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HARRIS v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

October 22, 1986

Julia A. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

 SPORKIN, Judge.

 Plaintiff was a voucher examiner for the District of Columbia. In this action she alleges she was reprimanded, denied promotion, and ultimately dismissed from her employment because of gender discrimination on the part of the District and several of its employees. Her complaint states four causes of action -- the first cause of action is for declaratory and injunctive relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"); the second cause of action seeks compensatory and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983"); the third cause of action is a common law claim for damages arising from the breach of collective bargaining agreement; and the fourth cause of action is a claim under § 1983 for damages arising from the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case is before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 For the reasons set out more fully below, defendant District of Columbia's summary judgment motion on the § 1983 claim is granted since it is undisputed that no municipal policy or custom contributed to the plaintiff's dismissal. Because the emotional distress action is premised on § 1983 liability, defendants' summary judgment motion with respect to this claim is also granted. Additionally, the Court will not exercise its pendant jurisdiction with respect to the collective bargaining claim. Hence only plaintiff's Title VII action remains and will be heard by this Court on Wednesday, November 12, 1986 at 10:00 am.

 I. BACKGROUND

 From May 22, 1978 until May 9, 1983, plaintiff was employed as a voucher examiner for the Board of Education of the District of Columbia. In her position she processed and prepared vouchers for the various offices within the school system. In March of 1980, plaintiff reported to her supervisor what she believed to be improper telephone charges by a school board member; her allegation is that this incident began a pattern of discrimination against her. Answers to Def. Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents, at 20 ("Answer to to Def. Interrogatory 28").

 Specifically, plaintiff points to four incidents. First, in May of 1980, she was transferred from processing utility bills to processing food service orders -- a transfer which she perceived to be both a demotion and a violation of her union's collective bargaining agreement. Id. On June 10, 1980, plaintiff received a letter of reprimand for refusing to perform her new assignment. Id. Although she pursued a grievance through the union procedure, the reprimand was sustained in a decision dated December 29, 1980. Id.

 The second incident plaintiff complains of occurred when, in November of 1981, she received a letter of suspension for refusing to carry out another assignment. Answer to Def. Interrogatory 28. Plaintiff again contested through the union grievance procedure, but when the union "did not pursue it," Declaration of Julia Harris, at 8, she amended her complaint at the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights to include this incident. Id.

 Third, plaintiff received a letter on September 24, 1982 from her supervisor charging her "AWOL" for certain absences; when it was brought to the supervisor's attention that her leave had been approved, the AWOL charge was "modified and plaintiff was placed on LWOP." Answer to Def. Interrogatory 28. She characterizes her supervisor's behavior in this incident as action taken in "bad faith." Id.

 Finally, a fourth incident occurred on April 14, 1983, when plaintiff received another letter of reprimand for refusing to perform mail desk duties; five days later, she was suspended from her job pending her termination on May 9, 1983. Id. She again filed a grievance through the union and again her grievance was denied. Declaration of Julia Harris, at 9. Following her suspension, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, id. at Exhibit 11, and again with the Office of Human Rights. Id. at Exhibit 12.

 Failing to find the relief she desired, plaintiff commenced this suit on January 16, 1985. *fn1"

 II. SECTION 1983

 Plaintiff's § 1983 action is against the District of Columbia government and Superintendent ...


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