Gogel v. KIA Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc., No. 16-16850 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eleventh Circuit granted rehearing en banc and affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to plaintiff's retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. 1981. The court first held that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Kia's stated reason for firing her -- solicitation of another employee to sue the company -- was a pretext to mask a retaliatory motive, and thus she has necessarily failed to show that a reasonable jury could find that but for the filing of her EEOC charge she would not have been fired.
The court also held that an employee's oppositional conduct under Title VII is not protected if the means by which the employee has chosen to express her opposition so interferes with the performance of her job that it renders her ineffective in the position for which she is employed. In this case, Kia held a good faith belief that plaintiff had abandoned her responsibility to try to resolve an employee's dispute without litigation when she instead actively solicited a complaining employee to sue the company and provided the employee with the name of an attorney to use; Kia determined it could no longer keep her as its Manager of Team Relations, the department to which unhappy employees were sent to air their complaints; and Kia fired plaintiff because she chose to act in a way that conflicted with the core objectives of her sensitive and highly important position.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on September 24, 2018.