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Scott v. Sunoco Logistics Partners, LP

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 9, 2013

Adrienne SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
SUNOCO LOGISTICS PARTNERS, LP, et al., Defendants.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Adrian J. Moody, Law Offices of Adrian J. Moody, PC, Philadelphia, PA, for Plaintiff.

Rebecca L. Massimini, Daniel V. Johns, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, Philadelphia, PA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

ANITA B. BRODY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Adrienne Scott brings suit against Defendants Sunoco Logistics

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Partners, LP (" Sunoco" ), Kimberly Legge, and Michelle Achenbach. Scott alleges that Sunoco subject her to disparate treatment and retaliated against her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (" PHRA" ), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq. , and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.[1] Additionally, Scott alleges that Defendants Legge and Achenbach (" Individual Defendants" ) aided and abetted Sunoco's discrimination and retaliation in violation of the PHRA, 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 955(e), and should be held personally liable for their discriminatory conduct under § 1981.[2] Sunoco brings counterclaims for conversion and unjust enrichment against Scott. I exercise federal question jurisdiction over Scott's Title VII and § 1981 claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction over Scott's PHRA claims and Sunoco's counterclaims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

Sunoco has filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking judgment in its favor on all of its counterclaims and against Scott on all of her claims. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant Sunoco's motion for summary judgment against Scott on all of her claims, and deny Sunoco's motion for summary judgment in its favor on all of its counterclaims.

I. BACKGROUND[3]

Adrienne Scott is an African American female. On April 7, 2005, Sunoco hired Scott to work as an Administrative Clerk in the Maintenance Department at its Fort Mifflin facility. Defs.' Ex. C. From the start of Scott's employment until October 2008, Mike Raikos was Scott's immediate supervisor. Defs.' Ex. A at 56:7-9, 57:11-12. On January 1, 2009, David Haygood became Scott's immediate supervisor and remained her supervisor throughout the rest of her time at Sunoco. Id. at 58:1-11. Scott had the only administrative position that reported to Raikos and Haygood. Id. at 62:17-67:18, 201:3-8. Raikos and Haygood also served as the immediate supervisors to the pipeliners. Id. at 56:16-24, 109:1-8. Scott's job was to support the pipeliner group. Id. at 59:2-5. Scott's official hours of work were 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Id. at 59:6-7. The pipeliners'

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official hours of work were 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Id. at 60:2-4. Unlike Scott who worked i n the office, the pipeliners, who were all male, worked in the field on the pipeline. Id. at 60:5-8; 108:21-24.

During her tenure at Sunoco, Scott was the only Administrative Clerk that worked at Fort Mifflin. Id. at 61:24-62:4. There were several Administrative Assistants that worked at Fort Mifflin. Id. at 62:17-66:7. The Administrative Assistants who worked for Sunoco received higher pay than the Administrative Clerks. Id. at 62:7-14. Additionally, the Administrative Assistants that worked at Fort Mifflin had different hours than Scott— they worked from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and they had different supervisors than Scott. Id. at 62:17-66:16.

Until 2008, Scott's time at Sunoco was largely uneventful. After the beginning of 2008, Scott no longer received invitations to vessel dinners. Id. at 153:15-154:3. Vessel dinners occurred when a client of Sunoco invited Sunoco employees to dinner. Id. at 152:20-23. Failure to receive invitations to these dinners did not affect the terms and conditions of Scott's employment, but she didn't get to go out to dinner. Id. at 157:4-11.

Additionally, in 2008, Scott reported to Raikos that she had been intimidated bye another employee, Peggy Vernacchio. Id. at 80:9-18. Raikos reported the incident to Human Resources Manager, Michelle A chenbach. Scott reported to Raikos and Achenbach that, after asking Vernacchio a question, Vernacchio " became in [Scott's] space" and informed Scott that she should do what she was told, regardless of the assignment. Id. at 81:6-82:23. Scott never reported to Raikos or Achenbach that Vernacchio had discriminated against her on the basis of race or gender. Id. at 80:22-81:1, 82:12-82:23. This is because Scott's complaint about the incident with Vernacchio was a " complaint of intimidation" and " was not a complaint of harassment or discrimination or retaliation." Id. at 96:7-13.

When Haygood took over for Raikos, he treated Scott different than the pipeliners. Id. at 108:12-24. He would allow the pipeliners to leave work early or go to a dentist's without taking time off, and he would allow them to change schedules, but he would not allow Scott to do any of these things. Id.

In April 2009, Scott applied for an Administrative Assistant position. Id. at 145:18-22. The job duties of the Administrative Assistant included, providing administrative support to the Area Manager and Operations Manager in the areas of budgeting and expenses. Defs.' Ex. H. Scott had a business degree in business administration, but her only work experience in finance or budgeting was " help[ing] Mr. Haygood a little bit with his budget." Defs.' Ex. A at 146:13-147:1. Scott was not interviewed for the position. Defs.' Ex. A at 147:5-6. Kimberly Legge, Area Projects Manager for Sunoco, made the decision to hire Joan Hassett, a white female, for the position. Defs.' Ex. A at 66:12-13; Defs.' Ex. I. Hassett had ten years experience as an administrative assistant in a corporate environment. Defs.' Ex. I. Additionally, Hassett had budgeting experience, which she acquired during her work as an administrative assistant in the financial services and insurance industry prior to her hire at Sunoco. Defs.' Ex. I.

In 2009, Scott became pregnant. Defs.' Ex. A at 159:14-16. She prematurely gave birth in March 2010. Id. at 159:17-18. During the pregnancy, Scott took a leave of absence for some period of time due to complications with the pregnancy. Id. at 159:19-22. Scott never told any of her co-workers, with the exception of Haygood, that she was pregnant. Id. at 161:17-21.

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After giving birth in March 2010, Scott took maternity leave. Id. at 68:13-14. During her maternity leave, Sunoco hired a temp worker to fill her position. Id. at 68:6-15.

On June 8, 2010, Scott applied for a paralegal position at Sunoco. Id. at 141:23-142:13. One of the requirements of the position was five to ten years of corporate/securities law paralegal experience in a corporate law department or law firm. Defs.' Ex. J. Scott does not have any paralegal experience. Defs.' Ex. A at 141:23-24. On June 16, 2010, Scott received an email from Marci Donnelly, informing her that she was not selected for an interview because " other candidates had more job-related experience." Defs.' Ex. K. Sunoco hired Dawn Womack, an African American female, for the paralegal position. Defs.' Ex. L. Womack had approximately nineteen years of corporate/securities law paralegal experience. Defs.' Ex. M.

On June 22, 2010, after returning from maternity leave, Scott received two written warnings from Haygood, the first dated March 9, 2010 and the second dated June 21, 2010. Defs.' Ex. D; Defs.' Ex. E. Because Scott had left for maternity leave in March 2010, she did not receive the March 9, 2010 warning until June 22, 2010. Defs.' Ex. A at 137:4-14.

The March 9, 2010 warning stated that Scott had failed to communicate with her peers prior to a scheduled absence and that her co-workers were unable to complete outstanding tasks due to her failure to communicate. Defs.' Ex. D. Additionally, the warning stated that Sunoco had lost the opportunity to purchase valuable equipment due to an outstanding check that Scott had responsibility over. Id. Moreover, the warning noted that Haygood had addressed Scott's issues with timeliness and communication on two earlier occasions. Id.

The June 21, 2010 warning stated that Scott had been late four out of five days in the previous week. Defs.' Ex. E. It reminded Scott that Haygood had spoken with her about her required work hours on June 1, 2010 and had discussed Scott's timeliness on two earlier occasions, and during her 2009 performance review. Id.

The two warnings were placed in Scott's personnel file. Defs.' Ex. A at 135:11-13. However, they did not affect Scott's salary, result in any change in benefits, or otherwise impact any of the terms and conditions of Scott's employment with Sunoco. Id. at 135:4-10. After Scott received the written warnings, ...


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