Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 14

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 1 of 14

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ATLANTA DIVISION
SHONTRAYE HURT,

)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)

PLAINTIFF,
V.
THE KROGER COMPANY,
DEFENDANT.

CIVIL ACTION FILE NO.

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


COMES NOW, Plaintiff Shontraye Hurt (hereinafter Plaintiff or Ms.
Hurt), by and through her undersigned counsel, and sets forth this Complaint for
Damages against the above-named Defendant, The Kroger Company (hereinafter
Defendant or Kroger). Plaintiff respectfully shows this Court as follows:
JURISDICTION
1.
This action is for illegal race-based discrimination and retaliation arising
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000,
et seq. (hereinafter Title VII), and 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 (hereinafter Section

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 2 of 14

1981). Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay, front pay,
compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney's fees and costs.
VENUE
2.
Upon information and belief, all parties to this action reside or are located
within the boundaries of this judicial district, and venue is proper pursuant to, inter
alia, 28 U.S.C. Section 1391(b)(2) and 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-(f)(3). Moreover,
the unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within the
geographic boundaries of the Atlanta Division, Northern District of Georgia, of the
United States District Court, within the state of Georgia.
PARTIES AND JURISDICTION
3.
Plaintiff is a female citizen of the United States, and a resident of the state of
Georgia.
4.
Plaintiff is African American and a member of a protected class under Section
1981 and Title VII as amended.
5.
This Court has personal jurisdiction over Kroger.
2

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 3 of 14

6.
Kroger may be served through its Registered Agent, CSC of Cobb County,
Inc., at 192 Anderson Street S.E. Suite 125, Marietta, GA, 30060, if formal service
of process is not waived.
FACTS
7.
Kroger employed fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of
twenty or more calendar weeks between 2015 and 2016.
8.
Kroger is subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
9.
Kroger is subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section
1981.
10.
Plaintiff began working for Kroger on or around May 15, 2009.
11.
On or around October of 2011 Kroger permanently closed store #648 and
transferred Ms. Hurt to store #694, hiring her there as a Certified Pharmacy Tech.
3

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 4 of 14

12.
Plaintiff is the only African American in her department working as a
Pharmacy Technician.
13.
Throughout her employment, Plaintiff found it much more difficult to receive
promotions than her similarly situated Caucasian co-workers. Plaintiff observed that
African Americans are kept at lower-level jobs longer than their non-AfricanAmerican counterparts although African-American employees are qualified and
apply for advancement. Plaintiff has experienced being denied promotions in favor
of less-qualified non-African American employees, based on the subjective
decision-making of a predominately Caucasian managerial staff.
14.
Plaintiff witnessed Kroger hand-pick Caucasian candidates for available
positions and promotions, and waive qualification criteria to select Caucasian
applicants for available positions over equally qualified or more qualified African
American candidates.

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 5 of 14

15.
Plaintiff is subjected to a racially hostile work environment at Kroger. For
example, Plaintiff is forced to listen to racial slurs, excluded from full participation
in the workplace, and treated with disrespect and intimidation.
16.
On or around November of 2015, Plaintiff witnessed Mr. Saul use the word
Nigger in conversation in the workplace.
17.
On or around November 17, 2015, Plaintiff made an oral complaint of race
discrimination to Pharmacy Manager Carla Woodall (hereinafter Ms. Woodall).
18.
Plaintiff told Ms. Woodall that the Jacob Saul (hereinafter Mr. Saul), the
Pharmacist, used the word Nigger in her presence. Plaintiff expressed that she was
not comfortable with his usage of racial slurs.
19.
On or around November 19, 2015, Jeff Jones (hereinafter Mr. Jones), Mr.
Saul and Store Co-Manager Patricia Hunt (hereinafter Ms. Hunt) met with
Plaintiff to discuss her concerns of being subjected to racial slurs by Mr. Saul.

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 6 of 14

20.
Mr. Jones told Plaintiff that he would resolve the issue. However, no action
was taken to Plaintiffs knowledge.
21.
On or around January 13, 2016, Plaintiff was subjected to racial slurs from a
Kroger customer via telephone in the presence of Pharmacy Tech Julia Weinrich
(hereinafter Ms. Weinrich). The customer called Plaintiff a Nigger.
22.
Ms. Weinrich reported this matter to Mr. Saul, who spoke with the customer
on the phone but did not disclose to Plaintiff what was said to the customer. After
this complaint of race discrimination, the customer continued to use the Kroger
Pharmacy, but avoided Plaintiff.
23.
On or around January 19, 2016, Mr. Saul began ignoring Plaintiff regarding
work related matters. Plaintiff felt her work environment became tense and hostile.
24.
On or around January 20, 2016, Jim Porch (hereinafter Mr. Porch) called
Plaintiff into his office to discuss the incident of being called a Nigger by a
customer over the telephone.
6

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 7 of 14

25.
During the meeting, Mr. Porch explained to Plaintiff why White people feel
the way they do about Black people. Mr. Porch mentioned the only Black person he
knew was his maid. Mr. Porch also told Plaintiff that he previously managed a
restaurant call Cowboy Bills, and he had to kick out an interracial couple because
the White customers were upset. Mr. Porch told Plaintiff he did not think Mr. Saul
was a racist. To Plaintiffs knowledge no action was taken by Kroger as a result of
Plaintiffs complaint.
26.
On or around February 16, 2016, Plaintiff overheard Mr. Saul joking with coworkers about being called to the principals office regarding the complaint
Plaintiff filed against him for using Nigger in the workplace. Plaintiff felt he was
being sarcastic and was not reprimanded for his action.
27.
Since Plaintiffs complaints, Mr. Saul and co-workers would not work with
Plaintiff to complete tasks, making it very difficult for Plaintiff to work efficiently.
For example, Mr. Saul would not answer Plaintiffs work related questions that only
he could answer since he was the Pharmacist.

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 8 of 14

28.
On or around February 24, 2016, Plaintiff overheard Mr. Saul complaining
about an incident regarding his wife. Mr. Sauls wife is a school teacher, and Mr.
Saul spoke of his wife having to discipline unruly African American students. Mr.
Saul was complaining that certain people need to discipline their kids. Plaintiff felt
very uncomfortable hearing these comments.
29.
On or around March 1, 2016, Plaintiff noticed Mr. Saul making African
Americans customers wait for extended periods of time to get their prescriptions
filled, but noticed Mr. Saul did not subject non-African-American customers to long
waits.
30.
Following Plaintiffs observations on or around March 1, 2016, Plaintiff sent
Latoyia Bush (hereinafter Ms. Bush) in Human Resources (hereinafter HR) an
email expressing her complaints of race discrimination she experienced at work.
31.
Plaintiff told Ms. Bush that she previously reported her complaints to the
Pharmacy Manager, District Manager and the Store Manager and felt her complaints
went unheeded.
8

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 9 of 14

32.
Also on that day, Plaintiff sent another email to Ms. Bush wherein Plaintiff
expressed that in 2013 she had been interested in applying for the Super Technician
position. Plaintiff explained that she asked Ms. Woodall how to apply for the
position, but Ms. Woodall told her she did not have the information on how to apply.
Later, Ms. Woodall told Kristi Swanson (hereinafter Ms. Swanson), a Caucasian
employee how to apply for the position. Ms. Swanson was later interviewed and
given the job.
33.
On or around March 27, 2016, Mr. Saul was transferred to another Kroger
store located in Macon, Georgia.
34.
On or around April 1, 2016, Ms. Bush in HR reached out to Plaintiff via email
to see how she was doing since Mr. Saul was removed from the store. Plaintiff asked
Ms. Bush about her complaint regarding the Super Tech Position, and Ms. Bush told
Plaintiff she would investigate further and get back to her.

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 10 of 14

35.
On or around April 15, 2016, Ms. Bush and Mr. Jones visited Plaintiffs store
and met with Plaintiff to discuss her complaints and concerns about race
discrimination and promotions within the company.
36.
On or around April 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination (the
Charge) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Atlanta
District Office. A true and accurate copy of the Charge is attached hereto as Exhibit
A and is incorporated herein.
37.
On or around April 19, 2016, Plaintiff presented Ms. Woodall a copy of her
EEOC Charge and expressed to Ms. Woodall that she felt retaliated against since her
complaints of race discrimination.
38.
On or around October 13, 2016 Plaintiff was issued a Notice of Right to Sue
(the Notice) by the EEOC. A true and accurate copy of the Notice is attached
hereto as Exhibit B and is incorporated herein.

10

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 11 of 14

39.
This case has been commenced within 90 days of Plaintiffs receipt of the
Notice.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION: RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION IN
VIOLATION OF TITLE VII AND SECTION 1981
40.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-39, above, as if fully set forth
herein.
41.
Plaintiff is a member of a protected class, as Plaintiff is African American.
42.
Plaintiff is qualified for the position she holds, and performs her job duties as
assigned by Defendant.
43.
Plaintiff was subjected to a hostile work environment through the frequent use
of racial slurs and disparate treatment by Defendant in the terms and conditions of
her employment, as described above.

11

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 12 of 14

44.
In promulgating disparate treatment of Plaintiff, Defendant treated Plaintiff
less favorably than similarly situated individuals outside of Plaintiffs protected class
because of Plaintiffs race.
45.
The racially discriminatory work environment Plaintiff was subjected to was
open and obvious.
46.
As a direct and proximate result of the above-mentioned discriminatory
actions, Plaintiff has suffered lost wages and benefits, significantly diminished
employment opportunities, and emotional distress consisting of, but not limited to,
outrage, shock, and humiliation.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION: UNLAWFUL RETALIATION IN
VIOLATION OF TITLE VII AND SECTION 1981

47.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 - 46 of this Complaint as if
fully set forth herein.

12

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 13 of 14

48.
Plaintiff engaged in protected activity under Title VII and Section 1981 by
making complaints about a hostile work environment, disparate treatment, and racebased discrimination while employed by Defendant.
49.
This retaliation by Defendant was a result of the Plaintiffs complaints of
illegal race-based discrimination.
50.
Plaintiff suffered damages as a result of Defendants retaliatory conduct.
51.
As a direct and proximate result of Defendants above-mentioned
discriminatory actions, Plaintiff has suffered lost wages, significantly diminished
employment opportunities and emotional distress consisting of, but not limited to,
outrage, shock, and humiliation.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands a trial by jury and for the following relief:
(a) that Summons issue;
(b) that Defendant Employer be served with Summons and Complaint;
(c) that trial by jury of all issues be had;

13

Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3070 Filed 12/20/16 Page 14 of 14

(d) that judgment be issued against the Defendant for any and all general, special,
liquidated, and where applicable, punitive damages as allowed by law under
each and every count and cause of action contained in this Complaint;
(e) for injunctive relief and declaratory relief;
(f) for all costs of this action to be taxed against the Defendant;
(g) for all costs and attorneys fees to be awarded to Plaintiff; and,
(h) for any and all other further relief as this Court may deem just and equitable
under the circumstances.
Respectfully submitted this 19th day of December, 2016.
s/ J. Stephen Mixon
J. Stephen Mixon
Georgia Bar No. 514050
Counsel for Plaintiff

MILLAR & MIXON, LLC


1691 Phoenix Boulevard
Suite 150
Atlanta, Georgia 30349
Telephone: (770) 955-0100
Facsimile: (678) 999-5039

14