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Mitchell v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

February 16, 2017

AMARYLIS MITCHELL APPELLANT
v.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE APPELLEE

         FROM THE 30TH DISTRICT COURT OF WICHITA COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 180, 032-A

          PANEL: WALKER, MEIER, and SUDDERTH, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

          BILL MEIER JUSTICE.

         I. Introduction

         Appellant Amarylis Mitchell appeals the trial court's final order granting summary judgment for Appellee Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) on Mitchell's state law discrimination and retaliation claims. See Tex. Labor Code Ann. §§ 21.051(1), 21.055 (West 2015). We will affirm.

         II. Relevant Background

         Mitchell, an African-American female, worked at TDCJ's Allred Unit as a Correctional Officer from 1999 to October 2012. Over the course of her employment, she filed three Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints and was disciplined three times.

         Regarding the EEO complaints,

• In March 2007, Mitchell complained that Sgt. Billy Hampton had sexually harassed her. The investigation concluded that the facts did not support Mitchell's allegation but that Sgt. Hampton may have committed a rule violation under TDCJ's PD-22, General Rules of Conduct and Disciplinary Guidelines for Employees. TDCJ reprimanded Sgt. Hampton.
• On January 5, 2011, Mitchell filed an EEO complaint against Officer Anthony Veretto, claiming that he had used profane and abusive language against her. The investigation concluded that the alleged behavior did not violate TDCJ's EEO policies but that there may have been a rule violation. TDCJ reprimanded Officer Veretto.
• On January 10, 2011, Mitchell filed an EEO complaint against Lt. Caryn Die, claiming that Lt. Die had harassed Mitchell by speaking to her in a hostile tone when Mitchell told Lt. Die that she was leaving sick. The investigation determined that there had been no EEO violation, and the matter was referred to the unit for action as deemed appropriate.

         As for Mitchell's disciplinaries,

• On January 10, 2011, TDCJ reprimanded Mitchell for her participation in the verbal confrontation with Officer Veretto. Mitchell committed a Level 3, Rule 15a violation and received three months' probation.
• On March 14, 2012, TDCJ reprimanded Mitchell for substandard performance, a Level 4, Rule 7 violation. TDCJ placed ...

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