United States District Court, D. Delaware
Patrick C. Gallagher, Raeann Warner, JACOBS & CRUMPLAR,
P.A., Wilmington, Delaware Counsel for Plaintiff.
Richard A. Barkasy, Daniel M. Pereira, SCHNADER, HARRISON,
SEGAL & LEWIS LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Jo Bennett,
Samantha Banks, SCHNADER, HARRISON, SEGAL & LEWIS LLP,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Counsel for Defendants.
me in this employment discrimination case is a motion for
partial summary judgment (D.I. 81) filed by Defendants Mitra
QSR KNE, LLC and Mitra QSR, LLC (collectively,
"Mitra"). For the reasons discussed below, I will
grant in part and deny in part the motion.
Autumn Lampkins alleges three counts in her Amended Complaint
against Mitra: gender discrimination (Count I) and creating
and/or allowing a hostile work environment (Count
in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq. and parallel state law, and failure to provide
accommodations and opportunities to express breast milk
(Count III) in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 207(r). All three counts
arise out of the undisputed allegation that Lampkins needed
to use a pump to express breast milk at work following the
birth of her son.
Count I, Lampkins alleges that she suffered adverse
employment actions and was ultimately constructively
discharged because of her need to express milk during her
work hours. D.I. 15 at 21-22. In Count II, Lampkins alleges
that she "endure[d] pervasive and regular harassment
from her managers and co-workers" because of her need to
express milk. D.I. 15 at 23-24. In Count III, Lampkins
alleges that Mitra failed to provide her with sufficient
opportunities to express milk, initially forced her to
express milk in a bathroom, and then required her to express
milk in an office which had operating video cameras and
windows that allowed other employees to observe her express
the record evidence in the light most favorable to Lampkins,
as I must for summary judgment purposes, the relevant facts
are as follows. Lampkins began working for Mitra as an
assistant-restaurant-manager trainee at a KFC franchise in
Camden, Delaware, where she was initially required to pump
her milk in a bathroom, and then was required to pump in an
office which had a camera that could not be turned off and a
window through which her coworkers could and did observe her
pumping. D.I. 85, Ex. C at 94:21-95:08. One male employee was
caught observing Lampkins on two occasions when she pumped.
Id. at 96:23-97:9, 102:25-103:16. On multiple
occasions, another male employee used his keys to enter the
office while Lampkins was pumping. Id. at 96:10-11,
103:19-22, 269:20-22; D.L 85, Ex. E at 43:23-53:14.
Lampkins' supervisor did paperwork in the office while
Lampkins pumped. D.I. 85, Ex. F at ¶ 6.
wanted to pump every two hours but was permitted by her
supervisor to pump only once during her ten-hour shift at
Camden. D.I. 85, Ex. G at 86:12-16. After Lampkins'
coworkers complained when she took breaks from work to pump,
D.I. 85, Ex. D at 24:10-12; D.I. 85, Ex. F at ¶ 9,
Lampkins was demoted and transferred to a store in Dover
"so [that] it would be easier for [her] to get the time
to express [her] breast milk," D.I. 85, Ex. C at
65:12-66:13. Her pay was also cut. Id.
Dover, Lampkins was again forced to pump in an office with a
camera and a window. Id. at 139:10-18. Other
employees saw her pumping through the window and occasionally
entered the office while she was pumping. E.g., Id.
at 146:4-25; D.I. 85, Ex. J at 47:14-19. Lampkins'
supervisor cut Lampkins' hours for the stated reason that
Lampkins would have more time to pump. See Id. at
70:14-23; D.I. 85, Ex. I at 157:14-158:6, 217:5-218:1.
Because Lampkins could not pump a sufficient number of times
during her shift, her breast milk would leak through her
shirt, causing her embarrassment. See D.I. 85, Ex.
L. Eventually, Lampkins' milk supply dried up, preventing
her from breastfeeding her son. D.L 85, Ex. C at 270:6-15,
305:6-14; D.L 85, Ex. L.
coworkers at Dover complained about her pumping, and
employees under her supervision were insubordinate to her
because they were upset that she would pump rather than
"be on the floor." See, e.g., D.I. 85,
Ex. I at 207:2-22. This insubordination frustrated
Lampkins' ability to do her job. See, e.g., Id.
at 207:2-7. Lampkins' supervisor discouraged Lampkins
from pumping, see, e.g., Id. at 230:16-22, and
characterized Lampkins' pumping as "obviously ... a
huge issue," see Id. at 156:21-22.
Lampkins' supervisor testified that her own supervisor
"didn't even want to hear about [Lampkins'
pumping] anymore, really, because she didn't know what to
do [about it] either[.]" See Id. at
employment with Mitra culminated in a factually-disputed
incident involving a customer's jacket. Mitra claims that
Lampkins stole the jacket, but Lampkins claims to have
brought the jacket home accidentally. See D.I. 85,
Ex. C at 156:9-157:9. Shortly after the jacket incident,
Lampkins heard from a coworker that Lampkins' supervisor
planned on firing Lampkins. See Id. at 157:16-158:5.
Lampkins quit instead. See D.I. 85, Ex. L.
Lampkins' supervisor testified that she was
"probably" about to fire Lampkins because of the
jacket incident. See D.I. 85, Ex. I at 192:9-20.
LEGAL STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[T]he party moving for summary
judgment... bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of
any genuine issues of material fact." Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the burden of
persuasion at trial would be on the non-moving party, then
the moving party may satisfy its burden of production by
pointing to an absence of evidence supporting the non-moving
party's case, after which the burden of production then
shifts to the non-movant to demonstrate the existence of a
genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.,
Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986);
Williams v. Borough of West Chester, Pa., 891 F.2d
458, 460-61 (3d Cir. 1989). "In ...