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Monaghan v. Worldpay US, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

April 2, 2020, Decided

No. 17-14333

Opinion

 [*857]  PER CURIAM:

Susan Monaghan appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer, Worldpay US, Inc., on her claim of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). Following a review of the record, and with the benefit of oral argument, we reverse and remand.

The district court applied our decision in Gowski v. Peake, 682 F.3d 1299, 1312 (11th Cir. 2012), and required Ms. Monaghan to show that the alleged retaliation was sufficiently pervasive to alter the conditions of her employment. ] But the proper standard in a retaliation case is the one set out by the Supreme [**2]  Court in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 57, 126 S. Ct. 2405, 165 L. Ed. 2d 345 (2006), and confirmed by this circuit in Crawford v. Carroll, 529 F.3d 961, 974 (11th Cir. 2008)—the retaliation is material if it "well might have dissuade[d] a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination." Under this standard, a jury must decide Ms. Monaghan's retaliation claim.

Viewed in the light most favorable to Ms. Monaghan, see Bucklew v. Precythe, 139 S.Ct. 1112, 1137, 203 L. Ed. 2d 521 (2019), the facts relevant to the retaliatory harassment claim are relatively straightforward.2

 [*858]  Ms. Monaghan, who is white and over 40 years old, worked as an executive assistant at Worldpay from September 2 to November 21 of 2014. Worldpay terminated Ms. Monaghan's employment during the 90-day probationary period applicable to new employees.

Tammi Daniel, who is black, was Ms. Monaghan's immediate supervisor from September 2 to November 3, when Ruth Hrubala (who is white and over 50 years of age) replaced Ms. Daniel. About a week after Ms. Monaghan began her tenure at Worldpay, Ms. Daniel made a number of race- and age-based comments to her. For example, Ms. Daniel told Ms. Monaghan that she needed a "suntan" to work in the executive suite, that she was "too old" to fit in at Worldpay, and that she was "over the hill." Ms. Daniel, referring to Ms. Monaghan, also told another employee [**3]  that "this little white woman is giving me drama over here," and that Worldpay "did not need another older executive assistant around here." Ms. Monaghan says that she verbally reported Ms. Daniel's discriminatory comments to the Worldpay executives she supported, as well as to others, but not to anyone in human resources. According to Ms. Monaghan, the executives told her to avoid Ms. Daniel, or to stop reporting such conduct because Ms. Daniel was a black female and Worldpay did not want to get sued.

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955 F.3d 855 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10452 **; 14 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P46,496; 28 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 991

SUSAN MONAGHAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus WORLDPAY US, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:16-cv-00760-CC.

Monaghan v. Worldpay United States, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219038 (N.D. Ga., Sept. 27, 2017)

CORE TERMS

retaliation, terminated, retaliatory, retaliation claim, district court, counts, employment action, mistreatment, harassment, magistrate judge, complaints, memorandum, tangible, damages, Rights, protected activity, summary judgment, dissuaded, hostile, subjected, terms and conditions, conditions, terms, watch, age discrimination, work environment, complaining, pervasive, preceding paragraph, plaintiff's right

Labor & Employment Law, Discrimination, Retaliation, Elements, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Opposing Materials, Elements, Adverse Employment Actions, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent