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Cain v. Wellspan Health

December 17, 2009

GLENDA CAIN PLAINTIFF
v.
WELLSPAN HEALTH DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Glenda Cain, an African-American female, is a former employee of Defendant Wellspan Health ("Wellspan"), and brought this suit alleging that Wellspan fired her because of her race and/or gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). Additionally, Plaintiff's amended complaint asserts pendent state law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract. Before the court is Wellspan's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 35.) For the reasons that follow, the court will grant Wellspan's motion.

I. Background

A. Facts*fn1

Glenda Cain is an African-American female who, until December 2006, had been employed by Wellspan since 1977.*fn2 At the time of her termination, Cain was a team-leader in the York Hospital cafeteria. (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ("SMF") ¶ 4.) As a team leader, Cain supervised a number of cafeteria employees, including Tracie McClune, a Caucasian female cafeteria cashier. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 8.) Cain's immediate supervisor was Timothy Bentzel, Wellspan's Director of Food Services. (Id. ¶ 6.)

1. Employment Policies

Wellspan maintains a number of different employment policies, including an Equal Employment Opportunity policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of, among other protected categories, race and gender. (Id. ¶ 9.) Wellspan also has a Corrective Action Policy that expressly prohibits employees from "[k]nowingly creating incorrect time records for oneself or unauthorized entering of time records for another employee, or causing or allowing the same by another employee." (Doc. 36, Ex. B, Stephen R. Simon Aff., Ex. 1 (Corrective Action Policy), Pt. I.A.9.) The Corrective Action Policy makes it clear that knowingly creating incorrect time records is grounds for immediate discharge from employment. (Id.) Wellspan also has a Time Records Policy, which states, in relevant part, that "[r]ecording another employee's time record, willfully making, causing or allowing a false or misleading entry on a time record . . . is cause for corrective action up to and including termination of employment." (Simon Aff., Ex. 2 (Time Records Policy), Pt. V.B.) There is no dispute that Cain was aware of these policies, and that she was prohibited from allowing another employee to make time entries for her, and that she could be terminated for such conduct. (SMF ¶¶ 13, 18.)

While employed by Wellspan, Cain was paid on an hourly basis and tracked her time daily through an electronic system called KRONOS. (Id. ¶ 19.) Cain and other hourly employees used their identification badge to swipe themselves "in" and "out" of the KRONOS system at the time clock located in the kitchen adjacent to the York Hospital cafeteria. (Id. ¶ 20.) Because there was some concern that Food Services employees were not tracking their time correctly, Bentzel directed that an in-service training be held for all cafeteria workers on November 1, 2006. (Id. ¶ 23.) This training reiterated that manipulating time entries is a serious offense punishable by termination. (Id. ¶ 24.) All employees took a quiz at the end of this training to test their understanding of the material reviewed; Cain answered four of the five question correctly, including that she could be terminated immediately for "[g]iving your co-worker your badge and asking them to clock you in." (Doc. 36, Def.'s Ex. L (Post-Quiz) at Bates Nos. D-029 to D-030.)

2. Events occurring on November 6, 7, 9, and 16, 2006

The events giving rise to Cain's termination occurred on November 6, 7, 9, and 16, 2006-mere days after the November 1, 2006 in-service training. On those days, two cafeteria workers-Juanita Bowie and Yolanda Jamison-observed what they considered suspicious behavior by Tracie McClune. Specifically, on November 6, 2006, Bowie and Jamison saw McClune swipe her card at the KRONOS station when she arrived at work at 4:30 a.m., and later, at about 4:51 a.m., they again observed McClune swipe a card at the KRONOS station. (Doc. 36, Def.'s Ex. M, Juanita Bowie Aff., ¶¶ 4-5; Ex. N, Yolanda Jamison Aff., ¶¶ 4-5.) On that day, Bowie and Jamison did not see Cain until 5:10 a.m. when she walked into the kitchen with Elsie Wilson, another employee with whom she drove to work each day. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 6; Jamison Aff. ¶ 6.) Bowie and Jamison reported to Bentzel what they observed on November 6, 2006.*fn3

On November 7, 2006, Bowie and Jamison again observed McClune swipe "in" twice: first at 4:40 a.m., and a second time at 4:55 a.m. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 8; Jamison Aff. ¶ 8.) After the second swipe, Bowie searched for Cain in the women's locker room located adjacent to the cafeteria, but could not find her. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 9.) While she did this, Joe Meneeley, a sous chef, searched for Cain in the kitchen, cafeteria, and Food Services office, but could not find her. (Doc. 36, Def.'s Ex. O, Joseph Meneeley Aff., ¶ 3.) At approximately 5:10 a.m., Bowie saw Cain and Wilson walk into the cafeteria together with their coats on. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 10.) Bowie and Meneeley reported to Bentzel their observations on November 7, 2006.

On November 9, 2006, Jamison saw McClune swipe "in" at approximately 4:30 a.m. (Jamison Aff. ¶ 9.) At around 5:00 a.m., Bowie saw McClune swipe "in" again. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 12.) Neither Bowie nor Jamison saw Cain in the cafeteria on November 9, 2006 until well after 5:00 a.m. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 13; Jamison Aff. ¶ 10.) They reported to Bentzel what they observed on November 9, 2006. (Bowie Aff. ¶ 14; Jamison Aff. ¶ 10.)

On November 16, 2006, Jamison noticed McClune swiping "in" at approximately 4:55 a.m. (Jamison Aff. ¶ 12.) According to her affidavit, this struck her has odd since it appeared that McClune had already been working for some time that day. At approximately 5:05 a.m., Jamison searched the female locker room for Cain but could not find her; at the same time as Jamison's search, Meneeley searched the kitchen, cafeteria areas, and the Food Services office, but could not find Cain. (Jamison Aff. ¶ 14; Meneeley Aff. ¶ 5.) At approximately 5:16 a.m., Meneeley observed Cain and Wilson arriving in the kitchen area with their coats on. (Meneeley Aff. ¶ 6.) Jamison and Meneeley reported these observations to Bentzel. (Jamison Aff. ¶ 15; Meneeley Aff. ¶ 7.)

In response to these observations, Bentzel reviewed the time records for the days in question. (Bentzel Aff. ¶¶ 14-15, incorporating notes made at the time of his investigation, Ex. 1 (notes) at Bates No. D-031 to D-032.) For November 6, 2006, McClune's time records indicate that she clocked "in" at 4:31 a.m. and "out" at 1:50 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 3 (Tracie McClune's time records) at Bates No. D- 243.) Cain's November 6, 2006 swipe "in" was at 4:51 a.m. and "out" at 7:08 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 4 (Glenda Cain's time records) at Bates No. D-234.) This corresponds with the time-frame that Jamison and Bowie saw McClune make her second swipe of the morning. In contrast, Wilson's time records for November 6, 2006 indicate that she swiped "in" at 5:09 a.m. and "out" at 2:17 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 5 (Elsie Wilson's Time Records) at Bates No. D-249.) Wilson's "in" time corresponds with the time-frame that Bowie and Jamison observed Wilson and Cain walking into the building.

The time records for the other days -- November 7, 9, and 16, 2006-reveal a similar pattern. McClune's time record for November 7, 2006 indicates that she swiped "in" at 4:42 a.m. and "out" at 1:54 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 3 at Bates No. D-243.) Cain's time record for that day reveal a swipe "in" at 4:56 a.m. and "out" at 7:10 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 4 at Bates No. D-234). Wilson's time record for that day indicates that she swiped "in" at 5:11 a.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 5 at Bates No. D-249.) McClune's time record for November 9, 2006 indicate that she swiped "in" at 4:30 a.m. and "out" at 1:40 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 3 at Bates No. D-243.) Cain's time record for that day indicates a swipe "in" at 4:57 a.m. and "out" at 2:21 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 4 at Bates No. D-234.) Wilson did not work that day. Finally, McClune's November 16, 2006 time record indicate a swipe "in" at 4:42 a.m. and "out" at 1:15 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 3 at Bates No. 243.) Cain's time record for that day indicate a swipe "in" at 4:57 a.m. and a swipe "out" at 7:08 p.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 4 at Bates No. D-234.) Wilson's time record for that day indicate a swipe "in" at 5:18 a.m. (Simon Aff., Ex. 5 at Bates No. D-250.) On all of the days in question, Cain's swipe "in" time corresponds with McClune's second swipe "in," and is before Cain was observed in the building on those days.

In addition to reviewing a comparison of the time records of McClune, Cain, and Wilson, Bentzel reviewed an analysis of the time entries of all Food Services employees to determine whether McClune could have been swiping "in" for someone other than Cain. That analysis revealed that on the four days in question, a total of six Food Service employees cards were swiped "in" around the same time as McClune's second swipe, but only Cain's matched exactly on all four days. (Bentzel Aff. ¶¶ 14-15, incorporating notes made at the time of his investigation, Ex. 1 (notes) at Bates No. D-032.) Bentzel also compared Cain's and Wilson's time entries for the period from November 6 to 17, 2006. Except for the four dates in question, Wilson and Cain's swipe "in" time matched up almost exactly, which one would expect given that they commuted together. (Id.) Based on his investigation, Bentzel believed that Cain asked McClune to swipe her "in" on certain days when it appeared that Cain was going to arrive after her 5:00 a.m. starting time.

For her part, Cain disputes generally the above allegations.

Specifically, she disputes the inference that McClune was swiping in for her, and that she should have swiped in at the same time as Wilson with whom she commuted. Cain does not provide any citation to the record to support her disagreement with the above stated facts. The only exception is that she cites to Elsie Wilson's deposition for the proposition that, although she and Wilson drove together, they did not start work at the same time. (Doc. 46, Pl.'s Ex. 6, Elsie Wilson Dep. at ...


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