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Montague v. Sodexco, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 6, 2017

BARBARA MONTAGUE, Plaintiff,
v.
SODEXCO, INC. AND YALE-NEW HAVEN HOSPITAL, INC., Defendants.

          RULING ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MICHAEL P. SHEA, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Barbara Montague filed this action against Defendants Sodexo, Inc. (“Sodexo”)[1]and Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc. (“YNHH”) after Montague was terminated from her employment with Sodexo and from her placement at YNHH. Montague brings claims for discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, and marital status in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. (Count One); age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. (Count Two); discrimination based on the filing of a workers' compensation claim in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-290a (Count Three); disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) (Count Four); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count Five); and discrimination in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-51 et seq. (Count Six). (ECF No. 20.)

         On November 21, 2016, Sodexo and YNHH filed motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 54, 58.) Defendants contend that Montague's claims, to the extent they are based on any events that occurred prior to Montague's departure for medical leave, are time-barred; that the undisputed evidence in the record shows Montague's termination was due to Sodexo's decision to downsize by eliminating 134 positions; that Montague failed to meet her burden in producing evidence that her termination was on the basis of her race, color, religion, marital status, sex, age, claimed disability, or receipt of workers' compensation benefits; and that Montague failed to put forth evidence to support a hostile work environment claim.

         For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         I. Factual Background

         The following facts are taken from Defendants' Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statements and the exhibits.[2] See Sodexo's Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement, ECF No. 58-2; YNHH's Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement, ECF No. 57. Because Montague did not file a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts pursuant to Local Rule 56(a)(2), the material facts set forth in Defendants' Local Rule 56(a)(1) statements and supported by the evidence will be deemed admitted. L.R. 56(a)(1) (“Each material fact set forth in the Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement and supported by the evidence will be deemed admitted (solely for purposes of the motion) unless such fact is controverted by the Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement required to be filed and served by the opposing party in accordance with this Local Rule . . . .). See also Burke v. Town of East Hartford, No. 14-CV-662 (JCH), 2016 WL 8709993, at *1 n.3 (D. Conn. Mar. 4, 2016) (“[Plaintiff] failed to file the requisite Local Rule 56(a)(2) Statement among his papers opposing the defendants' Motion. By operation of Local Rule 56(a)(1), this failure has the effect of ‘deem[ing] admitted' ‘all material facts set forth in [the moving party's Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement] and supported by the evidence.”). The facts are undisputed unless otherwise stated.

         A. Montague Becomes a General Manager at Sodexo

         Montague, who is an African-American woman and Pentecostal, and was born in 1958, began working for Sodexo in 2004. (ECF No. 56-2 at 2; ECF No. 57 ¶¶ 1-2; ECF No. 58-2 ¶¶ 1-2.) In May 2007, Montague became the Operations Manager at Sodexo client YNHH, assigned to work in YNHH's Service Response Center (“SRC”), which handles maintenance requests within the hospital. (ECF No. 57 ¶ 3, 5; ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 8; ECF No. 58-3 at 24, 26; ECF No. 58-8 at 9-10; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 3.) The position was a promotion from Montague's previous Sodexo position at Stamford Hospital and came with a pay increase. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 9; ECF 58-3 at 24, 32.) Montague was employed by Sodexo and assigned to perform services at YNHH through its vendor contract with Sodexo. (ECF No. 56-1 at 25; ECF No. 57 ¶ 4.)

         After she had been Operations Manager for approximately one month, in June 2007 Montague was asked and agreed to fill in as the General Manager for YNHH's SRC, while Sodexo looked for candidates to fill the position on a more permanent basis. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 10; ECF No. 58-3 at 31.) Montague filled in as the General Manager for several months, overseeing service provision by employees at YNHH. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 11; ECF No. 58-3 at 34-36, 38.) Montague testified at her deposition that she “didn't know what [she] was doing as ops manager, so [she] certainly didn't know what [she] was doing as GM” (ECF No. 58-3 at 35), and that she felt “totally green” and left “in the GM position by [her]self.” (ECF No. 58-3 at 51.)

         In her affidavit, Montague states that she “received no training” for her position as Operations Manager, or for when she filled in as General Manager. (ECF No. 60-1 ¶¶ 3-4.) Montague testified at her deposition, however, that she completed all of the classes required to become a General Manager. (ECF No. 58-3 at 41.) She also testified that during the 11-month period in which she was filling in as General Manager, she did not have any complaints about being treated unfairly. (ECF No. 58-3 at 41.) Montague did not request additional training from Defendants while filling in as General Manager. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 11; ECF No. 58-3 at 35-37.)

         After filling in as General Manager for several months, in March 2008 Montague was offered, and she accepted, the position of General Manager 2, a promotion that resulted in another pay increase. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 12; ECF No. 58-3 at 37-38, 42-43; ECF No. 58-8 at 12-13.) Montague took classes as part of her training as a General Manager 2. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 13; ECF No. 58-3 at 40.) Montague testified that she believes she completed all of the classes that were required to use the service tracking application she used in her position. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 13; ECF No. 58-3 at 43.) Montague testified that she also received training regarding use of the application and Sodexo's procedures from a Senior Manager and a Customer Service Manager in the Express Services Division of which the SRC was a part. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶¶ 14-15; ECF No. 58-3 at 44-49; ECF No. 58-8 at 4 ¶ 12.) A Senior Manager in the Express Services Division, “went over some things with” Montague, though Montague testified that “just showing someone something doesn't mean that they are trained.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 1; ECF No. 58-8 at 4 ¶ 12.)

         Montague never complained to anyone at Sodexo that she was not receiving sufficient training; Montague testified that she “did not realize that - you don't realize what you are missing until you see someone else who has something that you don't have.” (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 16; ECF No. 58-4 at 2-3.)

         B. A YNHH Employee Allegedly Makes Racially Discriminatory Comments Regarding Montague's Marriage

         In December 2009, Montague married Harry Nicholls, a white man who was employed by YNHH as a System Director. (ECF No. 56-1 at 3; ECF No. 57 ¶ 7; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 5.) According to Montague, in or around December 2009 or January 2010, David Wurcel, a Vice President at YNHH and Nicholls' supervisor, told Nicholls that he had “ruined his career by marrying a black woman, ” and that “[b]lack women are to be played with, not married.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 46, 49-50, 59; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 6.) Montague also testified that Wurcel's “characterizations of [Montague] were negative, ” which bothered Nicholls. (ECF No. 56-1 at 50.) Montague testified that Wurcel made these comments around the time Montague and Mr. Nicholls returned from their honeymoon, and that Montague “knew that when Harry and [she] got married, his boss didn't like it.” (ECF No. 58-3 at 12.) Montague states in her affidavit that she knew of these statements because her husband relayed them to her. (ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 7.) Montague does not contend that anyone at Sodexo expressed agreement with Wurcel's comments; she testified, rather, that people at Sodexo congratulated her on her marriage to Nicholls. (ECF No. 58-3 at 13.) Montague provides no evidence that anyone at Sodexo knew of Wurcel's comments.

         Montague testified that in January 2010, while at a holiday party, she reported Wurcel's comments to Kevin Myatt, the senior vice president of Human Resources at YNHH. (ECF No. 58-4 at 26-27; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 8.) Montague testified that she did not recall that Myatt said anything in response, but that he “may have said something along the lines [of], [‘]there is a new sheriff in town.[']” (ECF No. 58-4 at 27.) Montague testified that she did not ask Myatt to elaborate, and hoped that his statement meant that comments like Wurcel's would not be tolerated. (ECF No. 58-4 at 28.)

         C. Montague's Receives Notice of Low Performance Scores at Work in her 2010 and 2011 Performance Reviews

         YNHH administered employee engagement surveys annually to gauge how YNHH employees felt about their managers. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 17; ECF No. 58-3 at 16; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 5.) Beginning in or around 2010, Montague's employee engagement surveys were low. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 17; ECF No. 58-3 at 16.)

         In Montague's performance review for the 2011 fiscal year, dated October 9, 2011, Montague received ratings of “Meets Expectations” or “Above Expectations” for all of her performance goals, with the exception of one goal, for which she received an “Outstanding” rating. (ECF No. 58-8 at 15-27.) Under the performance goal titled “Building a Diverse Team, ” the “Manager Comments” stated, “Barb's efforts in this area must be reflected in the upcoming hospital employee satisfaction scores.” (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 18; ECF No. 58-4 at 31; ECF No. 58-8 at 22.) Under “Managing Employee Performance and Development (GM), ” the “Manager Comments” noted, “Barb needs to continue to focus on items that will help to increase employee satisfaction levels within her department. Currently, our scores are the lowest in the support service division and she needs to maintain vigilant [sic] on determining ways to increase employee satisfaction.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 31-32; ECF No. 58-8 at 24.) Under “Manager Overall Comments, ” the review stated that Montague “must keep in the forefront her relationships with her staff to assure their satisfaction is reflected in the employee satisfaction survey.” (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 18; ECF No. 58-8 at 27.) Montague testified that in 2011, it was made clear to her that employee satisfaction surveys were very important. (ECF No. 58-4 at 32.)

         D. Montague Takes FMLA Leave After Her Husband Passes Away

         Montague's husband, Nicholls, passed away on February 11, 2012, three days before he and Montague were scheduled to finalize their divorce. (ECF No. 56-1 at 64; ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 53; ECF No. 58-6 at 1; ECF No. 59 at 25; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 9.) In February 2012, Montague saw a social worker in relation to the emotional distress she suffered after her husband's death, which was the sixth death in her family in six months. (ECF No. 58-3 at 8; ECF No. 59 at 13-14.)

         On February 13, 2012, Wurcel sent an email to YNHH employees informing them of Nicholls's death. (ECF No. 58-9 at 43-44; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 10.) The email did not identify Montague as his widow, though it referenced Nicholls' four children. (ECF No. 58-9 at 43-44; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 10.) The email attached an obituary for Nicholls, which listed Montague among Nicholls's close family and friends. (ECF No. 56-2 at 39.) Montague states in her affidavit that “Wurcel attempted to control [her] husband's funeral arrangements, not acknowledging [Montague] as Mr. Nicholls' wife, following his death, continuing his pattern of discrimination for [her] husband as well as [for Montague]. He also used his disapproval of [Montague's] biracial marriage in decisions relating to [her] status at work, ” although she does not specify how. (ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 12.) Montague states that “[a]s a result of these acts by Mr. Wurcel in his capacity as an officer of [YNHH], and Sodexo's acceptance and implementation of his wishes, [she] suffered great emotional distress and had to take a medical leave pursuant to the [FMLA].” (ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 13.)

         Later, while reviewing a document from her employee file that had been printed out for her when she was checking in for an exam at YNHH, Montague saw that her marital status was listed in YNHH's employee records system as “divorced” rather than “widowed, ” despite the fact that Nicholls had passed away shortly before the couple's divorce was finalized. (ECF No. 59 at 3; see also ECF No. 58-9 at 48; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 11.) Montague handwrote corrections on the form, dated September 27, 2012, including to make clear that she was widowed rather than divorced, and that Sodexo was her employer rather than YNHH. (ECF No. 56-1 at 69-70; ECF No. 58-9 at 48.)[3]

         On March 21, 2012, weeks after her husband passed away, Montague took a leave of absence pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 21; ECF No. 58-4 at 6; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 6.) During Montague's FMLA leave, Sodexo employee Melvin Dockery filled Montague's prior role of managing the YNHH SRC. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 22; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 6.) Dockery began working for Sodexo in or around 1997 and had served as a General Manager in the SRCs for other Sodexo clients. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 23; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 7.) In March 2012, Dockery was between assignments at Sodexo, and was on Sodexo's Healthcare Resource Bench. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 23; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 7.) Dockery is a white male who was married and in his early forties in 2012. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 23; ECF No. 58-6 at 29; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 7.)

         Montague testified that while she was out on FMLA leave, she had a conversation with Teresa Fripp, a YNHH employee who told Montague “that [Dockery] was going to be taking [Montague's] job, and that [Sodexo and YNHH] were going to use the employee opinion survey as the reason they are getting rid of [Montague].” (ECF No. 56-1 at 18; ECF No. 58-4 at 10.) Montague testified that she did not ask Fripp for the basis of that statement, and did not ask anyone at Sodexo or YNHH whether the statement was true. (Id.) Montague further testified that she learned from Fripp that Wurcel had said, in a meeting with YNHH Vice President of Administration Stephen Merz, which Wurcel “did not want . . . on the calendar, ” that YNHH “needed to get rid of” Montague, and that YNHH “wanted Sodexo to terminate [her] while [she] was out on FMLA.” (ECF No. 56-1 at 51-52.) In her affidavit, Montague states that while on leave, she “received a phone call from a hospital liaison for Sodexo who explained, specifically, that Mr. Wurcel wanted to discuss terminating [her] for discriminatory reasons.” (ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 14.)[4]

         E. Montague Returns from FMLA Leave and is Transitioned from her Role as General Manager

         On or around May 2 or 3, 2012, Montague returned from FMLA leave and to a General Manager position. (ECF No. 57 ¶ 28; ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 24; ECF No. 58-4 at 7, 9; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 6.) Montague testified that she came to think that she had not received sufficient training when she saw “how knowledgeable Melvin Dockery was” after she returned from her FMLA leave, and when Dockery told her that he had “received a host of training from the company.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 2-4.) Montague also testified that although she was not invited to participate in conference calls, meals, and meetings with management, Dockery was while serving as a General Manager. (ECF No. 58-4 at 48-49.) At that point, Montague did not complain to anyone at Sodexo regarding her concern, though she asked Dockery to share some of the things that he had learned with her. (ECF No. 58-4 at 3.)

         On May 29, 2012, Sodexo received a notice from YNHH, requesting that Montague be removed from the General Manager position. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 25; ECF No. 58-8 at 4 ¶ 11; ECF No. 58-8 at 7.) The letter, sent by Merz and addressed to Art Mesiti, then Sodexo's Regional Resident District Manager and Montague's supervisor, stated in relevant part:

In follow-up to our most recent conversations, this letter is to notify you of the Hospital's desire to reorganize the leadership structure within the Hospital's Service Response Center served by Sodexo management . . . . To meet operation requirements and to address ongoing issues regarding employee satisfaction and financial performance, we would like to request that the General Manager Position be replaced and substituted for another Sodexo staff member. Barbara Nicholls may maintain her role as a leader within the SRC but not as the primary role as the General Manager.

(ECF No. 58-8 at 7.)

         On May 31, 2012, Montague acknowledged receipt of a “Constructive Counseling Notice” from Sodexo. (ECF No. 58-8 at 40.) The notice stated that “[f]or the 3rd consecutive year, the SRC Department results distributed in January, under Barbara's leadership, were unacceptable & amongst the lowest in the facility[.]” (ECF No. 58-8 at 40.) The notice also stated that “[f]urther disciplin[e] up to & including termination may occur” if the “employee d[id] not demonstrate and maintain satisfactory performance or conduct[.]” (Id.) Montague testified that she met with Mesiti in May 2012 in connection with the notice. (ECF No. 58-4 at 24.)

         On June 22, 2012, YNHH employees Merz and Carlos Lourenco met with Montague to inform her of YNHH's decision to remove her from the General Manager position. (ECF No. 57 ¶ 35; ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 26; ECF No. 58-3 at 14-16; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 17.) Montague testified that at the June 22, 2012 meeting, Montague was informed that she “had done a very good job, ” and “was well-respected at the hospital, ” but that her employee engagement scores were “among the lowest” for the past three annual surveys, such that “there couldn't be a fourth.” (ECF No. 58-3 at 15-16.) Montague was informed that Dockery would be transitioning into the role of General Manager of the SRC, and that YNHH wanted Montague to instead manage the transition of St. Raphael's Hospital (“St. Ray's”) into the SRC process, beginning July 1, 2012. (ECF No. 57 ¶ 38; ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 26; ECF No. 58-3 at 15; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 17.) Lourenco and Merz informed Montague that the St. Ray's transition would last approximately six months, i.e., until January 1, 2013, and that there would be other projects for Montague after that period. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 26; ECF No. 58-3 at 15.)

         Montague subsequently met with Mesiti again, who informed Montague that her assignment handling the St. Ray's Hospital transition would be temporary, and would end in six months. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 27; ECF No. 58-4 at 11-12.) Montague told Mesiti that she understood from her conversation with YNHH representatives that there would be other projects for Montague to work on following the St. Ray's Hospital transition. (ECF No. 58-4 at 12, 18.) Mesiti informed Montague that after the temporary assignment ended, if she “didn't find another position, [she] would be let go.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 18, 20.) Montague testified that she did not tell Mesiti that she felt she was being treated unfairly, or make any complaints about discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, because she “felt like he was part of the group that[] [was] doing this to” Montague. (ECF No. 58-4 at 13.)

         After her conversation with Mesiti, Montague spoke with Georgia Colquhon-Pryce, a Sodexo Human Resources Director, who informed Montague that after the temporary assignment, Montague “would have two weeks to find another position.” (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 30; ECF No. 58-4 at 13-15, 19, 20; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 18.) Montague testified that she did not tell Colquhon-Pryce that she felt she was being treated unfairly because Montague “felt like [Colquhon-Pryce] was aware of what was going on in the transition . . . .” (ECF No. 58-4 at 14.) Montague testified that it was her impression that Colquhon-Pryce would get clarification on whether there would be projects for Montague after the temporary assignment was scheduled to end, but Montague did not follow up with Colquhon-Pryce regarding the issue. (Id. at 20.)

         F. Montague Manages the St. Ray's Transition and Receives Her 2012 Performance Review

         On July 1, 2012, Montague began her temporary assignment of handling the St. Ray's Hospital transition. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 32.) In this role, Montague's title as General Manager at Sodexo, as well as her compensation, remained the same as in her previous role. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 32; ECF No. 58-4 at 17.) However, Montague testified that she felt that she was being supervised more closely than other employees, including by “having to create daily reports, ” having to meet with a supervisor daily, and having to print out her calendar around this time. (ECF No. 58-3 at 7.)

         On July 31, 2012, Mesiti emailed Montague to inform her that her position managing the St. Ray's transition had been extended until March 2013. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 33; ECF No. 58-9 at 5.)

         In Montague's performance review for the 2012 fiscal year, under the goal of “Developing Our People (GM), ” Sodexo Human Resources Manager Cassandra Douglas noted, “continued development needed in team building per low employee engagement scores . . . .” (ECF No. 58-8 at 30.) With respect to the goal of “Service and Value (GM), ” Montague herself noted, “Employee engagement needed to be improved.” (Id. at 32.) Montague electronically signed the 2012 performance review on November 9, 2012, to confirm her receipt of the evaluation. (Id. at 37.)

         On September 4, 2012, Douglas had a call with Montague to help Montague find another position after completing the St. Ray's transition. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 34; ECF No. 59 at 9-10.)

         G. Montague Takes Medical Leave and Settles a Workers' Compensation Claim with Sodexo

         One of Montague's duties in her role managing the St. Ray's Hospital transition was data entry. (ECF No. 56-1 at 26-27; ECF No. 60-1 ¶¶ 19-20.) On December 5, 2012, after conducting data entry for five consecutive days, Montague reported suffering a shoulder injury to Sodexo. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 35; ECF No. 58-4 at 22-23.) Beginning on December 7, 2012, Montague took a leave of absence related to the injury, after a doctor told her that she hurt her shoulder as a result of the data entry assignment and diagnosed her with a herniated disc. (ECF No. 58-4 at 23; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 8; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 21.) Sodexo initially expected Montague to return from leave on April 15, 2013, but her leave was extended, with a return date of July 17, 2013. (ECF No. 58- 8 at 3 ¶ 8; ECF No. 58-9 at 7; ECF No. 58-9 at 9.) The letter extending her leave specified that Montague had exhausted her FMLA Job-protected leave in March 2013, such that Sodexo could no longer guarantee that Montague would be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position upon returning. (ECF No. 58-9 at 9.)

         Montague never returned to work after December 5, 2012. (ECF No. 58-6 at 12; ECF No. 56-1 at 36.) Montague filed for Workers' Compensation on December 31, 2012, listing Sodexo as her employer. (ECF No. 56-3 at 2; ECF No. 60-1 ¶ 22.) Montague began receiving Workers' Compensation benefits in connection with the injury in December 2012. (ECF No. 59 at 1-2.)

         Montague remained unable to return to work, and was “completely unable to work, ” until May 2016. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 44; ECF No. 58-4 at 25-26; ECF No. 58-9 at 23.) In or around July 2016, Montague entered into a Stipulation for Full and Final Settlement (“the Stipulation”) related to her workers' compensation claim against Sodexo. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 56; ECF No. 58-9 at 50-56.) The Stipulation contained the following provision:

This agreement specifically releases all of the Claimants' rights pursuant to CGS § 31-290a. The agreement specifically does not release or waive any rights and claims pursuant to federal or state statutes, common law or regulations, as they pertain to work place discrimination, negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation or infliction of emotional distress as claimed in Claimant's federal court action against Respondent Sodexo, Inc. and Yale New Haven Hospital entitled: Montague v. Sodexo, 3:15-cv-00972-MPS.

(ECF No. 58-9 at 54.)

         H. Montague's Temporary Assignment Ends and Montague is Terminated After She Fails to Secure a New Position with Sodexo

         On January 23, 2013, while Montague was on medical leave, Douglas emailed Montague, informing Montague of an opening for a Sodexo SRC Operations Manager 1 at YNHH, and asking that Montague advise of her interest in applying for the position. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 38; ECF No. 58-9 at 12.) Douglas wrote, “I realize that you are on an LOA, but wanted to share the information regarding the posting below. Please advise of your interest in posting for the position.” (ECF No. 58-9 at 12.) The posting specified that the “Operations Manager of the [SRC] w[ould] report to the General Manager of the [SRC] and w[ould] oversee approx[imately] 20 employees.” (ECF No. 58-9 at 12.) On March 2, 2013, over a month after the email was sent, Montague responded to Douglas, writing that she had “not been checking [her] email on a regular basis.” (ECF No. 58-9 at 11; ECF No. 59 at 1.) Montague wrote, “I am interested in returning to work but have probably missed this opportunity. I am still having pain…” (Id.)

         Montague did not apply for any positions with Sodexo while in her temporary role as manager of the St. Ray's transition or while on FMLA leave, including following her call or email correspondence with Douglas. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 34; ECF No. 58-4 at 21.) Montague testified that her “goal was to finish the project of the Hospital of Saint Ray's transition” and that she “was hoping that [she] wouldn't have to” look for another job, “based on what [YNHH] had said[, ] that there would be other projects to work on.” (ECF No. 58-4 at 21.)

         In March 2013, while Montague was out on medical leave, Montague's St. Ray's assignment ended as scheduled. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 39; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 9.) Rather than terminating Montague's employment, Sodexo kept her on its payroll and on its Healthcare Resource Bench, though her payroll file had been transferred to the Healthcare Resource Bench in August 2012, before Montague left for medical leave. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 39; ECF No. 58-8 at 3 ¶ 9.)

         On March 4 or 5, 2013, Colquhon-Pryce sent Montague a letter saying that Sodexo would be eliminating its Healthcare Resource Bench by August 2, 2013, and that if Montague wished to remain employed by Sodexo after that date, she had to find another position within Sodexo. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 40; ECF No. 58-4 at 52-53; ECF No. 58-9 at 15-17.) The transmission letter sent by Colquhon-Pryce further stated, “Please note that your current approved leave of absence will not change. If you are able to return to work when your leave of absence expires, we will conduct a reasonable search for a new resource assignment within your region. If we cannot locate another assignment, you will be provided two weeks with pay to secure a new position within Sodexo.” (ECF No. 58-9 at 15.) Sodexo's letter further provided, “Given these changes, it is important for you to prepare for potential layoff by updating your resume, reviewing open positions within the organization, and posting to those positions for which you are qualified.” (ECF No. 58-9 at 17.) In a follow-up letter dated July 31, 2013, Sodexo informed Montague that her anticipated last date of employment would be August 2, 2013 as a result of Sodexo's decision to eliminate the Healthcare Resource Bench. (ECF No. 58-2 ¶ 42; ECF No. 58-4 at 54; ECF No. 58-9 at 19.) On August 2, ...


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