June 16, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Individual Plaintiffs Barred From Bringing Title VII Pattern-or-Practice Claims

The Tenth Circuit issued its opinion in Daniels v. United Parcel Service, Inc. on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.

Regina Daniels worked for United Parcel Service (UPS) as a dispatch specialist in a position that covered different shifts. She applied for promotions in 2005 and 2006 but, contrary to UPS policy, her manager never assessed her for the positions and UPS never followed up with her. She also had been training for the busiest shift, the “twilight window,” when a new policy was instituted that only full-time supervisors could work that shift. Her training ended. In 2008, Daniels met with UPS Human Resources to complain about her replacement in the cover position and assignment permanently to one shift and UPS’s lack of follow up to her promotion applications. In November 2008, Daniels filed an EEOC charge. The district court granted UPS’s motion for summary judgment on Daniels’s Title VII, ADEA, and Kansas state law claims.

The Tenth Circuit held that Daniels did not file her EEOC charge in a timely manner. Regarding the failure to promote claim, her conversation with human resources was not the relevant trigger date because it did not inform her of an adverse employment action. The court also rejected her arguments that 1) the futility doctrine applied, 2) the failure to promote was a compensation decision so a cause of action accrued with each paycheck and 3) the Morgan decision was overruled by the Fair Pay Act.

The court also held that individual plaintiffs may not bring pattern-or-practice claims so her denial of training claim also failed. Thus, she could only bring it in 2008 if the denial of training was a continuing violation and the court held it was not.

The court held that Daniels’s permanent assignment to night shift and replacement by a younger male in the cover position was not discrimination because it was not an adverse employment action. It also rejected her wage discrimination claim. The court held that to make out a prima facie case of wage discrimination, she would have had to perform substantially similar duties to full-time supervisors and because there were significant duties she did not perform, she failed. Finally the court held Daniels failed to establish a prima facie case of retaliation and affirmed summary judgment for UPS.