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Tran v. Novo Nordisk Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

March 12, 2015

LINH TRAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NOVO NORDISK INC., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MARSHA J. PECHMAN, District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Novo Nordisk, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 23.) Having reviewed the motion, Plaintiff Linh Tran's response, (Dkt. No. 34), and the related record, the Court GRANTS Defendant Novo Nordisk, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Background

Plaintiff Linh Tran-an Asian American woman-began her employment with Defendant Novo Nordisk, Inc. ("NNI") on or about November 21, 2005 as a Diabetes Care Specialist ("DCS") II for the Pacific Northwest Region. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3.)

Ms. Tran secured several promotions while she was employed at NNI. (Id. at 5.) She was promoted from DCS II to Endocrinologist Diabetes Care Specialist ("EDCS") I, then to EDCS II, then to Health Systems Diabetes Care Specialist ("HSDCS") I, and, ultimately, to HSDCS II. (Id.)

While she was employed at NNI, Ms. Tran was also eligible for and took part in NNI's Tuition Assistance Program to complete her Masters in Business Administration ("MBA"). (Dkt. No. 1 at 4.) The terms and conditions of this program are memorialized in a written policy. (Dkt. No. 28-1.) The policy requires "an employee who voluntarily leaves employment within two years following the date of course completion to refund reimbursed expenses." (Id. at 3.) Ms. Tran was enrolled in her MBA program from March 2010 to December 2011. (Dkt. No. 31-1 at 44.) Ms. Tran received approximately $15, 000 in tuition reimbursement from NNI. (Dkt. No. 30.)

Ms. Tran applied for a Regional Field Trainer ("RFT") position with NNI in May of 2010. (Dkt. No. 14 at 6.) Ms. Tran was not selected for the position; and NNI promoted a male, non-Asian American individual to the position. (Id.)

In October of 2010, an RFT position became available in NNI's Rocky Mountain Region (Id.) In November 2010, a Regional Support Manager ("RSM") position became available in NNI's Pacific Northwest Region. (Id. at 6-7.) Ms. Tran did not apply for these positions. (Id.)

Ms. Tran applied for another RFT position in the Pacific Northwest Region in August of 2011. (Id. at 7.) Ms. Tran was interviewed for the position. (Id.) In October of 2011, NNI selected a male, non-Asian American to fill the RFT position. (Id.)

In June 2012, an RSM position became available in the West. (Id. at 8.) Ms. Tran did not apply for the position. (Id.) In July 2012, an RFT position became available in the Pacific Northwest Region. (Id.) Ms. Tran did not apply for this position. (Id. at 13-14.)

Ms. Tran left her employment at NNI in July of 2012. (Dkt. No. 31-1 at 115.) On July 20, 2012, Ms. Tran filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging she was not selected for RFT and RSM positions that she applied for during her employment with NNI on account of her sex and race. (Id. at 117.) In her charge, she also alleged that she left her employment with NNI due to the lack of support from management and because she experienced a hostile work environment. (Id.)

Ms. Tran filed suit against NNI on November 11, 2013. (Dkt. No. 1.) Ms. Tran alleges five claims of race and sex-based discrimination stemming from NNI's failure to promote her to RFT and RSM positions and one claim of hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). (Id. at 15-22.) By her complaint, Ms. Tran seeks declaratory relief, back and front pay damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees and costs. (Id. at 22-23.)

On February 10, 2014, NNI answered Ms. Tran's complaint and filed a counter-claim against Ms. Tran for breach of implied-in-fact contract, alleging Ms. Tran owes NNI $15, 331.34 plus interest for the tuition assistance she received because she left NNI within two years of completing her MBA courses. (Dkt. No. 14 at 24-26.)

NNI moves for summary judgment on all of Ms. Tran's claims and on its sole counterclaim. (Dkt. No. 23.) The Court ...


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