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Watts v. South Carolina Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

January 29, 2019

MONICA WATTS, Plaintiff,




         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. alleging discrimination based on her race and sex. She also alleges a state law quantum meruit claim. Presently before the court is Defendant South Carolina Department of Corrections' (SCDC) Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 21). All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g), DSC. This report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.

         II. FACTS

         Plaintiff, an African-American female, began employment with SCDC in 1991. She has been continuously employed at SCDC since that time. Pl. Dep. 9-12 (Ex. 1 to Pl. Resp.). In 2006, Plaintiff was promoted to a Program Coordinator II, Band 6 - Level B with a salary of $37, 905. Pl. Salary History (Ex. 2 to Pl. Resp.). Plaintiff has received state wide salary increases since her promotion in 2006 and her salary as of November 17, 2016, was $44, 055 annually. Pl. Salary History. By 2010, Plaintiff was responsible for coordinating the release process for youthful offenders in the Division of Young Offender Parole and Reentry Services (YOPRS). Pl. 2010 Position Description (Ex. B to Def. Motion). On November 2, 2013, SCDC transferred Plaintiff to the Division of Classification and Women's Facilities in the Inmate Records Office. Memo. dated Oct. 3, 2013 (Ex. C to Def. Motion). On January 15, 2016, following the appointment of David McCall as SCDC's Deputy Director of Operations, Plaintiff was transferred back to YOPRS. McCall Dep. 19 (Ex. 3 to Pl. Resp.).

         Forde Claffy, another SCDC employee, is a white male in the Division of YOPRS working as a Program Coordinator II. Beginning in April 2013, Forde Claffy's position included the duty “Serves as coordinator for the Intensive Supervision Services (ISS) Referral and Release Authority” which was allocated to take up 45% of Claffy's time. Claffy Eval. (Ex. 4 to Pl. Resp.). As of June 2, 2016, Claffy's pay was $61, 389. Claffy Salary History.

         On February 17, 2016, Ginny Barr - Division Director of YOPRS - requested that SCDC assign technical support duties to Claffy “to meet the IT demands of the Division.” Memo. dated Feb. 17, 2016 (Ex. to Pl. Resp.). Claffy is classified as a Program Coordinator II, Band 6 - Level E, which is higher than Plaintiff's level. Pl. Dep. 35. In the same memo, Barr requested that the division assign additional duties to Plaintiff, stating, “Ms. Watts has the capacity and skills to expand her duties. It is proposed that she will add specific release processes for Intensive Supervision cases currently being managed by Mr. Claffy to her job duties.” Memo. dated Feb. 17, 2016. These changes were memorialized in Plaintiff's new Position Description, which she received on July 26, 2016. Pl. Position Description (Ex. 7 to Pl. Resp.). These changes to the job duties of Forde Claffy and Plaintiff were effective on May 2, 2016. Pl. Dep. 93.

         At the time Claffy was performing these duties, he was compensated $61, 389 a year. Claffy Salary History. After Claffy's duties were changed he continued to be paid $61, 389 a year. Claffy Salary History. Prior to the additional duties being assigned to Plaintiff, she was making $44, 055 a year. Pl. Salary History. After the duties were reassigned, Plaintiff's compensation remained at $44, 055 annually. Pl. Salary History. Plaintiff has testified that she still performs all the duties from her previous position, and all of those duties still appear on Plaintiff's position description. Pl. Eval. (Ex. 8 to Pl. Resp.). However, Ginny Barr has testified that Plaintiff's previous job duties were made obsolete for the most part. Barr Dep. 19-21 (Ex. 9 to Pl. Resp.). In describing the change in Plaintiff's job duties, Barr testified as follows:

Q. Okay.·Were these the duties that were given to Ms. Watts?
A. Yes.
Q. Were any of her previous duties taken away when she was given these duties?
A. Her previous duties became obsolete.
Q. Can you tell me which duties became obsolete?
A. The releasing process the agency had previously used became obsolete when a new system was put into place.
Q. Just for my clarity, if we look back at Exhibit No. 2, this is Ms. Watts's EPMS, can you explain to me which of the duties in here are the duties that you say became obsolete?
A. At the -- well, the duties that -- it was the duty around the releasing of youthful offenders from the institution.
Q. Which would be No. four if you turn to the next page.··It says serves as non-ISS youth/youthful ...

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