Walmart associate dating policy
Walmart associate dating policy
In her initial Open Door complaint, Simmons pointed out other relationships within Walmart: (male) inspected product created by the Optical Lab, including products initially inspected by his wife. Even if the Court were to assume Simmons established a causal connection between her Open Door complaint and her suspension and termination, she cannot demonstrate that Walmart's explanation for termination was pretextual. was temporarily re-assigned until such time as his wife found another position within the Optical Lab.
Before the Court are Defendant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s ("Walmart") Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. It is against Company policy for a manger or supervisor to become romantically involved with an associate he or she supervises or with an associate whose terms and conditions of employment he or she may have the ability to influence. Walmart has a chart that sets out what kinds of relationships associates are allowed to have depending on their position with the company. When Simmons was hired as the first Human Resources Office Manager for the Optical Lab, she understood her job description to be, as far as she knew, the same as that for HROM in the Logistics Division of Walmart, where she worked prior to moving to the Optical Lab/Call Center in Arkansas.
Iowa 2006) ("Because adverse employment actions almost always involve a very high degree of discretion, and most plaintiffs involved in employment discrimination cases are at will, it is a simple task for employers to concoct plausible reasons for virtually any adverse employment action ranging from failure to hire to discharge.").
Simmons must demonstrate that Walmart's proffered reason for terminating her was not the true reason, but rather was a pretext for discrimination. She may do so "directly by persuading the court that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the employer or indirectly by showing that the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of credence.' Hammer v.
On April 30, Ellison moved in with Simmons and on May 1, Ellison and Simmons married. According to his deposition testimony, Ellison's supervisor, David Finley, came to the lab and told Ellison that he had talked to Rick Carlson, Senior Human Resource Manager, about the relationship between Simmons and Ellison and the perception it was causing. Simmons assured Finley that he would make an effort to "minimize [their] time together in the facility that was not required to perform [his] job duties, but [he] did not say that [he] would not see her away from work as friends." (Doc. It was at this time, according to Simmons, that he began to feel that Ellison and he were being treated differently than other managers. According to Ellison, Braun's assistance was minimal and did not result in finding a position outside the Optical Lab/Call Center. Attached to her email was a numbered list as the Human Resource Office Manager at the Fayetteville Optical Lab." (Doc. Simmons complained generally and specifically about the "inappropriate speculation and gossip" about whether she and Ellison had a relationship; that other managers were friends with managers and subordinates; that she did not think either of her two coaching forms were warranted; that Braun was the cause of her missing a deadline leading to her second coaching; that Braun had told her she was responsible for HR in the building, making Simmons responsible for Braun's job; that a manager called her a liar when she tried to explain why a coaching was not warranted; that she had been "threatened and treated without regard." In conclusion, Simmons requested a transfer to a different facility or a different position, "based on [her] qualifications." (Doc. During the investigation both Simmons and Ellison finally admitted that they were in a romantic relationship. We are all responsible for creating a climate of trust and respect, and for promoting a productive work environment. ." "The critical issue, Title VII's text indicates, is whether members of one sex are exposed to disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment to which members of the other sex are not exposed." Oncale, 523 U.
17-2, Ellison's 10/7/10 statement.) Ellison told his supervisor that he and Simmons were just "friends" and there was no policy against being friends. Walmart contends that it properly investigated Simmons's Open Door complaint and addressed the issues Simmons complained about. In Walmart's Statement of Ethics, the following is stated about the boundaries of those relationships: At Walmart, we want to provide a work environment where associates can perform effectively and achieve their full potential. "Title VII should not be `unwittingly expanded to impose liability on employers for condoning or not remedying offensive co-worker conduct that does not amount to discrimination `because of . Each of the gender-neutral incidents that Simmons complains of are the sort of minor indignities that are not actionable under Title VII. At all times during the investigation and afterward, Walmart leadership represented to Simmons and Ellison that they were being discharged for violation of the company's romantic relationship policy.
To succeed under this construct, Simmons "must adduce enough admissible evidence to raise genuine doubt as to the legitimacy of [Walmart's] motive, even if that evidence does not directly contradict or disprove [Walmart's] articulated reasons for its actions." Dixon, 578 F.3d at 870 (citation and quotation omitted).
The burden for Simmons to show that she was "similarly situated to more leniently treated employees in `all relevant respects' is a `rigorous' standard at the pretext stage." Anderson v.
Finley reported to Volker Heimeshoff, Division Manager, Health & Wellness Non-Store operations. On February 8, 2010, she became the Human Resource Office Manager ("HROM") for the Fayetteville Optical Lab. Simmons reported to Human Resources Manager Linda Braun, who in turn reported to Rick Carlson, Senior Human Resource Manager, whose office was located in Bentonville, Arkansas. Within two weeks of arriving at the Fayetteville Optical Lab/Call Center, Simmons contends rumors developed that she and Ellison were in a romantic relationship. When a supervisory relationship exists between two associates who are related or who desire to pursue a romantic relationship, one of the associates must disclose the existence of the relationship to an appropriate salaried member of management and request a transfer for one of the individuals involved to eliminate the supervisory relationship. "The critical issue, Title VII's text indicates, is whether members of one sex are exposed to disadvantageous terms or conditions of employment to which members of the other sex are not exposed." Oncale at 80 (quoting Harris v.
Although they are housed in the same facility, the employees of the Optical Lab and the Call Center have different reporting structures. Ellison became the Call Center Manager sometime in June of 2004. Finley's title was later changed to Senior Manager of Quality Assurance for non-store operations. Plaintiff Theresa Simmons-Ellison ("Simmons") worked for Walmart since 2001, and held the position of Training Manager in the Sanger, Texas Distribution Facility. Home Office Manager Steve Proffitt allegedly asked Ellison if he was "hittin that" ("hitting," an euphemism for sexual relations; "that" referring to Simmons.) Proffitt supposedly made other "insinuations" that Simmons and Ellison were "hanging out together a lot." When Simmons confronted Proffitt about such comments, he apologized and promised not to talk about it anymore. Examples of situations to avoid include, but are not limited to:• Associates' family members or romantic relationship partners placed in positions that would involve the associates handling or processing the same funds that would compromise the "chain of security."Family Member, for purposes of this policy, means your relative, whether by birth, adoption, marriage, domestic partnership or civil union, including spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren and, in the state of Hawaii, reciprocal beneficiaries.
Simmons acknowledged that the reason she was given by Walmart for prohibiting a relationship with Ellison was that if anyone from his group thought they were having a relationship, they would not feel comfortable coming to her with an issue involving him.
Ellison testified that Simmons was over the team that provided services to his associates in the Call Center.
Within the next few weeks, Ellison moved out of his home and Simmons asked Braun if it would be alright for Ellison to rent a room from her. Braun further told her that even the perception by other employees that Simmons and Ellison were in a relationship, or even friends, should be avoided, and for that reason they should not go to lunch together or take breaks together. I am confident that Theresa will focus on these opportunities and turn them around quickly. Dale Henry handled the appeal and did not overturn Scott's decision. Walmart strives to eliminate personal relationships that interfere with work performance or which may constitute harassment. The Court analyzes Title VII and ACRA claims like Simmons's, where there is no direct evidence of discrimination, under the familiar Mc Donnell Douglas burden-shifting framework. Arkansas Dep't of Correction, 496 F.3d 922, 926 (8th Cir. To make a prima facie case of gender discrimination, Simmons must show that she: "(1) is a member of a protected class; (2) was qualified for her job; (3) suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) alleged facts that give rise to an inference of gender discrimination." Norman v. The insurmountable hurdle for Simmons is that there are no facts which infer gender discrimination.