc. 26 at ¶ 84. Wade also signed the termination paperwork and provided a handwritten response; Wade's response did not assert that her termination was connected to age discrimination, though she did write that "rules seem to be different for everyone in [Josko's] department." Doc. 16-13 at 3. After Wade was terminated, she was asked to "go to her car." Doc. 15 at ¶ 84; Doc. 26 at ¶ 84. During his deposition, Wade's husband, Doug Wade (Doug), testified that after her termination Wade did not leave the house for a week, was disorganized, and cried more often than usual. Doc. 15 at ¶ 209; Doc. 26 at ¶ 209.

         A week after her termination, Wade attended an annual examination with her primary care physician, Dr. Sherri Bostwick (Bostwick). Doc. 15 at¶¶ 182-83; Doc. 26 at¶¶ 182-83. During that examination, Wade reported that she "has generally been very healthy." Doc. 15 at ¶ 184; Doc. 26 at ¶ 184. Wade also informed Bostwick of a number of things regarding her health: that she had no chronic medical conditions and took only over-the-counter medications and vitamins; that she had no unexpected changes in weight or fatigue, no abdominal pain or changes in bowel habits, no significant change in appetite, and no nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation; and finally that she did not have chronic headaches nor did she have depression or anxiety. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 185-87; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 185-87. Bostwick documented that Wade's blood pressure was normal and that Wade appeared "alert, well appearing, and in no distress." Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 188-89; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 188-89. Wade also reported that she was not having pain anywhere. Doc. 15 at ¶ 191; Doc. 26 at ¶ 191. At the beginning of the September 25, 2014 examination, one of Bostwick's nurses completed with Wade a Behavioral Health Screening-6 (BHS-6). Doc. 15 at ¶ 192; Doc. 26 at ¶ 192. During the BHS-6, Wade was asked whether over the previous two weeks she had: felt little interest or pleasure in doing things; felt down, depressed, or hopeless; felt nervous anxious, or on edge; or not been able to stop or control worrying. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 193-96; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 193- 96. According to the BHS-6 report, Wade responded "not at all" to each of these questions. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 193-96; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 193-96.

         During Wade's annual examination with Bostwick in November of 2015, Wade reported the same lack of any health problems and responded to the BHS-6 in the same manner as during her September 25, 2014 examination. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 197-208. Since her termination, Wade has not sought professional treatment or assistance for anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, or headaches, nor has she been prescribed medications for any such condition. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 180- 81; Doc. 26 at 180-81. During her deposition, Wade testified that she was not seeking treatment for these conditions because "I didn't want to be tagged with anything. I'm-like I said, I'm a private person. It was a new doctor. These are not things I wanted to talk about." Doc. 16-1 at 14.

         Wade filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in March of 2015, alleging that she was unlawfully terminated due to her age. Doc. 15 at ¶ 93; Doc. 26 at ¶ 93. Wade claims that Josko was the only person to discriminate against her, and has not claimed that any other Sanford employee harassed or discriminated against her. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 136-37; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 136-37. The EEOC mailed a dismissal and notice of suit rights to Wade and SMC on May 18, 2016, stating that it was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes." Doc. 15 at ¶ 178; Doc. 26 at ¶ 178.

         SMC adheres to a written Anti-Discrimination and Harassment policy, and Wade was aware of this policy. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 120-21; Doc. 16-12; Doc. 26 at¶ 121. Wade completed online training titled "Understanding Workplace Diversity, Harassment and Discrimination" on an annual basis which reviewed this policy on harassment and discrimination, including how to report discrimination or harassment. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 125-27; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 125-27. Wade did not complain or report to any person at SMC that she felt Josko was discriminating against her on the basis of her age. Doc. 15 at ¶ 124; Doc. 26 at¶ 124.

         B. Other Events and Information Relevant to this Motion

         SMC has a policy of having one pediatric cardiac sonographer on call every evening, weekend, and holiday. Doc. 15 at ¶ 170; Doc. 26 at ¶ 170. As a pediatric cardiac sonographer, Wade's duties included covering call. Doc. 15 at ¶ 170; Doc. 26 at ¶ 170. The call schedule was typically set at the beginning of the year, and after Josko had set the call schedule for calendar year 2014, Wade's daughter and her fiancé (now husband) scheduled their wedding on a weekend in August of 2014 when Wade was not scheduled to be on call. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 171-72; Doc. 26 at ¶¶ 171-72. Subsequent to Wade's daughter scheduling her wedding for the weekend in August of 2014, two pediatric cardiac sonographers left the department, requiring the call schedule to be revised to provide for complete call coverage for the calendar year. Doc. 15 at ¶ 173; Doc. 26 at ¶ 173. When Josko revised the schedule, she scheduled Wade to cover an athletic screening on the day of her daughter's wedding, though Wade was able to work with her colleagues to switch coverage and attended the wedding. Doc. 15 at ¶ 174; Doc. 26 at ¶ 174.

         Ashley Hargreaves was a pediatric cardiac sonographer working in the pediatric cardiac sonography unit at SMC in the summer of 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶ 100; Doc. 26 at ¶ 100. Hargreaves had been employed at Sanford as a pediatric cardiac sonographer since March 10, 2003, and was under 40 years old in the summer of 2014. Doc. 15 at ¶¶ 99, 115; Doc. 26 at ¶ 112. On May 2, 2014, Hargreaves emailed Josko requesting PTO for a period which included June 23 through June 27, 2014. Doc. 16-9 at 10. Josko responded to Hargreaves, informing Hargreaves that another employee already had vacation that week, and asked if Hargreaves could work on June 26 and 27, 2014. Doc. 16-9 at 10. Hargreaves emailed Josko again on May 27, 2014, asking whether Josko could grant her PTO request for June 26 and 27, indicating that two physicians would be on vacation at that time. Doc. 16-9 at 11-12. Josko responded the following day and informed Hargreaves that her PTO request could not be accommodated. Doc. 16-9 at 11. Hargreaves emailed Josko back later that day indicating that Hargreaves's husband had already purchased plane tickets. Doc. 16-9 at 11. Josko emailed Hargreaves back, explaining that one sonographer's vacation was already approved and two others were committed to a screening. Doc. 16-9 at 11. Hargreaves inquired as to whether the screenings could be rescheduled but Josko indicated that "[w]e are committed to the screening on this date." Doc. 16-9 at 11, 42. Hargreaves emailed Josko again on June 10, 2014, in an attempt to propose ideas that would allow her PTO request to be accommodated, but was unsuccessful. Doc. 16-9 at 41-42.

         According to Josko, Hargreaves called Josko on June 25, 2014, to call in ill for her shift on June 26. Doc. 16-9 at 16, 40. Josko reported that Hargreaves was still in Tennessee and had not purchased a plane ticket home and that Hargreaves reported her son and husband were both throwing up, necessitating her presence. Doc. 16-9 at 40. Hargreaves was issued a written warning on July 11, 2014, for missing her June 26, 2014, shift. Doc. 16-9 at 14-16. Hargreaves's July 11 written warning documents three prior verbal warnings regarding Hargreaves's attendance and punctuality, specifically on December 17, 2013, January 2, 2014, and March 26, 2014. Doc. 16-9 at 14. Hargreaves was required to complete skill builders and submit certificates of completion to Josko as well. Doc. 16-9 at 16. Hargreaves provided a written response which severely criticized Josko's management and record keeping. Doc. 16-9 at 17-19. Hargreaves contended that Josko treated employees differently based on whether ...

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