Court rules woman's discrimination complaints against National Multiple Sclerosis Society 'sheer speculation'

By Mary Ann Magnell | Aug 3, 2018

KANSAS CITY – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted summary judgment on July 10 requested by defendant National Multiple Sclerosis Society in a case brought against it that alleged discriminatory and retaliatory discharge.

Plaintiff Sakeena Daud filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge 12 days after her termination on April 5, 2017, as the operations administrator of the defendant’s Mid-America Chapter in Kansas City. In the charge, the plaintiff stated, "I believe I was subjected to a difference in terms and conditions of employment and denied a promotion based on my race, bi-racial, color, religion, Muslim and retaliation in violation of Title VII," the opinion states.

It was established by the court that the plaintiff failed to establish that she engaged in protected activity other than her EEOC intake questionnaire and failed to show “a causal connection between her intake questionnaire and the defendant’s decision to discharge her,” the ruling states.

It was also noted by Senior Judge Ortrie Smith that the plaintiff’s EEOC charge did not identify wrongful termination in her complaint. Further, the plaintiff did not establish a “prima facie case of discrimination on any basis under either statute,” which was on basis of religion, race or color, the court stated.

The court stated that because the summary judgment was brought by the defendant, that the court must “view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party” (in this case, the plaintiff). The court also stated that the plaintiff must "set forth specific facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial," and not "simply rely on assertions in the pleadings to survive a motion for summary judgment."

"Each discrete discriminatory act, such as a termination, failure to promote, denial or transfer, or refusal to hire, constitutes a separate actionable offense and must be identified in the administrative charge,” Smith wrote.

Smith noted that Daud “repeatedly relies on allegations in her complaint” and “sheer speculation.” 

The opinion stated that the defendant presented “legitimate, non-discriminatory rationale” for its hiring decisions and that the plaintiff’s color, race or religion did not play a part in the decision not to advance her to the final interview stage when she applied for an operation manager position in November 2016.

Additionally, the defendant provided what it described as "months-long" performance issues and ineffective collaboration. Further, “various employees, including plaintiff’s direct supervisors” expressed difficulty “getting plaintiff to perform tasks required by her position.”

Although the plaintiff claimed that she was not placed on a “performance improvement plan, and received no formal performance review,” the court found that Daud “continually resisted corrective guidance,” as well as refused to engage with supervisors and HR personnel when she was asked to discuss her concerns. 

The filing further stated the plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge claim would fail even if she could establish a prima facie case because the defendant established a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for her termination. 

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri case number 17-00378-CV-W-ODS 

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