United States District Court, D. Columbia
August 22, 2005.
HAZEL V. MAYERS, Plaintiff,
LABORERS' HEALTH & SAFETY FUND OF NORTH AMERICA, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD LEON, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION (August 19th 2005) [# 17]
Plaintiff, Hazel B. Mayers, brings this action against her
former employer, Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North
America (LHSFNA), for discrimination and retaliation under the
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA" or "the Act"). Before the
Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. After due
consideration of the pleadings and the entire record herein, the
Court GRANTS defendant's motion.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings and the
record demonstrate that "there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P.56(c). The party seeking summary
judgment may support its motion with pleadings, depositions,
affidavits and the like which it believes demonstrates the
absence of genuine issue of material fact. See Celeotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings by its own
affidavits and the like to demonstrate that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Id. at 324. To determine whether a genuine
issue of material fact is in dispute, the evidence of the
nonmoving party is believed to be true and all inferences are
drawn in their favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Bare conclusions of law and controverted facts
need not be considered as true for the purposes of the motion.
Haynesworth v. Miller, 820 F.2d 1245, 1254 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
In this matter, Ms. Mayers complains that she was discriminated
against under the ADA when LHSFNA continuously failed to
accommodate her disability, thus resulting in her constructive
discharge. Moreover, she complains that after requesting
accommodations, LHSFNA retaliated against her by increasing her
workload and tightening her deadlines. To succeed on her
discrimination claim, Ms. Mayers must establish that: (1) she was
an individual with a disability within the meaning of the Act;
(2) she could otherwise perform the essential functions of her
job with reasonable accommodations; and (3) LHSFNA refused to
make such accommodations or discharged her because of her
handicap. Barth v. Gelb, 2 F.3d 1180, 1186 (D.C. Cir. 1993). To
succeed on her retaliation claim, Ms. Mayers must establish that:
(1) she engaged in a statutorily protected activity; (2) LHSFNA
took an adverse personnel action; and (3) there is a causal
connection between the two. Singletary v. D.C., 359 F.3d 519,
524 (D.C. Cir. 2003). For the following reasons, the Court finds
that Ms. Mayers has failed to demonstrate that there is a genuine issue of fact regarding her
ability to establish either claim.
First, as to the discrimination claim, LHSFNA contends that Ms.
Mayers is not disabled and that LHSFNA did not refuse to provide
her with the accommodations she requested. However, the Court
need not address the issue of whether or not Ms. Mayers is
disabled under the Act because it finds, for the following
reasons, that LHSFNA did not refuse to provide her with the
requested accommodations and did not constructively discharge
her. As to the former, according to the deposition testimony, the
only accommodations requested by Ms. Mayers were that LHSFNA
provide her with an electric stapler and an electric cutter to
assist her in her work. Mayers Dep. at 124-25, 168, 170. LHSFNA
made these accommodations, albeit slowly. Mayers Dep. at 134. Ms.
Mayers also argues that she requested that she be placed on light
duty. Opp'n at 21. But, there is no evidence in the record that
she did anything more than provide her employer with a doctor's
note saying that she should be placed on light duty when she
was experiencing flare ups. Sabitoni Dep. at 18-19 (emphasis
added). Accordingly, the Court concludes that LHSFNA made the
accommodations requested by Ms. Mayers and did not refuse to
As to the latter charge of constructive discharge, the Court
disagrees and finds that Ms. Mayers voluntarily left her
employment with LHSFNA. To establish a constructive discharge,
Ms. Mayers must demonstrate that her "employer create[d] or
tolerate[d] discriminatory working conditions that would drive a reasonable
person to resign." Katradi v. Dav-El of Washington, D.C.,
846 F.2d 1482, 1485 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (internal quotation marks
omitted). No such conditions existed here. Although Ms. Mayers
alleges she was forced to find a new job because of the hostile
work environment, she stated in her application with Jacob
Facilities, Inc. that she has never been discharged from an
employer and her reason for leaving LHSFNA was "advancement."
Reeves Aff. ¶¶ 4(c), 4(d). In addition, notwithstanding her
contention in her resignation letter that LHSFNA required her to
perform tasks despite advice from her doctor that she be placed
on light duty, the evidence shows that no such accommodation was
specifically requested by Ms. Mayers. Accordingly, the Court
finds that there is no issue of material fact as the
discrimination claim and summary judgment will be entered in
favor of the defendant.
Finally, as to the plaintiff's retaliation claim, the Court
finds that Ms. Mayers suffered no adverse employment action. An
adverse employment action is "a significant change in employment
status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment
with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision
causing significant change in benefits." Taylor v. Small,
350 F.3d 1286, 1293 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks
omitted). In her complaint, Ms. Mayers alleges that LHSFNA
retaliated by increasing her workload and tightening deadlines.
Compl. ¶ 24. But, in her deposition, Ms. Mayers claimed that the
retaliation against her occurred when her work environment became
"very uncomfortable" because her co-workers were acting like she
was not there. Mayers Dep. at 186. The ADA, however, does not guarantee an
employee a comfortable work environment. Moreover, there is no
evidence to demonstrate that Ms. Mayers "suffered objectively
tangible harm." Brown v. Brody, 199 F.3d 446, 457 (D.C. Cir.
1999). Simply stated, without evidence establishing an adverse
employment action that affected the terms, conditions, or
privileges of her employment, Ms. Mayers cannot succeed on her
retaliation claim. Finding no such evidence, summary judgment is
entered in favor of the defendant.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants defendant's motion
for summary judgment. An order consistent with this decision
accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
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