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Chaib v. GEO Group, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 18, 2015

NORA CHAIB, Plaintiff,
v.
GEO GROUP, INC., Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For NORA CHAIB, Plaintiff: Richard L. Darst, COHEN GARELICK & GLAZIER, Indianapolis, IN.

For THE GEO GROUP, INC., Defendant: Alan L. McLaughlin, LITTLER MENDELSON PC, Indianapolis, IN; Emily L. Connor, LITTLER MENDELSON, Indianapolis, IN.

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ENTRY ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant GEO Group, Inc. (" GEO Group" ) (Filing No. 56). Plaintiff, Nora Chaib (" Ms. Chaib" ), filed this action against her former employer, GEO Group, alleging she was discriminated against on the basis of her race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (" § 1981" ) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (" Title VII" ), as well as based upon her sex and national origin in violation of Title VII. In addition, she alleges GEO Group retaliated against her after she complained about discriminatory conduct and for filing a workers' compensation claim under Indiana state law. GEO Group argues it is entitled to summary judgment on all of Ms. Chaib's federal claims because she was not meeting legitimate employment expectations and cannot show that GEO Group's reason for her termination was pretext. For the same reasons, GEO Group contends it did not retaliate against Ms. Chaib in violation of Indiana law. For the reasons set forth below, GEO Group's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

As the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed material facts and the disputed evidence are presented by the court in the light reasonably most favorable to Ms. Chaib as the non-moving party. Ms. Chaib was born in France and is of French and Algerian descent. GEO Group provides private correctional and detention management, community re-entry services, and behavioral mental health services to government agencies worldwide. GEO Group operates the Short Term Offender Program (" STOP" ) facility in Plainfield, Indiana.[1] Ms. Chaib began working for GEO Group as a correctional officer at its STOP facility on or around August 8, 2011. At her orientation, she received and reviewed various GEO Group employment policies, including the Employee Handbook, Conduct Policy, Progressive Discipline Policy, the Sexual Harassment and Workplace Harassment policy, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. On September 23, 2011, Ms. Chaib was promoted to the Assistant Safety Manager position. David Burch (" Superintendent Burch" ), STOP's Superintendent, was Ms. Chaib's direct supervisor after the promotion.

A. Ms. Chaib's Complaints

On October 31, 2011, Ms. Chaib complained to Human Resources that a co-worker, Denise Bondelie (" Ms. Bondelie" ) had made a " racist comment" and that Ms. Chaib " felt offended." Ms. Bondelie asked Ms. Chaib who a visiting " Black" employee was. When Ms. Chaib answered that he was the director if the region, Ms. Bondelie replied that he could not be because GEO Group did not have any Black men in the pictures of corporate representatives in the lobby. Human Resources investigated Ms. Chaib's complaint, and referred it to the Internal Affairs/Office of Professional Responsibility (" OPR" ) for further

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investigation. The Internal Affairs investigator did not substantiate Ms. Chaib's claims stating that " nobody else had heard the conversation." GEO Group took no further action on this matter.

On December 19, 2011, Ms. Chaib got into a verbal altercation with her co-worker, Lieutenant Kevin Davis (" Lt. Davis" ), about Ms. Chaib working over the weekend as a correctional officer. During the argument, Lt. Davis claimed that she had " stabbed him in the f back," called her a " stupid foreigner" and that she would " work sanitation." Two days later, Ms. Chaib called into GEO Group's employee hotline number to complain about the incident with Lt. Davis. GEO Group referred her allegation to OPR for investigation by Holly Strong (" Ms. Strong" ). Lt. Davis disputed Ms. Chaib's version of the incident. Because Ms. Chaib could not corroborate her allegation against Lt. Davis with any other evidence, Ms. Strong concluded her investigation and determined she could not substantiate the allegation.

In late January or early February 2012, Ms. Chaib reported to Acting Assistant Superintendent Daniel LaFlore (" Mr. LaFlore" ) that she had discovered a document on her computer titled " Simplex Information" that contained an inappropriate comment. Simplex Grinnell is one of GEO Group's vendors who provide monitoring of smoke detectors and other alarms for the STOP facility. Specifically, the document was titled Smoke Detectors, but when Ms. Chaib opened the document it contained the statement: " All niggers remain on your bunk or you will be shot." Ms. Chaib did not know how the document or statement got onto the computer in her office and did not know how long it had been there. Mr. ...


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