CATHERINE D. NETTER, an individual, Plaintiff - Appellant,
SHERIFF BJ BARNES, in his official and individual capacity, Defendant-Appellee, and GUILFORD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, a North Carolina public entity, Defendant.
Argued: October 10, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
of North Carolina, at Greensboro. Catherine C. Eagles,
District Judge. (1:15-cv-00843-CCE-JEP)
Frank Fong, HENSEL LAW, PLLC, Greensboro, North Carolina, for
Marion Powell, WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) LLP, Greensboro,
North Carolina, for Appellee.
Hensel, HENSEL LAW, PLLC, Greensboro, North Carolina, for
S. Haynes, Ethan C. Goemann, WOMBLE BOND DICKINSON (US) LLP,
Greensboro, North Carolina, for Appellee.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, MOTZ and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
GRIBBON MOTZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE
D. Netter brings this appeal, arguing that her unauthorized
review and disclosure of confidential personnel files to
support her racial and religious discrimination claims
constituted protected activity under Title VII. Netter
contends that the district court erred in rejecting her
argument and granting summary judgment to her employer. For
the reasons that follow, we affirm.
a Black and Muslim woman, worked for the Guilford County
Sheriff's Office for approximately nineteen years, most
recently as a detention services supervisor. For more than
sixteen years, Netter compiled an unblemished disciplinary
record. That changed in April 2014, when she received a
disciplinary sanction that barred her from testing for a
promotion. Netter filed timely complaints with Guilford
County Human Resources and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. She alleged that similarly situated officers, who
were neither Black nor Muslim, had not been similarly
up on Netter's complaint, an investigator from the county
Human Resources office asked her if she had evidence to
support her discrimination claims. In response, Netter
reviewed, copied, and supplied the investigator with the
confidential personnel files (which she maintained in a file
cabinet in her shared office) of two subordinate employees
whom she supervised at Greensboro Jail Central. Netter also
provided the investigator with the personnel files of three
other employees who worked at the High Point Detention
Center, which she obtained through a personal request to a
co-worker. Netter ...