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Keys v. Humana, Inc.

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

October 22, 2013

KATHRYN KEYS, Plaintiff,
v.
HUMANA, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, Senior District Judge.

This case is before the court on motions of the defendant, Humana, Inc. ("Humana"), to strike or, in the alternative, to partially dismiss Plaintiff Kathryn Keys' ("Keys") Second Amended Complaint (DN 56). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motion to strike but will grant the motion to partially dismiss.

BACKGROUND

For the purpose of resolving Humana's motions, the Court accepts the following facts as undisputed. In March 2005, Keys was hired by Humana to work in its Louisville office. Although she had initially been offered a position as a "Director, " there was an error in her paperwork that resulted in her being hired instead as a "Consultant Leader." After a few months, Keys was able to correct this error and had her title changed to "Director." In that capacity, Keys supervised approximately twelve employees and reported to Humana's Vice President.

As an African-American woman, Keys claims that she was discriminated against throughout her employment at Humana. According to Keys, the following events constitute evidence of Humana's discrimination against her as well as other African-American and female employees:

1. In June 2005, Keys was assigned to lead a management team meeting. During the meeting, Keys was "verbally attacked" by her coworker Gracie Baldwin who screamed "Why are you here?" and "engaged in other disrespectful and disruptive behavior." Keys reported this incident to her supervisor but no action was taken. (Second Am. Compl., DN 44, at ¶ 11).
2. During a conference call in September 2005, Keys briefly excused herself to speak with her supervisor. While Keys was out of the room, her coworker Wadida Murib-Holmes ("Holmes") made negative comments about Keys. Keys reported this incident to her supervisor but no action was taken. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 12).
3. In October 2005, James Thomas was hired by Humana and took over Humana's national accounts, which were previously managed by Keys. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 13).
4. During a meeting in October 2005, Humana's Vice President of Sales for National Accounts Patrick O'Bryan ("O'Bryan") interrupted Keys while she was introducing herself and discussing her background. After this incident, O'Bryan did not invite Keys to future meetings. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 13).
5. During a conference call in November 2005, Holmes asked Keys a question, which Keys had to ask Holmes to repeat. Holmes insulted and humiliated Keys "by yelling at her and asking if she was taking notes." Later in the conference call, O'Bryan "made a malicious and humiliating comment" to Keys by "asking her if she was taking copious' notes." (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 14).
6. During a December 2005 meeting, "in an effort to publicly criticize... Keys' performance, " Holmes complained to Chief Operation Officer Jim Murray that six national accounts (for which Keys was responsible) were still being processed. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 15).
7. In February 2006, Keys' title was changed from "Director" to "Individual Contributor" as part of a personnel reorganization within Humana. Although the title change did not affect Keys' compensation or benefits, she no longer supervised any employees and was thereafter required to report to a Director, rather than the Vice President. No other Caucasian Director had their title changed to Individual Contributor. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 16).
8. As an Individual Contributor, Keys was assigned to work under Director William Baldwin, who "immediately began to treat... Keys in a discriminatory manner." (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 16).
9. In August 2006, Keys was placed on a performance improvement plan "despite the fact that she met her performance expectations." While "[s]imilarly situated Caucasian employees... were not placed on performance improvement plants, ... "ten to twelve African American [sic]... employees were placed on performance [improvement] plans..." (Second Am. Compl. at ¶ 17).
10. In October 2006, Keys filed a complaint with the Associate Relations Department (the "Department") "alleging that she was not being treated fairly due to her race and/or gender." After an investigation, the Department concluded that Keys' allegations were unfounded. Nevertheless, Keys chose to continue working in her existing department. (Second Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 18-19).
11. In January 2008, Keys was assigned to a different position which required her to report to Director Jerry Brewer ("Brewer"). Brewer "was evasive as to what [Keys'] role would be" in her new position and "made it known that he believed ...

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