United States District Court, S.D. Florida
Phyllis W. Sloan, Plaintiff,
Miami Dade Fire Rescue, and others, Defendants.
ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge.
Phyllis Sloan (“Sloan”) brings this action under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”) and the Americans with Disability Act of 1990
(“ADA”) against her employer, Defendant
Miami-Dade County (the “County”).
before the Court is the County's motion for summary
judgment. (the “Motion, ” ECF No. 68.) Having
considered the parties' submissions and the applicable
law, the Court grants the Motion
(ECF No. 68) for the following reasons.
The Undisputed Material Facts
is a female firefighter. She began working for the Miami-Dade
County Fire Rescue Department (the “County”) in
1997 and remains employed by the County. Sloan claims to be
physically disabled as a result of “chronic lateral
epicondylitis” in her right elbow, plantar fasciitis
and acute bronchial spasms.
early 2015, Sloan filed a charge with the Equal Opportunity
Employment Commission (“EEOC”) complaining of
discrimination based on her sex and physical disabilities.
Over two years later, in October 2017, Sloan was involved in
a traffic accident, where she drove a County truck into a
gate crossing guard, causing damage to the vehicle. A police
report was made for the accident. A crash review panel
determined that the accident was preventable. Because the
accident was preventable, Sloan received a record of
counseling in January 2018. The record of counseling stated
that Sloan was being formally counselled regarding County
rules requiring that personnel operate emergency vehicles and
drive with extreme care at all times. The record of
counseling did not result in any suspension and did not
affect Sloan's pay or benefits.
times during her employment with the County, Sloan received
approval for outside employment. But Sloan never earned
additional money through those jobs.
January and July 2017, Sloan requested approval for outside
employment. Both times the County conditionally approved her
request but notified her that “future requests will be
denied if you do not demonstrate improvement in your
attendance” at work. Sloan again applied for approval
for outside employment in January 2018. This request was
denied in February 2018. The denial of outside employment had
no effect on Sloan's salary or benefits as a County
March 2, 2018, Sloan filed a charge of discrimination with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), claiming she was retaliated against and
faced workplace discrimination due to her sex and disability.
(ECF No. 1-2 at p. 2.) On April 10, 2018, Sloan filed an
internal discrimination complaint with the County's Human
Rights and Fair Employment Practices Division. (Id.
at p. 4.) This internal complaint was based on retaliation,
as well as race, color and sex-based discrimination. On April
17, 2018, Sloan brought this federal action for violations of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”). (ECF No. 1.)
Sloan twice amended, the operative complaint now asserts four
claims under Title VII and the ADA. (ECF No. 20.) In Count I
for “Discrimination Based on Sex Under Title VII,
” Sloan alleges that she faced disparate treatment
based on her sex when she received the record of counseling
and was disapproved for outside employment. (Id. at
¶ 61; ECF No. 60 at pp. 3-4.) Count II is a claim for
“Discrimination Based on Disability Under the ADA and
ADAAA” on a theory that Sloan's physical
disabilities resulted in work absences and, ultimately, her
being subjected to disparate treatment through the denial of
her request for outside employment. (ECF No. 20 at ¶ 73;
ECF No. 60 at p. 4.) For Count III, “Retaliation Under
Title VII, ” Sloan claims to have been subjected to
disparate treatment in retaliation for filing charges with
the EEOC in 2015 and 2018, when the County issued the notice
of counseling and denied her request for outside employment.
(ECF No. 20 at ¶¶ 82-86; ECF No. 60 at p. 4.)
Finally, in Count IV, Sloan brings a claim for
“Retaliation under ADA/ADAAA” on the basis that
she was denied outside employment in February 2018 in
retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint in March 2018. (ECF
20 at ¶¶87-91; ECF No. 60 at p. 4.)
County seeks summary judgment on all claims on a variety of
bases. As relevant to this order, the County claims it is
entitled to summary judgment in this case because Sloan fails
to establish that she suffered an adverse employment action,
as is necessary to make a prima facie case for each
of her four claims under Title VII and the ADA.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper if following discovery, the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits and
admissions on file show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
“An issue of fact is ‘material' if, under the
applicable substantive law, it might affect the outcome of
the case.” Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co.,
357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir. 2004). “An issue of
fact is ‘genuine' if the record taken as a whole
could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Id. at 1260. All the evidence and
factual inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence must be
viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157
party properly makes a summary judgment motion by
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact, whether or not accompanied by affidavits, the nonmoving
party must go beyond the pleadings through the use of
affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories and
admissions on file, and designate specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323-24. The nonmovant's evidence must be
significantly probative to support the claims. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The
Court will not weigh the evidence or make findings of fact.