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CYRUS v. F.W. WOOLWORTH CO.
June 24, 1986
F.W. WOOLWORTH CO.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUDWIG
This is a civil rights action arising from the termination of plaintiff's employment by defendant. Plaintiff claims unlawful retaliation. Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).
Jurisdiction attaches under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).
The following facts are uncontested:
Plaintiff, Geraldine Cyrus, is a black female citizen of the United States, a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a former employee of the defendant. Defendant, F.W. Woolworth ("Woolworth"), has continuously been and is now a corporation doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where it is engaged in the business of selling various dry goods to the public a[t] a retail outlet at 2318 North Front Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Defendant has continuously been and is now an employer engaged in industry affecting commerce, employing fifteen or more employees for each working day in at least twenty calendar weeks of each year. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant in the latter's store at 2318 N. Front Street, as a waitress/salesperson from June 9, 1976 to November 28, 1981 -- the date of her second termination by Defendant.
Plaintiff began employment with Woolworth in June, 1976 as a salesgirl. On June 30, 1980, Mrs. Cyrus was terminated by Mr. Rice, the manager of the store at that time, for leaving money for two customers' bills on top of the cash register at the luncheonette counter. She was reported to the manager of Woolworth by Merit Protective Service, a detective agency hired by the store to observe employees and customers. On July 7, 1980, Mrs. Cyrus filed a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations alleging that Woolworth had discriminated against her because of her race in terminating her because (1) other employees, in particular a Puerto Rican employee, had left money on top of the cash register with the manager's knowledge and had not been terminated and (2) Plaintiff had herself left money on top of the cash register and not received any warning that this practice was against store policy.
In September, 1980, Mrs. Cyrus and Woolworth reached a settlement agreement which provided that:
2. Woolworth was to withdraw its opposition to Mrs. Cyrus' unemployment claim; and
3. Woolworth was to remove any negative inferences from Mrs. Cyrus' personnel file inserted in connection with the June 30, 1980 incident.
On or about September 19, 1980 Mrs. Cyrus resumed working at Woolworth as a salesgirl. On this date she also signed a Personnel Supervisor's checklist. Defendant's Exhibit 3. The store policy on employee purchases in effect while Mrs. Cyrus was employed by Woolworth required an employee to pick up a purchase slip from either the office or the manager and to carry that slip with her while selecting the items to be purchased. Once the employee had selected all the items to be purchased that day, she was to take the items and the slip to the register to be rung up by another employee. The other employee bagged the merchandise, tore off a a stub from the purchase slip and stapled the bag shut with the stub on the outside. The bag was then placed in the office or under the lunch counter. Either the manager or the assistant manager brought the bag to the front of the store when the employee was ready to leave, handed the bag to the employee and tore the stub off.
A little over a year later on November 28, 1981, Mrs. Cyrus was again terminated, this time for not following Woolworth's policy on employee purchases. Keith Edwards, the assistant manager at the time, decided to close the store fifteen minutes earlier than usual because business was slow. Mrs. Cyrus had picked up some items, placed them in a bag and stapled the bag shut before paying for them. Mr. Edwards noticed that Mrs. Cyrus had this stapled bag of unpaid for goods and took the bag away from her.
Mrs. Cyrus was terminated the following day, without warning or written notice, for breaking store policy. At the time Mrs. Cyrus was terminated there were twelve employees including the manager and assistant manager. All were black except the manager, Udia Nataraj, who was Indian, the stock room person, who was Puerto Rican, and the bookkeeper, who was white. Mr. Edwards, the assistant manager responsible for Mrs. Cyrus' termination, was black.
Plaintiff has met the procedural requirements necessary to bring a race discrimination ...
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