United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
MICHELLE M. STRINGFIELD, Plaintiff,
COSENTINO'S FOOD STORES, Defendant.
Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. United States District Judge
pending before the Court is plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. # 62); Cosentino's Food Stores
(“Cosentino's”) Motion to Strike
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 66);
Cosentino's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 67),
Cosentino's Motion to Strike or for Leave to File
Sur-Reply (Doc. # 70) and Cosentino's Motion to Strike
Plaintiff's Additional Suggestions in Support of Summary
Judgment (Doc. # 79).
began working for Cosentino's Food Stores in May 2010 as
a deli worker at Store #105. Cosentino has an Attendance
Policy which is included in its Employee Handbook. The
Attendance Policy states in part:
[a] good attendance record is required of every employee. Our
customers and fellow employees depend on you to help the
store operate successfully. You are responsible for working
all of your scheduled shifts, for reporting to work on time,
and for working until the end of your scheduled shift. . .
.If it is necessary for you to leave during the work day,
please provide advance notice to your Department Manager.
Rules of Conduct Policy states in part:
Obviously, it is impossible to list every reason for which an
employee may be disciplined or discharged . . .but some
behaviors are considered so egregious that summary
termination may be appropriate. The following list, while
certainly not exhaustive, contains examples of the types of
conduct that could be grounds for immediate termination:
1. Leaving your assigned work area or the store premises
during your shift without authorization from your Store
Director or Department Manager.
Cosentino also had a Family and Medical Leave of Absence
Policy. The policy stated in part:
The Company has a Family and Medical Leave Policy that is in
compliance with The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
(FMLA), which provides for a leave of absence in certain
circumstances. . . .Employees who wish to take FMLA leave
must notify the company's Benefits Coordinator in as far
advance of the leave as possible.
September 14, 2010, plaintiff received a verbal warning for
violating the attendance policy. The description of the
incident stated that “[o]n September 9 (Thurs) you left
your shift early at approx. 7:30 p.m. You were scheduled til
[sic] 8:00. You failed to ask store mgr if you could leave
early. If no supervisor is in deli on duty you must ask store
manager.” On October 15, 2014, plaintiff received a
Final Written Warning for violation of the attendance policy.
“[E]xcessive absenteeism including leaving work
early” on four occasions (July 12, 2014 - October 8,
2014). The form stated: “Michelle is expected to work
entire work schedule and as a shift supervisor lead by
example and appropriately support Dept. Mgr.” The form
also notes that there was previous counseling regarding this
Jan. 4, 2014 Written = Insubordination & job performance
Jan. 13, 2014 Suspension = Sales Transaction w/ family member
form indicates that the employee has been told that further
incidents or violations will result in termination. Under
employee signature it states: “Refused to Sign.”
testified that she met with three managers on October 15,
2014 who gave her a final written warning:
Q. Okay. So basically my point with this, Ms. Stringfield, is
that you were given a final written warning. You were told
that you needed to complete your shifts; is that correct?
Q. And you knew that if you were going to leave the store
premises during your shift, that you needed to notify a store
manager or a department manager; is that correct?
A. That's correct. There was no managers around.
Q. Okay. And you went ahead, knowing those things, and you
clocked out and you left; is that true?
Q. That's true. . . .
Q. Hold on just a minute. Let me finish my question. You were
in this meeting with them and you never said before you left,
I'm not feeling good because of this meeting, I need to
go home; is that true?
A. I didn't say nothing in the meeting.
Q. Okay. And then they asked you after you left the meeting
to go back to the deli and to send the deli manager, Fran Roc
- - how do you say her last name?
Q. Roccoro. Back to the front office. And when you saw Fran,
you didn't say, Fran, I'm not feeling good. I need to
leave. Is that true?
A. That's true.
Q. Okay. So you passed four managers on your way out of the
store and you didn't notify any ...