United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
S. Krieger Chief Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant, Fire Protection
Service Corporation d/b/a Mountain Alarm (FPS)'s Motion
for Summary Judgment (# 22), Plaintiff, Rebecca
Colaizzi's, Response (# 24), and FPS's Reply (# 28).
Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Restrict
Colaizzi asserts a claim under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e, and the Court exercises jurisdiction over this claim
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court exercises
jurisdiction over Ms. Colaizzi's related state law claim
under 28 U.S.C. § 1343.
Relevant Undisputed Facts
following is an abbreviated summary of the facts; relevant
details are discussed with more specificity in the
a business that installs home and building alarm systems
designed to alert fire and police departments in the event of
an emergency. Ms. Colaizzi began working at FPS in 2008 as an
administrative assistant. In 2010 she was promoted to office
office manager, Ms. Colaizzi was responsible for overseeing
administrative functions including the processing of alarm
system contracts and invoicing service tickets (requests for
work from preexisting customers). Prompt processing of
contracts was essential to FPS' business. Until a
contract was processed, a customer's alarm was
non-functional and law enforcement agencies did not have the
relevant information necessary to respond to an emergency. In
other words, if an alarm went off before a contract had been
processed, no emergency assistance would be dispatched to the
customer's address. This exposed the customer to risk and
FPS to potential liability. Similarly, the prompt billing of
service tickets was important to FPS' cash flow.
Colaizzi initially performed her job well. In 2011, she was
commended for her work ethic, but urged to focus on
delegating work to subordinates. In 2012, she received the
“Employee of the Month” award, and in June of
2013 she was given a raise.
the end of 2012 or early 2013, FPS acquired Rocky Mountain
Alarm. As a result of the expansion, Ms. Colaizzi's
workload increased substantially, and two administrative
staff members from Rocky Mountain Alarm were hired to assist
her. Despite the extra staff, Ms. Colaizzi fell behind in her
work, particularly with regard to processing contracts and
billing service tickets. Ms. Colaizzi told her supervisor,
Craig Simonds, that she was behind in these tasks and that
she was unable to timely complete the increased volume of
work. She also maintains that she requested help but none was
Simonds was concerned about Ms. Colaizzi's failure to
keep up with the processing of contracts and the billing of
tickets, and as a result had regular meetings with her. In
September 2013, Mr. Simonds met with Michael Bailey, FPS'
Chief Financial Officer, and Karen Hockins, a human resources
representative, regarding Ms. Colaizzi's performance. Mr.
Simonds and Mr. Bailey contemplated either terminating Ms.
Colaizzi's employment or moving her to another position.
However, no action was taken at that time because, based on
his conversations with Ms. Colaizzi, Mr. Simonds still
“had full trust that she would get [her job duties]
Colaizzi left work for maternity leave on October 14, 2013.
Before leaving, she informed FPS of several other issues: 1)
that there was a problem with closing service tickets; 2)
that several service tickets had not been entered into the
correct database, and as a result customers had not been
billed for work done by FPS technicians; and 3) that she and
another employee had had a conflict with one another, but
that it had been resolved.
Ms. Colaizzi began her maternity leave, Mr. Simonds and staff
went to her office to determine what work needed to be done.
To their surprise, they found more than 70 contracts that had
not been processed. Of great concern was that some of the
unprocessed contracts were not found in files or cabinets
(where contracts were usually kept), but instead in the
drawers of Ms. Colaizzi's desk. This discovery led Mr.
Simonds to believe that Ms. Colaizzi had not been forthcoming
with him about the extent to which she had fallen behind,
that instead she had deliberately hidden much of her
November 6, while still on leave, Ms. Colaizzi was asked to
meet with Mr. Simonds, Mr. Bailey, and Ms. Hockins. At that
meeting, Mr. Simonds and Mr. Bailey told Ms. Colaizzi what
they had discovered and that FPS intended to terminate her
employment based on poor job performance. Later that day, FPS
sent Ms. Colaizzi formal notice of her termination and the
reasons therefore. The letter stated that FPS' decision
was made because: 1) FPS employees found more than seventy
unprocessed contracts, some more than a year old; 2) there
were over 600 service tickets dating back to May of 2012 that
had not been closed or billed; 3) Ms. Colaizzi had failed to
enter emergency contacts and public safety agencies into
customers records, undermining the purpose of those
customers' security alarms; 4) Ms. Colaizzi had
“broken relationships with the key staff
members”; and 5) Ms. Colaizzi refused to accept
management's offer for additional staff members. Ms.
Colaizzi's employment was terminated effective
immediately, and a new office manager, Christine Graverson,
was hired. Ms. Graverson did not have children.
Colaizzi asserts two claims against FPS: 1) discrimination in
violation of Title VII based on pregnancy; and 2) defamation/
slander under Colorado law. FPS moves for summary judgment on