United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. Dkt. # 100. Plaintiff opposes the Motion.
Dkt. # 102. For the reasons that follow, the Court
DENIES Defendant's Motion. Dkt. # 100.
Minhnga Nguyen is a Vietnamese woman and a resident of the
State of Washington. Dkt. # 104 ¶¶ 1, 3. Plaintiff
was hired by Defendant, the Boeing Company (“Boeing),
in 1991. Id. at ¶ 3. Nguyen worked at Boeing as
an Electrical Engineer until she was laid off from her job in
2009. Id. at ¶¶ 3-5. From April 26, 2010
through December of 2011, Nguyen worked for Boeing as a
Contract Engineer. Id. at ¶ 6. In 2011, Boeing
hired Nguyen back as a Level 3 System Engineer. Id.
at ¶ 7.
to Boeing's Administration of Employee Corrective Action
Policy, an Employee Corrective Action (“ECA”)
will be taken when an employee engages in a practice that is
inconsistent with the Boeing Code of Conduct, Expected
Behaviors for Boeing Employees, U.S. Government security,
regulatory and contractual requirements, or ordinary,
reasonable, common sense rules of conduct. Dkt. # 101-1 at
68-76. When an employee has an active corrective action on
file, it is typically handled using progressive corrective
action. Id. The corrective action process does not
necessarily include every step, and can begin with any level
and proceed to more severe measures for similar subsequent
violations. Id. After an investigation and review,
an ECA is issued at one of the following escalating levels:
(1) verbal warning; (2) written warning; (3) time off from
work; and (4) discharge. Id. Written warnings, time
off from work, and discharge require preparation and issuance
of a Corrective Action Memo (“CAM”). Id.
After the ECA is issued, employee behavior is routinely
monitored for compliance. Id. If a CAM is in active
status, it must be the basis for progressive corrective
action if the employee engages in behavior that is the same
or similar to the behavior in the active CAM. Id.
The standard duration of an active CAM is twelve (12) months
unless additional violations for the same or similar type of
offense have occurred. Id. If such an additional
violation occurs, the previous active CAM's expiration
date will be extended to match that of the subsequent CAM.
March 14, 2014, Plaintiff received a CAM from her supervisor
at the time, Dorothy Todd, for failure to comply with
management direction. Dkt. # 103 Ex. A. Prior to that date,
Plaintiff alleges that she complained about Todd not treating
her equally to other employees. Dkt. # 104 ¶ 9.
Plaintiff responded to this CAM and stated that her
supervisor, Dorothy Todd, and James Michael Todd were
retaliating against her for reporting James Michael
Todd's actions. Dkt. # 103 Ex. A. It is unclear what
these actions were, or why Todd and James Michael Todd would
be retaliating against Plaintiff for reporting them.
April of 2014, Todd was transferred to a different group and
Gary Weber became Plaintiff's supervisor. Dkt. # 104
¶ 12. Keith Sellers became Plaintiff's senior
manager, and Kim Conner became her Human Resources
generalist. Id. at ¶ 13. In August of 2014,
Plaintiff received a second CAM for failing to comply with
management direction. The CAM states that Plaintiff failed to
notify management that she was out of the office on July 21,
2014 and that she failed to report her time accurately. Dkt.
# 103 Ex. B.
manager, Weber, was on vacation at that time, and Plaintiff
alleges that she sent her acting manager, Jeff Vick, an email
on July 18, 2014, informing him that she was ill and that she
would be absent the following Monday. Dkt. # 104 ¶ 16.
On July 21, 2014, Sellers called Plaintiff's home twice,
but Plaintiff did not answer his calls. Id. Sellers
directed Plaintiff to change her time entry for July 21, 2014
to time off without pay, but Plaintiff did not do so. Dkt. #
101-1. The parties disagree on whether Vick or Sellers was
Plaintiff's acting manager while Weber was on vacation.
Dkt. ## 100, 104. Plaintiff received time off from work
without pay for this CAM. Dkt. # 103 Ex. B. The Expected
Behavior Category Violation (“EBCV”) for both the
March 2014 and August 2014 CAMs was “Produce, design,
and support our products and services”. Dkt. # 103 Exs.
A, B. On August 15, 2014, Plaintiff contacted Director of
Engineering, Rich Horigan, complained about her suspension,
and asked him for assistance. Dkt. # 104 ¶ 21.
September 9, 2014, Plaintiff received a parking ticket and
her car was towed. Dkt. # 101-1. On October 14, 2014,
Plaintiff received a third CAM for failing to comply with
site parking regulations. The EBCV for this CAM was
“Adhere to company agreements, policies, and
procedures”. Dkt. # 101-1 at 81. On October 17, 2014,
Plaintiff filed a discrimination complaint with Boeing's
EEO department. Dkt. # 104 ¶ 24. Plaintiff requested
Human Resources Manager Heather Frasier's help filing the
complaint. Id; Dkt. # 101 Ex. 3. On that same day,
Weber emailed Kim Conner asking to meet to “talk over
an employee issue and how to move forward.” Dkt. # 103
October 20, 2014, Conner sent herself two emails detailing
her meeting with Weber. Id. The emails state that
Weber's concern “is regarding Mihngna Nguyen [sic]
and her continuing to fail to follow directions.” The
emails also state that Plaintiff “continues to do some
work that takes a significant amount of time away from the
expected work packages, ” that Plaintiff would not use
a common spreadsheet to log information despite being asked
to do so, that there were “other issues”, and
that Weber had given her “sufficient time and repeated
requests to comply with the direction, but she fails to do as
requested.” Id. The emails also note that
Conner informed Frasier, since Frasier received emails from
Plaintiff on “01/16/2014 [sic] and 01/17/2014 [sic] . .
. regarding the corrective action she has received and
feeling singled out, ” and that Weber stated that
Plaintiff was not being singled out. Id.
about October 27, 2014, Conner met with Plaintiff to discuss
the issues raised by Weber. Dkt. # 101 Ex. 3. Conner followed
up with Plaintiff in writing, asking for her view of the
situation. Dkt. # 101-1 at 79-80. The email detailed four
examples of situations where Weber asked Plaintiff to do
something, and Plaintiff did not follow his directions.
Id. Plaintiff responded to Conner's email and
Conner then reviewed Plaintiff's response with Weber.
Dkt. # 101 Ex. 3. In Plaintiff's response, she indicated
that felt she was being treated differently than other
employees in the same group, and that she was concerned that
Conner and Weber were working together to give her CAMs and
suspensions, and that she was being targeted for termination.
Dkt. # 101-1 at 79-80. After reviewing Plaintiff's
responses, Weber made the decision to discharge Plaintiff.
Conner testified that decision to terminate Plaintiff was
made on or around October 28 or 29, 2014. Id.
November 4, 2014, Frasier submitted Plaintiff's complaint
to David Wuerch in Boeing's EEO department. Dkt. # 101
Ex. 4. Wuerch and Frasier exchanged emails regarding the
content of the complaint and Frasier indicated that she met
with Plaintiff in order to “try to understand the basis
of her complaint, ” and noted that Plaintiff
incorporated some additional information. Dkt. # 101 Ex. 3.
On November 13, 2014, Wuerch wrote to Frasier that he did not
see any “EEO issues” and that they could proceed
with Plaintiff's termination. Id.
November 20, 2014, Sellers informed Plaintiff that she was
being issued two additional CAMs. Dkt. # 101 Ex. 5; Dkt. #
104. The first was issued because Plaintiff received another
parking violation. The EBCV for this CAM was “Adhere to
company agreements, policies and procedures. Dkt. # 101-1 at
82. The second was issued for failure to comply with
management direction. Specifically, for Plaintiff's
failure to obtain manager approval to flex her schedule,
failure to stop doing a specific process and derivative work
statement when requested by her manager, and failure to start
using a common process when requested by her manager. Dkt. #
101-1 at 83. The EBCV for this CAM was “Produce,
design, and support our products and services.” This
was Plaintiff's third CAM issued for this EBCV.
Id. Sellers then informed Plaintiff that he was
terminating her employment with Boeing for failure to follow
employer directives. Dkt. # 104.
filed a Complaint against Boeing on May 20, 2015. Plaintiff
alleged harassment and discrimination based on her race,
national origin, and sex, and termination in retaliation for
complaining about the alleged harassment and discrimination.
Dkt. # 1. Plaintiff has since amended her complaint three
times in response to three motions to dismiss. Dkt. ## 25,
29, 43. On December 20, 2016, the Court ...