Submitted: February 14, 2018
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis
SMITH, CHIEF JUDGE, MURPHY AND COLLOTON, CIRCUIT JUDGES.
Naguib was fired from her job as Executive Housekeeper at
Millennium Hotel ("Millennium") in Minneapolis, a
Trimark Hotel Corporation ("Trimark") property,
after an internal wage and hour investigation revealed that
the housekeeping department had been rounding employee hours
down. The hotel claims Naguib instituted the practice and
benefitted from it because she received an annual bonus for
decreasing payroll costs. Naguib contends that she was fired
because of her age, as retaliation for her truthful
deposition testimony in previous litigation, for taking
protected leave, and for opposing discriminatory practices.
The district court  granted summary judgment to Trimark on all
counts because it found that Millennium had legitimate,
non-discriminatory reasons for its adverse employment action.
Naguib appeals, and we affirm.
ran the housekeeping department at Millennium from 1977 until
she was fired in 2014. In that role she oversaw roughly 50
housekeepers and managed payroll for the department.
Housekeepers at Millennium typically worked eight-hour
shifts. Any time worked in excess of eight hours qualified as
overtime, during which employees were entitled to a higher
wage rate. Millennium tracked its employee hours using a
punch clock system. However, Naguib also required
housekeepers to handwrite their hours on a sign-in sheet.
Some housekeepers would later report that Naguib had told
them they were not allowed to list any overtime hours on the
handwritten sheet; they were directed to write in eight-hour
shifts rather than the same hours reflected in the punch
clock system. Naguib then manually overrode punch clock times
and entered the shifts reflected on the handwritten sheets.
Naguib's contract with Millennium included an annual one
percent bonus tied to minimizing employee payroll.
discrimination and retaliation claims are based on a series
of incidents that occurred over roughly three years. First,
she testified in a 2011 deposition that Millennium used the
"Freeman" cleaning standard despite being told by
Millennium's General Manager, Robert Rivers, that the
hotel did not use that standard, which she
considered to be untruthful. Millennium ended up settling
that lawsuit for $20 million. It is unclear if Naguib's
testimony played any role in that settlement, but Naguib
claims it is one reason that she was eventually fired.
Second, in April 2013 Rivers sent an e-mail to his
replacement, new General Manager Katie Neufeld, asking
whether she was "taking control" of Naguib. J.A. at
105. Third, in June 2014 Neufeld said to Naguib,
"you'll probably never retire, we'll be carrying
you out . . . in a box." Id. at 83. Fourth,
Neufeld allegedly asked Naguib to tell her Muslim employees
to get notes from their mosques saying they could wear head
scarves to work. Neufeld denies this ever happened, and
company policy accommodated religious attire at all times.
Naguib had consistently been allowed to roll over her
vacation hours from one year to another throughout her tenure
at Millennium despite a hotel policy to the contrary. On June
4, 2014, Naguib requested to carry roughly 80 hours past her
July 1 deadline. Millennium told Naguib that she could use
the hours before December 31 of that year. After Naguib
declined to select vacation days to use her hours, Millennium
assigned her days off starting on October 21. She claims this
was retaliation for a separate discrimination complaint filed
by her son Omar, a hotel employee. Finally, on October 30,
2014, Naguib requested Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
leave due to hypertension. Millennium granted the request but
suspended and fired her shortly thereafter.
claims that any or all of these incidents led to her firing
or indicate an animus that motivated her firing. Millennium
tells a different story. During Naguib's mandatory
vacation days and subsequent FMLA leave in October 2014,
David Simmons filled in as head of housekeeping at
Millennium. He personally observed timekeeping irregularities
and flagged them for management. For example, he observed
that housekeepers routinely punched out after their scheduled
work hours and then wrote in a lower hour total on their
sign-in sheet. When Simmons asked them about this practice,
they told him that Naguib had told them they were not allowed
to list overtime hours. Millennium investigated the wage and
hour issue with housekeeping and throughout the rest of the
hotel. During the investigation, multiple employees reported
that Naguib had told them not to list overtime hours. The
investigation also revealed that housekeeping had by far the
most punch time edits of any Millennium department. Naguib
claims that management essentially condoned that practice for
years. Simmons also discovered that one housekeeping employee
was regularly sewing hotel linens at home after eight-hour
workdays and not receiving overtime pay.
November 7, 2014, the day Naguib returned from FMLA leave,
Millennium suspended her pending completion of its
investigation. Millennium fired Naguib on November 19 as a
result of its investigation. Millennium disciplined three
other managers for timekeeping edits but did not fire anyone
else. The hotel then compensated its employees for the unpaid
sued Millennium, claiming the hotel discriminated against her
because of her age and retaliated against her because of her
deposition testimony, because she opposed discrimination, and
because she took protected leave. The district court granted
summary judgment in Millennium's favor on all counts,
concluding that Millennium had a legitimate, non-retaliatory
or discriminatory reason for firing Naguib that was not
pretextual. Naguib appeals.
review a district court's grant of summary judgment de
novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party." Brunsting v. Lutsen Mountains
Corp., 601 F.3d 813, 820 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation
omitted). We will affirm if "there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and ...