Burns White attorneys Mary-Jo Rebelo and Courtney C. Brennan won partial summary judgment for a privately-owned skilled rehabilitation and long-term care facility in Pennsylvania which was sued by a former employee who alleged that she was pretextually terminated because she allegedly engaged in misconduct with a patient. The Plaintiff alleged that her termination was an unlawful retaliation because she engaged in protected activity related to complaints of alleged racial discrimination. The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment seeking dismissal of Count I for Retaliation was granted.
Attorneys Rebelo and Brennan argued that the Plaintiff could not maintain a retaliation claim under Title VII, because she did not engage in a protected activity; and, even if she had engaged in a protected activity, she could not demonstrate a causal connection between the protected activity and her termination.
The court found that the Plaintiff did not produce evidence or documentation that she engaged in protected activity. Moreover, the Plaintiff’s own testimony did not support her contention that she engaged in any protected activity. Specifically, the court found that the Plaintiff did not identify any examples of race-based discrimination or internal complaints by the Plaintiff of racial discrimination that could qualify as protected activity in her communications to her former employer. Accordingly, Plaintiff did not present any question of material fact to satisfy her burden. Absent such protected activity, the court concluded that Plaintiff’s retaliation claim could not survive summary judgement.