The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greenaway, District Judge.
Presently before the Court are defendants' motions for summary
judgment. Plaintiff Gina Morales-Evans ("Evans") alleges that she
was sexually harassed by her supervisor, defendant William
Coleman, during her tenure at the Administrative Office of the
Courts ("AOC"), in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), the New
Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. §§ 10:5-1 et seq.
("LAD"), and state tort law.*fn1 For the reasons discussed
below, defendants' motions are granted.
The pertinent facts, taken in the light most favorable to Evans
as the nonmoving party, are as follows: Evans was acquainted with
Coleman prior to her employment with the AOC. Coleman was an
adjunct professor at Essex County Community College ("ECCC") in
Newark, New Jersey, where Evans was a clerical worker. See
Evans 56.1 Statement ¶ 3. Evans spoke to Coleman and expressed an
interest in enrolling in a course he taught at ECCC. See id.
Coleman subsequently informed her of job openings with the AOC's
Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program ("JISP"). See id. ¶ 4.
Evans applied for a position and Coleman interviewed her. See
Evans Exs. C, H, I, J, K. During the relevant time, Coleman was
the Regional Supervisor for the JISP's Northern Region. Defendant
Phillip J. Hill was the Director of the JISP; Coleman reported to
Hill. Defendant Harvey Goldstein was Hill's supervisor. Defendant
Bobby E. Battle was the Chief of the AOC's Equal Employment
Opportunity Office ("EEO/AA").*fn2 See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶¶
Evans alleges that Coleman began harassing her in 1993 after
she applied for a position with the JISP, but before she was
hired. See Evans Ex. AAA, Evans Dep. at 22, Ex. BBB, Evans Dep.
at 25. At ECCC, Coleman visited Evans' office daily to invite her
to lunch or out after work. See Evans Ex. AAA, Evans Dep. at
22. During this period of time, Coleman told Evans that he wanted
to hire and work with beautiful people and frequently joked about
his aversion to working with "ugly people." Evans Ex. BBB, Evans
Dep. at 25.
On at least one occasion, Coleman visited Evans' house
uninvited. Evans believes Coleman got her address off her resume
because she had never given it to him directly. See Evans Ex.
AAA, Evans Dep. at 22. At some point during this time before
Evans started at the JISP, Coleman invited her to a basketball
game to "see him interact with the juveniles of the program."
Id. When Evans exited her car upon arriving at the game,
Coleman grabbed her hand to walk her inside. Evans immediately
let go of his hand and left the game after five to ten minutes.
Approximately one year after Evans joined the JISP, around
holiday or vacation time, Coleman came into the office and kissed
Evans on the cheek. See Derry Cert. Ex. C, Evans Dep. at 122.
Evans did not object and did not report it to anyone in the AOC,
although she mentioned it to certain co-workers. See id. On
three other occasions, after either Evans or Coleman had been
absent for a period of time, Coleman kissed Evans on the cheek.
She never objected. See Derry Cert. Ex. C, Evans Dep. at 124.
Often during office celebrations, JISP staff hugged each other as
an expression of friendship. See Coleman 56.1 Statement ¶ 44.
Once on Evans' birthday, after Coleman kissed her on the cheek,
Evans told him not to do so. See Derry Cert. Ex. D, Evans Dep.
at 139. She did not report the unwelcome birthday kiss to anyone
at the time. See id.
Evans and Coleman interacted socially on occasion. At some
point early in Evans' tenure, Evans attended a birthday party for
Coleman at his home. She also attended Coleman's wedding. See
Coleman Ex. FF4, Evans Dep. at 79-81; Coleman 56.1 Statement ¶
In June 1995, a JISP "volunteer-mentor," who is not a party in
this matter, tried forcibly to kiss Evans, who resisted his
advance. See Evans Ex. M, Evans Dep. at 85.*fn4 The
volunteer-mentor had previously expressed interest in Evans, who
had made it clear that she was not interested in a social
relationship. See id.
Evans alleges that Coleman made light of the incident when she
reported it to him. Upon receiving Evans' written complaint,
Coleman emerged from his office and joked to other staff members
that he had told them not to put a "desperate sign" on Evans'
back. Id. Coleman further stated "I can't help it if you are so
voluptuous, maybe he was trying to get his tongue in between your
gap," or words to that effect. Evans Ex. M, Evans Dep. at 85-86.
Following this exchange, on June 13, 1995, Evans wrote a memo
to Coleman "[i]n light of what happened between [her] and a
mentor," expressing "the need to have this address[ed] on a
broader scope," and requesting that the entire office receive
training in order to prevent a similar incident from occurring.
Evans Ex. A. Defendant Hill was copied on the June memo, which
made no reference to Coleman's comments. See id.
Upon learning of the mentor incident, Hill visited the Northern
Region office to address the problem. He met with Evans and
Coleman separately and directed Coleman to terminate the mentor.
See Evans Ex. Q, Hill Dep. at 51, 53.*fn5 Hill understood that
Evans felt that Coleman had not taken the incident sufficiently
seriously and told Coleman to be careful about how he responded
to future situations because his responses "could get him into
trouble." Evans Ex. Q, Hill Dep. at 56. Hill did not, however,
officially reprimand Coleman in writing. See Evans Ex. R, Hill
Dep. at 80. To address Evans' concerns, Hill set up a
special sexual harassment training session, which was held in
October 1995. See Evans Ex. Q, Hill Dep. at 50-51, 53.*fn6
Evans alleges that Coleman made other sexually inappropriate
remarks. At some point in time, upon hearing Evans sneeze,
Coleman inquired who had sneezed and commented that the loudness
of a person's sneeze correlates with the noise he or she makes
during intercourse. See Evans Ex. JJ, Crawford Dep. at 43; Ex.
NN, Griggs Dep. at 29. One JISP employee testified that Coleman
made the "sneeze joke" frequently when female staff members would
sneeze. See Evans Ex. OO, Griggs Dep. at 30. Coleman also once
described a visit to a nude beach and compared the size of his
genitalia to that of other men on the beach. See Evans Ex. LL,
Crawford Dep. at 47; Ex. PP, Padilla Dep. at 42. Evans also
alleges that Coleman joked about the breasts of another woman in
the office. See Evans 56.1 Statement ¶ 40; Evans Ex. QQ,
Padilla Dep. at 77.
At some point in 1995, Evans was engaged in a work-related
conversation near her desk with other JISP staff members,
including William Clemons. Earlier in that year, Clemons and
Evans had been involved in an intimate relationship that had
since ended. See Derry Cert. Ex. A, Clemons Dep. at 62.*fn7
Coleman approached the group and commented that Clemons and Evans
should "get a hotel room" and gestured as if to hand them money
to pay for it. See Evans Ex. TT, Clemons Dep. at 64.
During 1995 and 1996, Evans and Coleman had numerous disputes
concerning Evans' attendance and job performance. In a memo dated
July 31, 1995, Evans expressed her displeasure about Coleman's
comments following the mentor incident. See Evans Ex. N. She
further complained about a July 27, 1995 memo from Coleman
concerning the "chain of command." In that July 27 memo, Coleman
had reprimanded Evans for contacting Coleman's supervisors about
a dispute between Evans and a female clerical worker, Betsy
Fermaintt, without having first contacted Coleman. See Evans
Exs. N, T. In the July 27 memo, Coleman also suggested that Evans
obtain further training on her supervisory skills. See Evans
Ex. T. In her response, Evans noted that she had contacted the
Union about how to improve her supervisory skills. See Evans
In a memo dated January 3, 1996, Coleman explained to Evans
that his request regarding her time management had stemmed from
the printout he had received from the personnel department. See
AOC 56.1 Statement ¶ 35; Battle Cert. Ex. N. Coleman further
explained that protocol required Evans to telephone him when she
would not be at work, and that Coleman had been telephoning Evans
at home in an effort to contact her when she was not at work, but
had not telephoned in. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶ 36.
Evans complained that Coleman unnecessarily telephoned her at
home concerning her schedule and took away some of her
responsibilities. Specifically, Evans charged that Coleman no
longer permitted her to manage the office calendar, to submit
official time sheets to the JISP administrative office, or to
proofread Northern Region JISP reports. See Battle Cert. Ex. O.
These concerns were addressed initially at a meeting on January
11, 1996 among Evans, defendant Goldstein, and AOC Administrative
Assistant Edward Miklosey. Evans conceded that the telephone
calls were all work-related, but felt that others in the office
could have provided Coleman with the information he had
requested. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶ 40.
At a subsequent meeting among Coleman, Evans, and Miklosey, on
January 22, 1996, Coleman agreed to reinstate the three job
functions that had been taken away. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶
39; Battle Cert. Ex. P. Evans agreed to make every reasonable
effort to perform her duties five days each week. In the event
that Evans was absent, Coleman agreed to try to obtain any
information he needed from people in the office, rather than by
phoning Evans' home. See Battle Cert. Ex. P; AOC 56.1 Statement
Following that meeting, which ended at 11:00 a.m. in Trenton,
Evans did not return to work in Jersey City. She was absent the
following day as well. Coleman issued a memorandum, dated January
23, 1996, requesting an explanation for her absence. See Battle
Cert. Ex. Q. In her January 25, 1996 response, Evans explained
that she was under the impression that "clerical staff has always
been excused after a field day," and that she had submitted to
Coleman a request for a personal day on the second day. Evans Ex.
Z. Evans further complained about inappropriate remarks that
Coleman had made in the office, and copied Hill on this memo.
On February 1, 1996, Coleman notified Evans that she would be
docked pay for nine absences in December 1995, taken in excess of
her leave time. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶¶ 47-48; Battle Cert.
Ex. S. Once again, Theresa Ballard, who was also absent in
December following the exhaustion of all of her leave time,
received a similar memo. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶ 49; Battle
Cert. Ex. T.
By fax dated February 2, 1996, Evans contacted defendant Battle
about Coleman's actions. See Battle Cert. Ex. U. In her note to
Battle, Evans stated that she viewed Coleman's "constant
reminders as harassment" and noted that Coleman had taken away
certain of her job responsibilities. Id. On February 5, 1996,
Evans notified Battle that she intended to file a formal
complaint against Coleman. See AOC 56.1 Statement ¶ 52; Evans
On March 28, 1996, Evans had another altercation with Betsy
Fermaintt, the clerical employee in the AOC with whom she had had
a history of difficulties. Evans called the Jersey City Police
into the office. See Derry Cert. Ex. B, Evans Dep. at 120.
Coleman told the police that Evans was the problem and that she
had been harassing Fermaintt for years. See id. Evans also
states that Coleman told her that ...