checklist states: "I understand further that violations of these policies can lead to disciplinary action or dismissal."
Despite company policy, store manager Nataraj at times allowed employees to put items in a bag and to place the bag, often after stapled shut, in a variety of places in the store pending the employee's payment for the merchandise. Sometimes these bags of merchandise were kept upstairs outside the manager's office. Mr. Mundy and Mr. Hullhorst were unaware of these practices. Store managers, such as Nataraj, did not have discretion to alter or to overlook the policy on employee purchases. He and Edwards denied at the meeting on November 28, 1981, at which Mundy decided to dismiss plaintiff, that they permitted variations from the employee purchases policy.
Prior to dismissal, plaintiff was on good terms with Mr. Nataraj but not with assistant manager Edwards. Plaintiff has been in poor health for a number of years. Mr. Edwards criticized her work, told her to move faster and gave her jobs others would not do because work, in his words, would make her stronger. In turn, plaintiff told him that he, as she put it, was someone to talk.
One or two weeks before her second dismissal, Mr. Nataraj made a gift of a bird to plaintiff's son, Junior, who had helped both Nataraj and Edwards in the store at various times. Mr. Nataraj, plaintiff, and Junior selected the bird but it was left at the store because plaintiff was unable to pay for the bird cage and other items that Junior also selected. The next day Nataraj was absent. Edwards saw the bird in a box ready to be taken and seemed displeased. Even though it was plaintiff's merchandise, he told her to ring up the cage and other items. She told Edwards she would not take the employee 10 per cent discount, because the store had closed and there was no time. She and Edwards were irritated with each other.
A few days later, another employee told plaintiff that Edwards had said Junior did not deserve the bird. Angered, plaintiff told her son not to do any more work for Edwards. She told Edwards she would not talk to him any further and that he was two-faced. Thereafter, when he tried to converse, she refused.
On November 27, 1981, the day of the incident that Edwards reported to Mundy, plaintiff's son was sitting at the food counter waiting for the store to be closed. Nataraj was off that day. Because of his mother's instructions, Junior was not helping Edwards. It was at that point when Edwards confronted plaintiff, who was carrying a stapled bag of unpaid for merchandise, and took the bag from her. When asked the following day, she told Mundy that she had put the merchandise in the bag.
A personality clash and mutual dislike existed between Edwards and plaintiff. Edwards' actions in reporting plaintiff to Mundy for violating company policy on employee purchases was motivated by personal animus against plaintiff. Mundy and Hullhorst were unaware of Edwards' bad feeling toward plaintiff, and Nataraj, who attended the dismissal meeting with Mundy, refused, for reasons of his own, to intercede for her.
Edwards' desire to have plaintiff dismissed was not in reprisal for her having filed a complaint and sought reinstatement after her first termination. In deciding to dismiss plaintiff, Mundy and, in turn, Hullhorst, believed plaintiff had violated company policy on employee purchases and that her dismissal, on that basis, was justified and required. Neither acted out of a retaliatory motive arising from her first termination or its aftermath.
Since this case was fully tried, the ultimate fact issue is whether plaintiff has shown by a preponderance of the evidence intentional discrimination against plaintiff by defendant. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973); Dance v. Ripley, 776 F.2d 370 (1st Cir. 1985); Mitchell v. Baldrige, 245 U.S. App. D.C. 60, 759 F.2d 80 (D.C.Cir. 1985).
In evaluating the evidence, I did not credit the testimony that plaintiff was told there would be retaliation or that, for other reasons, defendant contrived the second termination. Even if she were warned by other employees to be on guard after she was reinstated, there is no connection between the warning and what eventually occurred between her and the assistant manager. Instead, the finger of the evidence points directly at plaintiff's run-in with Edwards to account for her loss of her job. From all of the evidence, I am convinced that Edwards' obvious dislike of plaintiff; his irritation because of the store manager's gift of a bird to her son; her understandable anger when told that Edwards had said her son did not deserve the gift and her subsequent remarks to Edwards and refusal to talk to him again; and her son's refusal, on her direction, to continue to help Edwards in the store - were the causative factors that brought about Edwards' action to instigate her dismissal. These factors, however, are not related to employment discrimination by the employer and are unconnected to the proceedings instituted by her that led to her re-instatement after her first termination.
I conclude that plaintiff did not meet the burden of establishing that defendant intentionally discriminated against her.
AND NOW, this 24th day of June, 1986 upon trial without a jury, judgment is hereby entered against plaintiff Geraldine Cyrus and in favor of defendant F.W. Woolworth Co. as set forth in the accompanying memorandum of decision.