United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on a motion by defendant, Megan
J. Brennan, to dismiss plaintiffs amended complaint. (Motion
to Dismiss, ECF No. 22). Plaintiffs Amended Complaint alleges
hostile work environment (Count I), race discrimination
(Count II), retaliation (Count III), and sex discrimination
(Count IV) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. For the reasons
discussed herein, defendant's motion is granted in part.
is an African American woman, who was a Group Leader at the
United States Postal Service's Processing and
Distribution Center in Trenton, New Jersey. (Amended
Complaint, ECF No. 16, at ¶ 7-9). As a Group Leader,
Plaintiff was responsible for supervising other custodians.
(Id. at ¶ 65). Beginning in November 2007,
Plaintiff alleges that Bernie Gallagher, Manager of
Maintenance, and Michael Shickler, Supervisor of Maintenance
Operations, engaged in various discriminatory acts giving
rise to her present Title VII Complaint.
has filed five prior EEO complaints: October 16, 1998; August
28, 2000; October 5, 2006; August 3, 2007; and September 14,
2007. (Id. at¶17). Two of those complaints
proceeded in a federal civil action, Davis v.
Potter, No. 3:05-cv-02201(MLC)(TJB), and status
conferences in that action were held on October 19, 2007;
November 14, 2007; December 5, 2007; and February 5, 2008.
(Id. at ¶ 22). That case settled on February
27, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 23, 24).
alleges that during a private meeting between plaintiff and
her manager, Bernie Gallagher, he "defiantly" told
her that he knew about her prior EEO complaints.
(Id. at ¶ 31). Additionally, she alleges that
EEO counselors and investigators told defendant about the
complaints and that it was common knowledge in the workplace
that she had filed complaints. (Id. At ¶ 32).
in or around December 2007, Gallagher followed plaintiff
three to four times each day and confronted her, falsely
accusing her of not doing her work "in an aggressive,
loud, and disrespectful manner in front of other
coworkers." (Id. at ¶ 37-38). On two
separate occasions, on December 12 and 17, 2007, Gallagher
expressed that he expected her to clean the north side of the
Center "or he would hold her responsible."
(Id. at ¶ 48-49). He later told plaintiff,
"it does not look like you do anything."
(Id. at ¶ 51). She alleges his behavior
"interfered with [her] ability to perform her duties as
a Group Leader." (Id. at ¶ 39).
January 2 and 4, 2008 meetings with Gallagher, he refused to
recognize that Plaintiff had a medically documented need for
a modified work schedule, accused her of lying about it to
change her starting time, and cancelled her existing medical
accommodation, which had been in place for about one year.
(Id. at ¶ 52-55). Plaintiff identifies two
white females and two white males from whom Gallagher
accepted work schedule modifications. (Id. at ¶
January 4, 2008, Gallagher told Plaintiff that he no longer
needed her to serve as Group Leader and, moving forward,
Plaintiff would work as a custodian. (Id. at ¶
61). That same day, plaintiff went on "stress
leave," which she alleges was attributable to her
mistreatment, and upon her return on January 22, Schickler, a
supervisor, re-assigned her to custodian duties.
(Id. at ¶ 62-64). Meanwhile, male custodians -
she identifies and names five - continued their group leader
duties. (Id. at ¶ 66-67, 80). Plaintiff
retained her title as group leader; but was required to
perform more custodial duties than other group leaders.
(Id. at ¶ 81-82). Plaintiff estimates that from
on or about January 2008 until March 2008, she was assigned
custodian duties between 60 and 90 percent of the time.
(Id. at ¶ 68).
Gallagher, Schickler followed Plaintiff around work, yelled
at her in front of coworkers, criticized her "in a
non-constructive manner," and incorrectly accused her of
not doing her work. (Id. at ¶¶ 75-78).
Schickler "told the Plaintiffs crew that [she] had been
demoted from [g]roup [l]eader to [c]ustodian" (a lie)
and told Plaintiffs coworkers "that he intentionally
refused to let the Plaintiff work as a [g]roup
[l]eader." (Id. at ¶ 83-87). Plaintiff
also alleges Schickler bragged that he "had violated the
Plaintiffs rights at work" by assigning her custodial
duties. (Id. at ¶ 90). In March 2008, he
"falsely and aggressively" blamed Plaintiff for
failing to complete an assigned task but did not address two
male custodians who had also been assigned to perform that
task. (Id. at ¶ 92-93).
plaintiff claims that in January 2008, Schickler directed
another employee to remove plaintiffs cubicle, where she had
sat for approximately five years. (Id. at ¶
94-95). Although the Amended Complaint does not state whether
other group leaders or custodians were assigned desks or
cubicles, plaintiff does allege that no other employee's
cubicle was taken apart and put away. (Id. at ¶
22, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint, commencing this
action. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which was
granted on April 19, 2018 because Plaintiff did not allege
pervasive conduct or that the purported misconduct interfered
with her work performance and thus did not set forth a cause
of action in support of her hostile and pervasive work
environment claims, and also held that plaintiffs retaliation
claims failed because the Court was "unable to infer a
causal nexus between Plaintiffs alleged EEO and Civil
complaints and the adverse employment actions." (April
19, 2018 Memorandum and Order, ECF No. 15, at 5-6).
19, 2018, plaintiff filed a four-count amended complaint,
alleging hostile work environment, race discrimination,
retaliation, and sex discrimination, in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act. On August 2, 2018, after time to
file a motion to dismiss was extended by order, defendant
filed a motion to dismiss.
contends the mistreatment interfered with her ability to
perform her duties as group leader. She also claims she
suffered stress from the discrimination, ...