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Kim v. Coach, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 9, 2016

CATHERINE KIM, Plaintiff,
v.
COACH, INC., a Foreign Profit Corporation, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 23)

HELEN GILLMOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Plaintiff Catherine Kim filed a Complaint alleging claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against her former employer, Coach, Inc.

Defendant moved for summary judgment as to each of Plaintiff’s claims.

Plaintiff abandoned her claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and unwarranted discipline.

Plaintiff opposes summary judgment on her claim alleging retaliation by means of a reduction in work hours.

Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation.

Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 23) is GRANTED.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 21, 2014, Plaintiff Catherine Kim (“Plaintiff”) filed a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Ex. N of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-19).

On September 25, 2014, the EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights form to Plaintiff. (Ex. O of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-20).

On December 22, 2014, Plaintiff timely filed a Complaint against Defendant. (ECF No. 1).

On February 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint against Defendant. (ECF No. 7).

On November 12, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, along with a concise statement of facts in support. (ECF Nos. 23; 24).

On December 7, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, along with a concise statement of facts in opposition. (ECF Nos. 26; 27).

On January 7, 2016, Defendant filed a Reply to Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 28).

On February 1, 2016, the Court held a hearing on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 29).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff’s Employment with Defendant

On September 24, 2006, Plaintiff Catherine Kim (“Plantiff”) began her employment with Defendant Coach, Inc. (“Defendant”) as a sales associate in Honolulu. (Hazlett Decl. at ¶4, ECF No. 24-2). From April 2009 until September 2013, Plaintiff worked at Defendant’s Ala Moana retail store. (Def. CSF at No. 1).

During the entire time in which Plaintiff worked at Defendant’s Ala Moana store, Trisha Makiya (“Makiya”) was the general manager of that store. (Makiya Decl. at ¶1, ECF No. 24-3). As Plaintiff’s general manager, Makiya was responsible for determining the number of hours Plaintiff worked. (Id. at ¶2).

Determination of Work Hours at Defendant’s Ala Moana Store

According to Defendant, the number of hours an employee works at the Ala Moana store generally depends on the store’s monthly payroll budget, the employee’s part-time or full-time classification, and the needs of the store. (Makiya Decl. at ¶¶3-5, ECF No. 24-3). Defendant states that the combination of factors generally results in a week-by-week fluctuation in the number of hours a particular employee works. (Id. at ¶4). As general manager, Makiya is also able to adjust a particular employee’s hours during their shift. An employee’s hours may therefore be modified or eliminated on a monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly basis. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s First Charge of Discrimination

On August 20, 2012, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination (“First Charge”) with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (“HCRC”) and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Ex. J of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-15). The First Charge alleged claims of race and sex discrimination, and sexual harassment, against Defendant. (Id.)

The HCRC and EEOC dismissed Plaintiff’s First Charge, which allowed her to file a lawsuit in federal or state court. (Ex. Q of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-22; Ex. R of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-23).

Plaintiff’s First Lawsuit

On February 21, 2013, Plaintiff filed a state-court lawsuit against Defendant (the “First Lawsuit”). (Ex. G of Def. CSF, ECF No. 24-12).

Plaintiff’s Work Hours

Beginning on April 1, 2013, Plaintiff’s average work hours declined. (Def. CSF at Nos. 32; 34, ECF No. 24). In the period between October 14, 2012 and March 30, 2013, Plaintiff was paid for an average of 26.95 hours per week. (Id. at No. 32). In the period between April 1, 2013 and September 14, 2013, Plaintiff was paid for an average of 22.57 hours per week. (Id. at No. 34).

Defendant’s Knowledge of Plaintiff’s First Lawsuit

On May 22, 2013, Plaintiff served Defendant with notice of the First Lawsuit. (Ex. II of Def. Reply, ECF No. 28-2). The next day, Defendant’s legal department informed the senior manager for employee relations, Katrina Hazlett (“Hazlett”), of the First Lawsuit. (Hazlett Second Decl. at ¶2, Def. Reply, ECF No. ...


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