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Adams v. Southwest Airlines

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

March 5, 2019

SHAKENA ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, Defendant.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Shakena Adams filed a pro se complaint against her former employer, Defendant Southwest Airlines, alleging that Southwest discriminated and retaliated against her in violation of federal law. This resulting action has been referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Senior United States District Judge A. Joe Fish.

         The Court granted Ms. Adams leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), see Dkt. No. 5, and issued a screening questionnaire to allow her to fully explain how the alleged actions by Southwest (or its employees) were illegal, see Dkt. No. 6. She filed a timely response to that questionnaire. See Dkt. No. 7.

         The undersigned now enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that, for the reasons explained below, the Court should allow to proceed Ms. Adams's claims that she was retaliated against after she complained of racial discrimination but dismiss with prejudice all other claims she asserts in her complaint as amended by her responses to the screening questionnaire.

         Applicable Background

In her complaint, Ms. Adams alleges that
Southwest Airlines violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they discriminated against [her] on numerous occasions. Southwest Airlines also violated 42 U.S. Code 1981 when they retaliated against [her] for filing a complaint. Southwest Airlines wrongfully terminated [her] in retaliation and created a hostile environment causing Ms. Adams to suffer physical, emotional and economical harm.

Dkt. No. 3 at 1.

         She continues:

• Ms. Adams began working at Southwest Airlines on 12/5/2011.
• Through the course Ms. Adams's time at Southwest Airlines she accumulated around 300 compliments for her service and work performance.
• In fact, during the last 6 months of Ms. Adams's employment she received 81 compliments.
• The day of Ms. Adams's termination, she was recognized as having received the Southwest Warrior Spirit award. This award was in recognition for outstanding service, displaying that of a “servant's heart” and giving 100 percent daily. This recognition was awarded from the office of Gary Kelly, the C.E.O. of Southwest Airlines.
• Despite having received this honor, Ms. Adams was terminated that day for not getting along with her colleagues. ...
• Though the company and department have a specific process leading to a termination which includes a Letter of Instruction (Verbal Warning), Letter (Written Warning) then Termination, this process and performance plan was not followed for Ms. Adams.
• Ms. Adams did not receive a written warning prior to being terminated, which violates the company and department's policy.
• It is clear that Ms. Adams was negatively labeled by Southwest Airlines after making several complaints and the company sought to get rid of her.
• Evidence of the fact that Ms. Adams was negatively labeled, can be seen in the fact that Katherine Pappas, a supervisor of Ms. Adams openly told employees in the department that she did not like Ms. Adams because of the complaints Ms. Adams had previously made. The actions of Ms. Pappas humiliated Ms. Adams and inflicted additional emotional harm.
• In fact, Ms. Adams was told on one occasion that “snitches get stitches.” • The gross negligence of Ms. Pappas in informing employees of protected complaints filed by Ms. Adams, increased the hostility felt by Ms. Adams.
• During the time in which Ms. Adams was subjected to retaliation after filing complaints regarding discriminatory remarks made towards her, she suffered a heart attack and several anxiety attacks.
• The ambulance was called in response to her having suffered a heart attack on one occasion and in response to her having ...

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