The opinion of the court was delivered by: GARRETT BROWN, District Judge
This matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's motion and
Defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). Having considered the parties'
written submissions, and for the reasons discussed herein,
Plaintiff's motion is denied and Defendant's cross-motion is
This action involves claims of unlawful discrimination based on
gender, race and disability. Plaintiff Susan Q. Greb
("Plaintiff") brought suit against Defendants John E. Potter, the
Postmaster General, and the United States Postal Service
(collectively referred to as "Defendants") on July 12, 2002. In
her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges disability
discrimination under § 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
29 U.S.C. § 791 ("the Rehabilitation Act"), and discrimination based
on gender and race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000(e) et seq. (Am. Compl. at 2-3).
Plaintiff also claims that she was subjected to a discriminatory
hostile work environment and was constructively discharged from her position.
Plaintiff began employment with the United States Postal
Service on June 26, 1982. Plaintiff suffered two work-related
injuries which caused her to undergo shoulder surgeries. The
Department of Labor found that she was fit to work eight hours a
day in limited duty position. On May 25, 1999, Plaintiff was
offered a rehabilitation job offer as a Modified Mark-up Clerk
Automat which incorporated certain work restrictions based on her
medical impairments. (Pl.'s Decl., Ex. 2). Her duties included,
inter alia, working on mechanized and non-mechanized terminals
which involved a certain degree of keying. Plaintiff accepted the
rehabilitation job offer in July of 1999.
Plaintiff was assigned to the Computerized Mail Forwarding
System ("CFS") Unit. The CFS Unit was created at Monmouth
Processing and Distribution Center ("MPDC") in 1988. This unit
performs mail-forwarding services for the Postal Service. The
original supervisor of the CFS Unit was Robert Hoffman. In June
of 1999, the CFS Unit added the position of manager who was
responsible for supervising the employees, including the
supervisor. Horace Bonaparte ("Bonaparte") assumed this position.
Bonaparte was manager of the CFS Unit at MPDC between February of
1999 and March of 2002. Thereafter, the CFS Unit at MPDC closed
and Bonaparte was transferred to the CFS Unit located in New
Brunswick, New Jersey.
When Plaintiff began her position, she worked under the
supervision of Robert Hoffman. In March of 2000, however, the
unit divided into two tours the morning and evenings tours.
Bonaparte became the direct supervisor of the morning tour the
tour to which Plaintiff was assigned. Hoffman became supervisor
of the evening tour, but remained under the overall supervision
of Bonaparte. The managing style of Bonaparte and Hoffman greatly
differed. Bonaparte began implementing different policies, rules
and procedures. For example, Bonaparte prohibited the use of cell phones at employees' work stations,
and limited telephone calls by the employees. Employees were also
prohibited from bringing handbags, large bags, food or drinks to
their work area. Additionally, employees were required to inform
Bonaparte whenever they needed to leave the work area, which
included bathroom breaks. Many employees did not welcome the
changes in the work environment. Some employees found the
environment stressful or difficult. Other employees, however,
recognized that Bonaparte's style of managing was a means of
Although the working relationship between Plaintiff and her new
supervisor, Bonaparte, began without difficulty, a poor
relationship eventually developed between them. Between March and
July of 2000, Plaintiff recorded various incidences when she felt
that she was being harassed by Bonaparte. Plaintiff asserts that
Bonaparte would threaten her with disciplinary action when she
would not follow his orders. Plaintiff also asserts that she
requested Bonaparte to call her "Mrs. Greb," but Bonaparte
refused. Instead, she alleges that Bonaparte called her "Susan"
(her first name) or would mock her by addressing her with
variations of her last name.
With regard to Bonaparte's newly instituted policy of requiring
all employees to inform him whenever they left the work room
floor, Plaintiff claims that this policy only applied to females.
Defendants dispute this contention. Plaintiff asserts that she
felt uncomfortable with the concept of telling Bonaparte when she
had to use the bathroom. In lieu of this phrase, Plaintiff claims
she would inform Bonaparte that she needed to wash her hands.
Plaintiff recorded one incident when she informed Bonaparte that
she was going to wash her hands. In response, Bonaparte threw a
pair of gloves on her desk. Plaintiff further claims that
Bonaparte yelled at her while she was having a private
conversation with her co-worker. In April of 2000, Bonaparte received a threatening letter
concerning the manner in which he treated women. Bonaparte
forwarded the letter to the Postal Inspectors who asked him if he
knew of any employees who were unhappy with him. Bonaparte
identified Plaintiff and another employee of the CFS Unit. The
Postal Inspectors subsequently questioned them. Plaintiff cites
this incident, that is, the questioning by the Postal Inspectors,
as another example of how she was harassed at work.
The series of negative exchanges between Plaintiff and
Bonaparte culminated on July 18, 2000. On this day, Plaintiff
reported to work and was waiting to receive her daily assignment
from Bonaparte. Bonaparte initially assigned her to work on a
mechanized terminal. Plaintiff then informed Bonaparte that she
was not able to perform this task because she had a medical note.
The note was dated June 26, 2000. Plaintiff failed to present the
note to Bonaparte before this day. The note stated "Mrs. Greb is
unable to perform keyboarding on the mechanized terminal for 3
months due to a neck injury." (Pl.'s Decl., Ex. 6). Bonaparte
instructed Plaintiff to sit in a chair and to await further
instructions. Bonaparte continued to give assignments to the
remaining employees. Plaintiff remained seated in the chair for
approximately an hour. During that time, she felt uncomfortable
sitting in the chair without having received an assignment.
Plaintiff felt that she was being humiliated. She began to
experience chest pains and sought a union advocate. Eventually, a
union advocate arrived to discuss the situation. Once Bonaparte
was informed that Plaintiff was experiencing chest pains, he
called for an ambulance. Plaintiff was subsequently transported
to the hospital, and was discharged the same day.
Following this incident, Plaintiff requested that Bonaparte
complete a form which states that Plaintiff suffered a traumatic
injury on that day. Bonaparte refused to complete the form.
Plaintiff also requested a transfer to another facility. Her request was
denied. Since July 18, 2000, Plaintiff has not returned to work
because she contends she cannot work under the supervision of
On November 23, 2004, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on
all claims raised in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.*fn1 On
December 13, 2004, Defendants filed opposition and cross-moved
for summary judgment. Plaintiff filed her reply and opposition to
the cross-motion on December 20, 2004. The Court notes that with
the exception of some changes made to the preliminary statement,
Plaintiff essentially resubmitted the same argument section of
her moving papers, twenty-nine pages in total, as her responsive
pleading. Thus, Plaintiff largely fails to respond to the
arguments and defenses raised by Defendants in their
cross-motion. A reply letter brief was submitted by Defendants on
January 10, 2005. Oral argument was heard on January 18, 2005, at
which time the parties informed the Court that they rely entirely
on their briefs. Having considered all pleadings and the
voluminous declarations and affidavits submitted by the parties,
the Court will now address all of Plaintiff's claims.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
A party seeking summary judgment must "show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P.
56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986); Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film Corp., 79 F.3d 1358, 1366 (3d Cir. 1996); Healy v. New York
Life Ins. Co., 860 F.2d 1209, 1219, n. 3 (3d Cir. 1988), cert.
denied, 490 U.S. 1098 (1989); Hersh v. Allen Prod. Co.,
789 F.2d 230, 232 (3d Cir. 1986). The threshold inquiry is whether
there are "any genuine factual issues that properly can be
resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be
resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (noting that no issue for trial
exists unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving
party for a jury to return a verdict in its favor). In deciding
whether triable issues of fact exist, the court must view the
underlying facts and draw all ...