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HARVEY v. STRAYER COLLEGE

January 17, 1996

KIMBERLY D. HARVEY, Plaintiff,
v.
STRAYER COLLEGE, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ATTRIDGE

 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to proceed before a magistrate judge and for the entry of final judgment Currently pending before the Court are the defendants Strayer College, Inc. (Strayer) and Ronald Bailey's (Bailey) motion for partial summary judgment on the plaintiff's (Harvey) claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress; and negligent infliction of emotional distress. *fn1"

 Regarding her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, Harvey argues that the actions of Bailey, when considered in context, in terminating her employment were sufficiently "outrageous" so as to support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

 Lastly, regarding the negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, the plaintiff elected not to pursue this claim against Bailey and offered no argument in opposition to Strayer's motion for summary judgment on this theory.

 Findings of Fact

 In April 1990, Harvey began her employment with Strayer College at its Takoma Park branch. In July 1992, she was unexpectedly hospitalized because of complications associated with her pregnancy. As a consequence, she missed one month of work.

 In July 1994, Harvey notified her supervisors that she was again expecting. Bailey expressed his concern that she would be unable to perform her job. "I remember what happened last time (referring to her early hospitalization during her 1992 pregnancy); I need to know if you're going to be able to handle the stress of the fall quarter registration; if not, I need to get you out of here and get someone else in." (Harvey deposition at 121).

 In September 1994, John Bratton, Strayer's Takoma Park branch admissions department manager and Harvey's immediate supervisor gave Harvey a negative rating in her periodic performance evaluation. On September 14, Harvey provided a written rebuttal to what she believed to be an inaccurate and unfair evaluation.

 Two weeks later, on September 29, Harvey was summoned to a meeting with Bailey and Bratton at which she was given a written notice of termination. About ten minutes after the conclusion of the meeting, Harvey returned to inquire of Bailey why she was terminated. Bratton laughed and said Bailey was not available since he had already departed the premises.

 Discussion

 Harvey contends that the unsatisfactory performance evaluation was pretextual and that the real reason for her termination was her pregnancy, and therefore she was discriminated against because of her gender. She also seeks damages for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. In support of the emotional distress theories, Harvey contends that her summary termination caused her extreme anxiety and emotional distress, which in turn led to premature contractions. As a consequence, Harvey asserts that she was confined to complete bed rest and placed on medications during the remainder of her pregnancy. She contends that Strayer and Bailey knew or should have foreseen these consequences and that they knew or should have known that her pregnancy was "high risk" because of the difficulties she had with her first pregnancy and that their failure to accommodate her condition was deliberate and intentional, or at best, negligent and caused her emotional distress.

 The Workers' Compensation Act

 The defendants' claim that the plaintiff's emotional distress claims are barred by the exclusive provision of the D.C. Workers' Compensation Act, D.C. Code Ann. § 36-304(a), (b) (1993). The District of Columbia ...


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