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PARKER v. NATIONAL CORP.

August 22, 1985

ESTELLA M. PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL CORPORATION FOR HOUSING PARTNERSHIPS, Defendant


Stanley S. Harris


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRIS

This case is now before the Court on the motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment by the defendant National Corporation for Housing Partnerships (NCHP). In her complaint, the plaintiff Estella Parker alleges that NCHP subjected her to unequal terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race and to retaliation for having filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Court finds that the doctrine of administrative res judicata bars the plaintiff's claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, D.C. Code § 1-2501 et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (section 1981), which previously were adjudicated by the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights acting in its judicial capacity. The Court further finds that the plaintiff's breach of contract claim is barred by the statute of limitations and, moreover, that it fails to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Finally, the Court finds that the plaintiff's allegations of an intentional tort for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and of a breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing are not actionable in the District of Columbia and further are barred by the statute of limitations.

 Although the facts regarding the alleged acts of discrimination are irrelevant for the purposes of this motion, a recitation of the procedural history of this suit is necessary. The plaintiff filed an EEOC complaint on December 5, 1980, asserting that she was discriminated against by her employer, NCHP, on the basis of race. Pursuant to Title VII, the EEOC referred the charges to the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), the "state" agency which enforces the District of Columbia law prohibiting discrimination. See Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c); District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, D.C. Code § 1-2501 et seq.

 Pursuant to the Human Rights Act, the plaintiff signed the OHR complaint on December 22, 1980, about the time she was placed on probation from her job. The plaintiff was terminated by NCHP on March 6, 1981. Three days later, she amended her complaint to include the charge of retaliatory termination for having filed her initial complaint. On August 12, 1981, the OHR determined that there was no probable cause to credit the allegations of disparate terms and conditions of employment based on race, but that there was probable cause to support the allegations as to retaliation. Thereafter, the retaliation complaint was certified to the Commission on Human Rights (Commission) for a public hearing.

 On November 11, 1982, the Commission dismissed the action with prejudice on the basis of OHR's failure "due largely to the failure of the complainant, to proceed with the timely prosecution of the complaint properly before the Commission." Commission on Human Rights' Ruling on Application for Reconsideration of Final Decision and Order (Docket 81-PE-151 May 30, 1984). The Commission detailed the delays in its ruling denying reconsideration as follows:

 
September 21, 1981: Retaliation complaint certified to the Commission for public hearing.
 
November 25, 1981: Pre-Hearing conference scheduled for January 8, 1982. Continued at the request of OHR to February 9, 1982.
 
February 12, 1982: Pre-Hearing Conference convened. Deposition of complainant scheduled for June 3, 1982. Hearing scheduled for June 14, 1982.
 
February 17, 1982: Complainant's request for reconsideration of Director OHR's dismissal of complaint of disparate terms and conditions of employment based on race submitted to Chair OHR.
 
Deposition of complainant rescheduled for June 25, 1982. Hearing continued at joint request of the parties until July 27, 1982. Hearing continued at joint request of the parties until July 27, 1982.
 
June 7, 1982: Ruling of Chairperson COHR on complainant's application for reconsideration of dismissal by Director OHR of complaint of disparate terms and conditions of employment based on race issued -- determination of Director OHR affirmed.
 
Deposition of complainant and hearing postponed at complainant's request until after July 1982.
 
June 30, 1982: Complainant advised by Counsel for OHR to seek representation -- lack of cooperation in preparation of case in support of complaint cited.
 
August 11, 1982: Interim Order of the Commission issued -- OHR required to provide representation for the case in support of the ...

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