United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
TATIANA Y. KOVALEVSKA, Plaintiff,
BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY OF INDIANA, LLC doing business as BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY, and BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY DIRECT CORPORATION, Defendants.
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Defendants Burlington Coat Factory of Indiana, LLC
(“Burlington”) and Burlington Coat Factory Direct
Corporation (“BCFDC”) (collectively,
“Defendants”). (Filing No. 37.) Plaintiff Tatiana
Kovalevska (“Kovalevska”) filed this action
against the Defendants under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.,
(“Title VII”) alleging that she was subjected to
a hostile work environment, on the basis of national origin,
and constructively discharged. For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the facts are
presented in the light most favorable to Kovalevska as the
non-moving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d
582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Pursuant to
Local Rule 56-1(f)(1), the facts that Kovalevska assert are
true, to the extent admissible evidence supports them.
is an off-price retailer of clothing, coats, accessories,
baby items and other soft goods that operated various stores
throughout Indiana. It is also an equal opportunity employer
and maintain s a policy against discrimination and
harassment. Kovalevska is of Russian/Ukrainian descent, and
she worked at a Burlington store, located in Clarksville,
Indiana, from September 2014 until her constructive discharge
on February 28, 2015. (Filing No. 1 at 2-3.)
Kovalevska was employed at Burlington as a merchandising team
associate. (Filing No. 38-1 at 7.) Wendy Carter
(“Carter”) supervised the Receiving Department at
Burlington. (See Filing No. 43-5 at 5.) Carter
supervised on average ten employees including Kovalevska at
the Clarksville Burlington. Id. at 3. As the
supervisor on shift, Carter was also charged with scheduling
breaks. Id. at 4. However, Carter did not have the
authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or
discipline Kovalevska or any other employees. (Filing No. 35
Kovalevska's material facts come from the testimony of
her daughter Erika Kovalevska (“Erika”), who was
not employed at Burlington. (See Filing No. 43 at
1-3.) Erika testified to several observations of her mother
during the time she worked at Burlington, including seeing
her mom come home from work crying every day due to
“being ‘very stressed out' from working
there.” (Filing No. 43-4 at 5.) Specifically,
Kovalevska informed Erika that Carter made her do a lot more
work than other employees and that she was always separated
from the African-American employees. Erika also testified
that Kovalevska told her she was the only white person in her
department, and that she was called a “dirty
Russian” and “stupid Russian” as well as
not given her breaks and having shortened lunches.
(Filing No. 43-4 at 7-8, 15.) Erika advised her
mother to report the conduct to Carter, and Erika also spoke
with Carter. Id. at 2. Carter told Erika that the
Christmas season was very busy and that she is making sure
that everybody is receiving their breaks. (Filing No. 43-4 at
16.) However, Erika contends that after her meeting with
Carter, Kovalevska continued to complain about not getting
breaks. Id. at 16. Erika testified that as a result
of the work stress, Kovalevska's blood pressure
frequently elevated and that Kovalevska told her that
“she could no longer handle it for her health.”
Id. at 22.
testified to the same conduct, as well as additional
harassment from her co-workers. One incident involved Matthew
Moore (“Moore”) with whom Kovalevska had frequent
confrontations. Kovalevska contends Moore destroyed a display
of merchandise that she had worked on throughout the day.
(Filing No. 38-1 at 21.) After Kovalevska told Moore
“to stop doing this” and he was not her boss,
Moore started screaming and attempted to jump on her but
Carter blocked him. Id. Carter ran and grabbed him
and put him into a room to talk to him. Id. at
21-22. Moore also frequently cussed at Kovalevska directly,
on a daily basis. See Id. at 22-23. Another
co-worker Jessica Radford (“Radford”) also cussed
at Kovalevska on a frequent basis. Id. at 23.
the deposition, after the lunch break, Kovalevska asked if
she could bring up another incident regarding Moore calling
her a “dirty Russian” a lot of times.
Q: Well, wait a minute. The first time I asked you about
everything Matthew had said to you, you never told me that,
A. I told--- Q. You didn't tell me that, did you?
A. Because I concentrate for another one.
Q. Because what?
A. Concentrate for another one.
Q. But after a break-did you talk to your attorney at the
Q. And I'm not asking about what you talked. Did you talk
to your attorney at the break?
A. No, I talk-talking with my husband and I say he was going
on and he said, “Why didn't you say-like, talk to
you “dirty Russian” and, like, you stay
beside-work beside the table, start laughing, and you say,
“Why you guys laughing for me again?” And
say-this Matthew say. He said-he said-and ...