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