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Pegues v. Mineta

August 22, 2006

JAMES PEGUES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NORMAN Y. MINETA, SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gladys Kessler United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, James Pegues, an employee at the Federal Railroad Administration Agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, brings this suit alleging unlawful retaliation, hostile work environment, and failure to promote in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the D.C. Human Rights Act, D.C. Code §§ 2-1401.01 - 2-1411.06 (2001). This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Mot."), [#29], as to Counts II and III of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl."). Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition and Reply and the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

A. Facts

Plaintiff, an African-American male, has been employed as an Industrial Hygienist at the Office of Safety Enforcement and Compliance, Hazardous Materials Division of the Federal Railroad Administration Agency of the Department of Transportation ("the Agency") since 1998. Am. Compl. ¶ 15. When Plaintiff joined the Agency, he was designated as a general schedule 13 ("GS-13") employee. Id. ¶ 25.

Sometime between June 6, 2002 and July 26, 2002, Plaintiff applied for a GS-14 Industrial Hygienist position at the Agency. Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff claims that he was qualified for the GS-14 position because, although classified as a GS-13, he performed duties at the GS-14 level. Id. ¶¶ 29-30. Instead of hiring Plaintiff for the GS-14 position, the Agency hired Alan Misiaszek, a white male. Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiff challenges this non-promotion in Count I of his Second Amended Complaint.*fn2

In Count II of his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges both retaliation and hostile work environment. In support of his claims, he sets forth the following allegations:

(1) On September 18, Plaintiff was in Illinois attending a work training program when another employee "verbally assailed [him], saying [he] was 'not fit to be on the Safety and Health Committee.'" Id. ¶ 51.

(2) On or about September 24, 2002, one of Plaintiff's supervisors, Richard McCord, publicly ordered Plaintiff in a belligerent tone to review a work manual that he had already reviewed and then excluded him from meetings at which the manual was discussed. Id. ¶¶ 52, 53.

(3) McCord and Daniel Buckley, another employee,*fn3 distributed embarrassing and humiliating emails about Plaintiff. Id. ¶¶ 54-55.

(4) At an October 11, 2002 meeting with Edward Pritchard, the Director of the Office of Safety Enforcement and Compliance, and McCord and Buckley, Pritchard admonished Plaintiff and then "the three [men] ganged up on [him], berating him with false allegations and denying [him] an opportunity to respond." Id. ¶¶ 56-58.

(5) During the week of January 13, 2003, Plaintiff's supervisor reassigned Plaintiff's duties as the Agency's Representative on the Safety and Health Committee to Misiaszek, thereby depriving Plaintiff of his GS-14 duties. Id. ¶¶ 60-61.

(6) On or about July 11, 2003, Plaintiff met with Pritchard to discuss his decreased duties and Pritchard said that Plaintiff's EEO Complaint would "come back to haunt [him]." Id. ¶¶ 67-68.

(7) On or about September 23, 2003, at a meeting in Washington, Buckley and McCord publicly harassed Plaintiff by challenging every issue he discussed. Id. ¶ 59.

(8) On or about February 20, 2004, Plaintiff received a "proficient" work evaluation which was lower than his previous ratings of "distinguished" or "meritorious". Id. ¶ 62.

(9) On or about March 10, 2005, Misiaszek, Plaintiff's supervisor at the time, "publicly belittled Plaintiff by telling him to 'run alongside of the train and collect urine samples' during a conference on sanitation." Id. ¶ 63.

(10) The Agency required Plaintiff to hold a certification for his position, while white employees were not required to do the same for their respective jobs. Id. ¶ 66.

(11) On or about July 21, 2005, Misiaszek and Schoonover, another employee,*fn4 scrutinized and altered Plaintiff's "compensatory time for travel" submission. Id. ¶¶ 69-73.

Plaintiff states that Defendant's retaliatory and hostile actions caused him to suffer severe emotional distress and aggravated his prior medical conditions. Id. ¶ 77.

Finally, in Count III of his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges "continued discrimination." On or about December 15, 2004, Plaintiff applied for a GS-15 position within the Agency. Id. ¶ 81. Alan Misiaszek was selected for this position over Plaintiff. See id. ¶¶ 83-91.

Plaintiff filed two EEO complaints. The first, in which Plaintiff alleged discrimination and hostile work environment, was filed on January 31, 2003. Id. ΒΆΒΆ 11. Plaintiff filed the second EEO complaint on May 5, 2005, alleging continued hostile work environment and ...


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