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Peck v. Kelly Services Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

September 2, 2016

CAROL PECK, Plaintiff,
v.
KELLY SERVICES INC, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          LYNN ADELMAN District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Carol Peck, alleges that her employer, Kelly Services Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by intentionally discriminating against her because of her sex and age and retaliating against her for opposing such discrimination. Before me now are defendant's motion for summary judgment and motions from each party to seal certain supporting documents.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendant provides staffing services to other companies, such as assisting them in recruiting and retaining employees. Defendant is organized into several departments, known within the company as “verticals, ” that provide differing services to clients. Plaintiff started working at defendant as a temporary employee in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing department (the “RPO vertical”) in 2002 before becoming a fulltime employee there. The RPO vertical recruits employees for other companies. Plaintiff worked for defendant from 2002 to 2011. She is female and was over 40 years old at all relevant times.

         In July 2008, as part of a reduction in force within the RPO vertical, plaintiff was transferred to defendant's Global Practice Office (GPO), which merged into defendant's Global Implementation Services department (GIS) in 2009. GIS internally supports defendant's verticals, which in turn provide services to outside companies. Defendant's verticals are essentially GIS's clients.

         Plaintiff worked as an implementation manager in GIS supporting the RPO vertical, in which she had previously worked. Her supervisor was Paul Rubel, Rubel's supervisor was Bob Roushey, and Roushey's supervisor was Kent Schomer. Plaintiff generally received positive feedback from fellow employees, clients, and her supervisors.

         In September 2009, Stacey Forbes, regional practice lead for the RPO vertical, contacted Roushey about plaintiff. Forbes complained about plaintiff's work and conduct and said that she no longer wanted plaintiff supporting the RPO vertical. In January 2010, Roushey told plaintiff that she would no longer be servicing the RPO vertical because of structural changes in the RPO vertical and personality issues. In May 2010, Roushey told plaintiff about Forbes's complaints. Defendant promoted a male GIS employee to service the RPO vertical.

         In May 2010, defendant promoted Wendy Berg to the position of senior implementation manager in GIS. Berg is about 14 years younger than plaintiff.

         In July 2010, plaintiff's lawyer sent a letter to defendant complaining about age and sex discrimination in the workplace.

         In September 2010, Rubel assigned Melvin Johnson and Michael Connolly to lead a project for Johnson & Johnson in Puerto Rico supporting defendant's Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) vertical. Both are male, and Johnson is about 12 years younger than plaintiff. Plaintiff claims that she was assigned a purely administrative role on the project, but defendant disputes this.

         On October 10, 2010, plaintiff emailed Schomer telling him that she planned to submit complaints to the Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (ERD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and age. She filed those complaints on October 27, 2010.

         After filing her complaints, plaintiff claims that her superiors limited one-on-one communications with her by cancelling meetings, converting one-on-one meetings into group meetings, or ceasing direct communication entirely. Defendant disputes this. Plaintiff also claims that Rubel said that he would not talk to her about promotional opportunities or career advancement while her legal claims were pending. Finally, plaintiff says that she was assigned to only administrative work after she filed her complaints. Defendant disputes this, too.

         Plaintiff resigned in January 2011 in an email to Rubel, Roushey, and Schomer indicating that she was doing so because of a pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory conduct that stalled her career and affected her emotional health and well-being. She started work at another staffing company the next week.

         In October 2011, plaintiff filed additional complaints with ERD and EEOC alleging further discrimination because of her age and sex and ...


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