The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lamberth, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court upon the defendant's motion
for summary judgment, made pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff, Semainesh Tewelde, is
an African-American female who, at the time she filed this
complaint, was employed by the American Embassy Association
("AEA") in Berlin, Germany.*fn1 She brings this action
alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as
amended by the Equal Employment Act of 1972, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq. The moving defendant is Madeleine K. Albright, the
Secretary of State ("the Secretary"), named in her official
capacity as head of the United States State Department
("USDOS"). The defendant moves for summary judgment arguing that
she is not a proper defendant in this action.
The plaintiff is an African-American female who, at the time
of the alleged discriminatory action resided with her husband in
Berlin, Germany. The plaintiff was hired in September 1994, by
the AEA to work as a child care provider at the AEA's pre-school
facility in Berlin. See Complaint, at ¶ 4. The plaintiff filed
her complaint in this action on November 25, 1998.*fn2 The
complaint alleges several discriminatory and retaliatory
incidents, which allegedly began sometime in 1995 and culminated
in the dismissal of the plaintiff on February 24, 1998.
In her complaint, the plaintiff alleges that she started
experiencing racially motivated difficulties at the AEA
beginning in 1995, soon after a white female supervisor took
over the mantle at the AEA's preschool. See Complaint, at ¶ 8.
It was then, she claims that she "suffered a series of nasty
racial comments and an assault during which racial epithets were
uttered toward her." Id.
On February 24, 1998, the plaintiff was informed by AEA
officials that due to "severe decline in business," her position
as a child care provider was being eliminated. The plaintiff was
offered an alternate position at the AEA's Guest House facility
and was asked to respond to the offer by February 24, 1998.
See Def. Exhibit K, Letter from Norman Bridgeford to Plaintiff
(Feb. 13, 1998). The plaintiff, however, refused to accept this
new position and was terminated from her employment on February
24, 1998. Id. The plaintiff attributes the reduced hours and
her eventual dismissal from her position at the AEA to racial
discrimination and retaliation for her complaint.
The plaintiff argues that the alleged illegal discriminatory
actions were motivated because of her national origin and race,
(black female, whose national origin is Eritrean and/or
Ethiopian and/or African) in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. Id. at ¶ 9. Accordingly, the plaintiff
instituted this suit against the AEA and the USDOS pursuant to
Section 717 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16.
The plaintiff contends that because the USDOS has a "heavy
hand in the management" of the AEA, it should be aggregated with
the AEA as a single employer and should be held responsible for
the alleged Title VII violations. The defendant moves for
summary judgment based on the ground that the Secretary is not
the proper defendant as USDOS never had a direct employment
relationship with the plaintiff.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that a District
Court shall grant summary judgment "if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is (1) no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that (2) the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
(1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540 (D.C. Cir. 1995).
An issue is genuine when the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson,
477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
In Celotex, the Supreme Court determined that summary
judgment is appropriate "against a party who fails to make a
sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322,
106 S.Ct. 2548. To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party must
go beyond the pleadings and establish the existence of
controverted issues by affidavits, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, or admissions on file. Id at 323,
106 S.Ct. 2548.
Plaintiff asserts claims of racial discrimination in violation
of Section 717 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16. The plaintiff
claims that the Secretary should be held liable as much as the
AEA for the alleged racial discrimination she suffered. The
Secretary argues that there is no employment relationship
between the plaintiff and the. ...