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Jones v. City of Dallas

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

May 29, 2018

JACQUELINE ELAINE JONES
v.
CITY OF DALLAS, TEXAS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN GREN SCHOLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This Order addresses Defendant City of Dallas's (the "City") motion for summary judgment [21]. The Court grants the motion in part and denies it in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Jones's Employment with the City

         Jacqueline Jones ("Jones") began working for the City in 2000 as a Management Assistant in the City Manager's Office. In 2005, the City transferred her to the Environmental Health Services Department, where she worked as a Senior Contract Compliance Administrator. Jones's basic job duties included ensuring that contracts were carried out according to the scope of services, the law, and other requirements, submitting reimbursements, and monitoring contracts. In 2009, Jones's department merged with the Housing & Community Services Department. Jones's position remained the same, and she received a raise almost every year. She also received a salary increase in 2014 due to an equity adjustment.

         In early 2014, the City reassigned Jones to the Homeless Services Division, where she had a new supervisor but continued to perform similar duties. In 2015, Jones reported to a new supervisor, who assigned her duties from Coordinator Ills and additional administrative duties.

         B. Roger Demas 's and David Silva 's Employment with the City

         Jones bases several claims on comparisons to two male coworkers, Roger Demas ("Demas") and David Silva ("Silva"). Demas, working for Enterprise, managed the Mortgage Loan Assistance Program ("MAP") until 2012, when the City brought the program in-house. At that time, the City decided to hire a Coordinator IV to run the program. The parties dispute whether the City advertised the position as "MAP Coordinator IV" or "Coordinator IV (Housing)." Bilingual skills and a Residential Mortgage Loan Originator License were preferred qualifications for the position. Demas possessed both, and the City selected him. In this position, Demas ran the program, supervised four other employees, and created a database to support the program. In 2013, the City appointed Demas Interim Manager II in the Housing Department's Development Division. Demas's salary was higher than Jones's at all relevant times.

         Silva also worked for MAP before the City brought it in-house. The City advertised for either a "Contract Compliance Administrator, Senior" or a "MAP Sr. Contract Compliance Administrator." Bilingual skills and a Residential Mortgage Loan Originator License were preferred qualifications for the position. Silva possessed both and was hired for the position. In this position, Silva supervised two employees, served as the primary trainer for MAP, conducted presentations, and marketed the program, among other things. When Demas became Interim Manager II and, later, when he resigned, Silva took on his duties as well. In November 2014, he became a Coordinator IV. Silva's salary was higher than Jones's at all relevant times.

         C. Jones's Charge of Discrimination

         In August of 2014, Jones went to the Dallas District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC later called her to schedule an appointment for September 8, 2014. She met with investigator Dawn Lewis, who said she would review Jones's case. In January of 2015, Lewis called Jones to tell her she needed to complete the final level of the City's grievance process before filing an EEOC charge. Jones repeatedly tried to contact Lewis after that but did not receive a response until April 14, when Lewis's former supervisor, Lillie Wilson, called to tell her that Lewis had resigned, Jones hired an attorney and filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (the "Charge") on May 20, 2015. The Charge references her July 2013 internal grievance, retaliation based on that, disparity of pay between Jones and Demas, and the City's failure to promote Jones to Manager II in August 2014. Jones also mentions in the Charge that "[f]his is not the first time the City has passed me over for promotion." Pl.'s Br. at 28.

         After receiving her right to sue letter from the EEOC, Jones brought this action alleging discriminatory failure to promote, retaliation, and pay disparity, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), She also alleges pay disparity in violation of the Equal Pay Act ("EPA"). Jones claims that the City passed her over for promotion to five different positions: Safety Officer, Interim Manager II, Manager II, Business or General[1], Manager III, Housing, and Manager III, Inspector, II. THE COURT GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART THE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Courts "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). In making this determination, courts must view all evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its belief that there is no genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, Ml U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         When a party bears the burden of proof on an issue, she "must establish beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of the claim or defense to warrant judgment in [her] favor." Fontenot v. Upjohn Co.,780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986). When the nonmovant bears the burden of proof, the movant may demonstrate entitlement to summary judgment either by (1) submitting evidence that negates the existence of an essential element of the nonmovant's claim or affirmative defense, or (2) arguing that there is no evidence to support an essential element of the nonmovant's claim or affirmative defense. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25. Once the movant has made this showing, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact so that a reasonable jury might return a verdict in its favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v, Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). Moreover, "[c]onclusory allegations, speculation, and unsubstantiated assertions" will not suffice to satisfy the nonmovant's burden. Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n,79 F.3d 1415, 1429 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc). Factual controversies are resolved in favor of the nonmoving party ...


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