United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
ANGELA I. TERRY PLAINTIFF
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS USA INC. DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
LEON HOLMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Terry has worked for G4S Secure Solutions (USA), Inc., as a
private security officer since 2013. She was removed from a
permanent post at a G4S client's business in early 2018
after the client requested her removal for a disciplinary
reason. She then brought this action without the help of a
lawyer, asserting several claims against G4S employees and
G4S itself. After the Court dismissed some of those claims,
remaining are Terry's claims for sex discrimination,
retaliation, and defamation, all running against G4S.
See Documents #18 and #28. G4S now moves for summary
judgment. For the reasons that will be explained, the motion
is mostly granted and partly denied.
should grant summary judgment if the evidence demonstrates
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden
of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute for trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the moving party
meets that burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with
specific facts that establish a genuine dispute of material
fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester,
643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc). A genuine
dispute of material fact exists only if the evidence is
sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict in
favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The Court must view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must give
that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can
be drawn from the record. Pedersen v. Bio-Med.
Applications of Minn., 775 F.3d 1049, 1053 (8th Cir.
2015). If the nonmoving party fails to present evidence
sufficient to establish an essential element of a claim on
which that party bears the burden of proof, then the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
has provided security to G4S clients at various locations. In
early 2017, she began a permanent G4S security post at
Manheim, a car auction company in Little Rock. G4S clients
such as Manheim can request the removal of a security guard
from the post at the client's site. In December 2017,
Manheim's Security Manager received information that
Terry had been rude and unhelpful to a transport driver at
Manheim and then left her guard post uncovered. The Security
Manager called the transport driver. He confirmed what had
occurred. He then requested that Terry be removed, and G4S
removed her from the Manheim post.
placed Terry on two days of administrative leave pending an
investigation. Based on this investigation G4S concluded that
Terry had not left her post, but it determined that she had
been rude and unhelpful to the driver during the interaction.
She was informed she would not be returning to the Manheim
post. G4S next offered Terry a special events position. She
accepted. Unlike her post at Manheim, however, the special
events position does not provide a stable income because
special events occur unpredictably. To this date G4S has not
offered Terry another permanent position.
contends that G4S removed her from the Manheim post because
of her sex in violation of Title VII. She also alleges that
G4S removed her in retaliation for complaining about sex
discrimination, and furthermore that G4S has refused to
consider her for a permanent full-time position in
retaliation for filing an EEOC charge and this lawsuit.
Finally, Terry asserts a defamation claim under Arkansas law
based on a G4S employee allegedly publicly accusing her of
stealing, which was false.
VII prohibits discrimination because of sex. 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-2(a)(1). Discrimination “because of” sex
occurs when sex is “a motivating factor for any
employment practice.” Id. § 2000e-2(m).
Absent direct evidence of discrimination, a plaintiff may
survive summary judgment with evidence creating an inference
of unlawful discrimination through the McDonnell
Douglas burden-shifting framework. Torgerson v. City
of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1044 (8th Cir. 2011) (en
banc) (citing McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411
U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973)).
the McDonnell Douglas framework a plaintiff must
first establish a prima facie case of discrimination. That
is, she must put forth evidence that she was a member of a
protected group, she was qualified to perform the job, she
suffered an adverse employment action, and the circumstances
permit an inference of discrimination. Tyler v. Univ. of.
Ark. Bd. of Trs., 628 F.3d 980, 990 (8th Cir. 2011). If
the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case the burden
shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate
nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged action.
Id. Finally, if the employer meets that burden, the
plaintiff must demonstrate that the proffered reason was a
pretext and that unlawful discrimination was a motivating
factor in the adverse employment action. Id.;
Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1046.
bases her sex discrimination claim on the fact that one of
her male supervisors at ¶ 4S, Tracy Parker, had
previously made sexist comments to her. Parker was the
Manheim site supervisor.
supervisor his duties included overseeing monthly training,
making the daily schedule, and handling minor disciplinary
issues. Document #36-3 at 2.
deposition Terry testified to the following facts. In April
2017, after Parker had a disagreement with his sister, he
made comments like, “[w]omen disgust him, ” women
“are hard to deal with, ” and he is “glad
he only dates men.” Document #36-1 at 3-4. Terry took
offense to these comments. Id. at 4. In September
2017 Terry informed G4S's human resources manager about
these comments and also told her that she felt Parker
“was partial to the male guards.” Id.
G4S disputes that Terry mentioned Parker's comments about
women or alleged any sex discrimination in this September
meeting, see Document #36-2 at 3, but at this stage
the Court takes Terry's version of the disputed facts as
further testified in deposition that Parker was
“excited and happy, [and] in good spirits” when
he was “around the guys, ” but his demeanor was
different around her. Document #36-1 at 4-5. Parker commented
to Terry in November 2017 that the “male guards”
were “doing such a good job.” Id. at 5.
He told her that she was not scanning correctly when she made
her security rounds, and before G4S lost its contract with
Manheim, he would “get rid of the problem guard.”
Id. All these instances are why Terry felt Parker
“has a problem with [her] because of [her]
record reveals that in late December 2017 Terry had an
incident with a Manheim driver. As site supervisor Parker
handled minor disciplinary issues. Document #36-3 at 2.
Parker emailed Manheim's Security Manager, Cory Knapp,
several days after the incident. Document #36-1 at 54. He
informed Knapp that the transport driver reported that Terry
had been “very rude and disrespectful to him[, ] . . .
rudely instructed him to leave without trying to assist him,
” and then left her guard post uncovered. Id.
The driver left his contact information with Parker and
requested to speak to someone about the incident.
Id. Knapp, Manheim's Security Manager, then
called the transport driver “and confirmed what had
occurred.” Id. He asked G4S to remove Terry
from her post at Manheim because this behavior was
“unacceptable.” Id. This request
prompted G4S's Branch Manager, Steven Willis, to remove
Terry from her Manheim post and to offer her the special
events position. Id. at 29-30; Document #36-2 at 3;
Document #36-3 at 3.
the jury believed these facts and made all reasonable
inferences in Terry's favor, G4S is entitled to summary