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REMEDIOS JOSE v. THE HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN

September 29, 2000

MARIA REMEDIOS JOSE, PLAINTIFF,
V.
THE HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleges that defendant discriminated against her on the basis of race and national origin in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the D.C. Human Rights Act when it terminated her employment. Upon careful consideration of the briefs filed in this case, the Court concludes that plaintiff has not rebutted defendant's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for her termination. The Court therefore grants summary judgment for the defendant.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Maria Remedios Jose, a Filipino female, began working at the Hospital for Sick Children ("Hospital") as a staff nurse in 1983. Plaintiff held a number of positions at the Hospital over the next twelve years. In October 1995, plaintiff was informed that her position as a nurse educator was scheduled to be eliminated and she was offered and accepted the position of Infection Control ("IC") Practitioner and Employee Health ("EH") Nurse.

Plaintiff's job responsibilities as IC Practitioner included monitoring incidents of infection throughout the Hospital, tracking antibiotic use by patients, and attempting to prevent possible infection. She was to collect information regarding staff compliance with infection control procedures and compile information for use by other health care providers in the Hospital. She also served as Chair of the Infection Control Committee, a Hospital committee made up of physicians, nurses and other Hospital staff, which was responsible for reviewing and discussing issues in the Hospital relating to infection control. Plaintiff reported directly to Christine Leyden, Director of Patient Care, with respect to her infection control responsibilities.

As EH Nurse, plaintiff was responsible for reviewing staff records to ensure that each staff member satisfied the health-related requirements of his or her employment, for overseeing the maintenance of the Hospital's employee health files, and for being available in the event of an employee health issue. Janis Bonnet, Director of Human Resources, was plaintiff's direct supervisor with respect to her employee health responsibilities.

In preparation for the accreditation review, the Hospital conducted a mock survey of its facilities. Plaintiff was a member of the four-person team that conducted the survey. The survey revealed eleven areas of deficiency with respect to Infection Control and made seven recommendations for bringing Infection Control within the JCAHO's standards before the accreditation team arrived. The recommendations for plaintiff's areas of responsibility included: (1) revising a Hospital-wide Infection Control Surveillance Plan to reflect JCAHO standards; (2) updating and expanding infection control practices for two of the Hospital's units; (3) updating the Infection Control Policy and Procedures Manual; (4) updating the Employee Health Policies and Procedures Manual; and (5) updating certain infection control data information.

In January 1996, plaintiff requested extended vacation leave from July 1 to July 31, 1996. Both Ms. Leyden and Ms. Bonnet informed plaintiff that approval of her leave request was expressly contingent upon her ability to demonstrate, prior to taking the vacation, that the areas under her responsibility were fully ready for the JCAHO survey which might take place as early as August.

From January through June 1996, plaintiff and her supervisors were in constant communication regarding the needed preparations for the JCAHO review. According to defendant, neither Ms. Leyden nor Ms. Bonnet were content with plaintiff's performance, and they told her so on numerous occasions. On June 27, 1996, less than a week before plaintiff planned to go on her extended vacation, Ms. Leyden and Ms. Bonnet met and determined that plaintiff's failure to prepare the JCAHO review, despite their repeated counseling and admonitions of the importance to the Hospital of such preparation, constituted grounds for plaintiff's termination. Ms. Leyden and Ms. Bonnet met with plaintiff the following day regarding their determination and gave her a written memorandum summarizing the grounds for their decision. Rather than being fired, plaintiff chose to resign.

In July 1996, plaintiff's infection control duties were assigned to Janice LePlatte, an African American female born in Trinidad and Tobago. Her responsibilities for the Employee Health Department were assigned to Dolores Natale, a Caucasian female. The JCAHO survey was conducted on August 19-21, 1996, and the Hospital was found in noncompliance in the infection control area.

Plaintiff filed a complaint for employment discrimination in this Court in December 1996, claiming violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the D.C. Human Rights Act. See Complaint at 1-2.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment ...


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