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Jones v. Res-Care

July 16, 2010

TAMIKA JONES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
RES-CARE, INCORPORATED AND SHANEMCFALL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 07 CV 845-William T. Lawrence, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Darrah, District Judge.*fn1

ARGUED MARCH 31, 2010

Before MANION and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges, and DARRAH, District Judge.

Tamika Jones filed suit against her employer, Res-Care, Inc., and another Res-Care employee, Shane McFall, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Jones alleged discrimination because of race and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Jones also brought claims under state law for slander per se, negligent supervision and vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior. On July 21, 2009, the district court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all claims.

BACKGROUND

Jones is an African-American female who was thirty-two years old at the commencement of this suit. Jones was hired by Res-Care on February 19, 2001, to work in its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jones's initial position was "program director." On January 20, 2003, Jones transferred positions, becoming a "scheduler." On September 20, 2004, Jones transferred positions again, becoming a Human Resources Representative.

Jones claimed that her job responsibilities increased substantially with each of these transfers and that, at the time, she considered both moves promotions. However, Jones's compensation did not increase. Jones points to several Caucasian Res-Care employees who did receive pay increases upon being transferred to positions with greater responsibilities. Jones, after taking on added job responsibilities, requested a pay increase from McFall, the Executive Director of the Indianapolis facility; but McFall refused.

Jones claimed that when McFall was Executive Director, Caucasian employees in the Human Resources Department were treated more favorably than African-American employees. Jones was required to submit a Paid-Time-Off request ("PTO") to receive time off; whereas, non-African-American employees took paid vacation time without being required to submit a PTO. McFall also denied Jones's request for tuition reimbursement for a course she took in managing business information systems, despite having approved tuition reimbursement requests from non-African-American employees.

Before McFall became Executive Director at the Indianapolis facility in April 2005, he was Executive Director of Res-Care's facility in Sheridan, Indiana. When McFall left Sheridan to come to Indianapolis, Jones applied for the Sheridan Executive Director position. Of the four applicants for the position, Jones was the only AfricanAmerican. As part of the application process, Jones interviewed with McFall. Jones claimed that, rather than engage in substantive discussions about the job, McFall made several comments suggesting that Jones would not be a good fit for the Sheridan position because of her race. Jones was not hired for the Sheridan position.

In November 2005, Jones applied for the position of Director of Human Resources at the Indianapolis facility. Jones had acted as Interim Director of Human Resources on two prior occasions and had received training for the position from the outgoing Director. McFall conducted what Jones calls a pro-forma interview with Jones but hired a Caucasian, Janice Neefe, for the position.

Around June 2006, the position of Director of Supported Living became vacant. Jones claimed to have told McFall that she was interested in the position. McFall allegedly made it clear to Jones that she would not be hired for the position because she was not on his team. McFall hired a Caucasian individual for the position.

On August 11, 2006, Jones filed her first charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Jones cited, among other alleged instances of discrimination on the basis of race, the failure to promote Jones to Human Resources Director and disparate treatment with respect to tuition reimbursement.

On September 7, 2007, Neefe gave Jones a written memorandum stating that if Jones varied her schedule by more than fifteen minutes per day, she was required to confirm the requested variation with Neefe. Neefe took this action because Jones's unauthorized schedule variations vastly exceeded those of any other employee that Neefe supervised.

In 2007, Jones requested time off for her wedding and honeymoon. Jones indicated that she would need two weeks off at some point in late September to mid-October but that she did not know the exact dates due to the uncertainty of her fiancé 's schedule. The request was approved by Neefe. Jones took the time off; but because of changes to her husband's military schedule, Jones arrived back at work three days early. Neefe considered Jones's early return a violation of Neefe's instruction that Jones ...


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