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Peter Kranz v. Vincent Gray

January 31, 2012

PETER KRANZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VINCENT GRAY, MAYOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Peter Kranz has sued District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, in his official capacity, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. This action is based on allegations of discrimination and retaliation by the District of Columbia Public Schools ("DCPS"), which defendant operates.*fn1 Defendant now moves for summary judgment and, for the reasons set forth below, that motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND

Kranz was born on December 5, 1944. He was employed by DCPS to teach science and math in District of Columbia schools on an annual contract basis from 1985--1995. (Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 4 ("Kranz Dep."), 32:9--13, June 15, 2011.) In 1995, he was certified as a teacher in the District of Columbia. (Id. 57:6--9). Since that time, Kranz has submitted multiple applications in pursuit of a permanent teaching position with DCPS, two of which form the basis of this suit. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 11, 13--14.)*fn2 While he has not been hired as a full-time teacher, he has been working for DCPS as a substitute teacher since approximately 2005. (Kranz Dep. 49:20--23.)

I. PRIOR PROTECTED ACTIVITY

On August 30, 2001, Kranz filed a complaint of discrimination with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights ("OHR"), alleging age discrimination because he was not selected for a full-time teaching position after having submitted three applications to DCPS. (Def.'s Mot., Ex. A ("OHR Order").) On January 3, 2003, plaintiff amended his OHR complaint to add retaliation, claiming that, after he filed the OHR complaint, DCPS failed to act on his application to work as a substitute teacher. (Id. at 4.)

On April 20, 2004, OHR found no probable cause for his age discrimination claim, but found probable cause for his claim that DCPS retaliated against him by not processinghis application for a substitute teaching position after learning that he had filed an OHR complaint. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff was reinstated as a substitute teacher in September 2004. (Id. at 4.) In an OHR Order dated March 28, 2008, he was awarded backpay and costs in connection with his retaliation claim (OHR Order), and this award was paid in July 2008. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 8; see also id., Ex. 6.)

II. DECEMBER 2007 AND MARCH 2008 APPLICATIONS FOR A FULL-TIME TEACHING POSITION

On December 20, 2007, plaintiff submitted an application seeking a full-time teaching position with DCPS. (Def.'s Mot., Ex. C ("Application 1").) Applicants were required to provide materials, including 1) a completed application form; 2) a resume; and 3) a written response to the following question:*fn3

Imagine you have recently been hired in an urban school district. The school you will be working in is a Title 1 school with over 70% of its students receiving free or reduced lunch. Most students are 2 academic grade levels behind their peers nationally. What 3 strategies do you plan to use in order to ensure that student [sic] demonstrate academic growth? (Id. at 3.)

The instructions for the response read as follows:

Please provide a response to the following questions. Please note: Do not provide a generic cover letter in the response fields. This section provides us with information not captured elsewhere in the application. We use your responses to evaluate your writing and critical thinking skills, and more importantly, to gain a sense of your commitment to teaching in the District of Columbia Public Schools and joining a highly-effective team of educators.

(Id.)

For his response, plaintiff submitted a generic personal statement that did not address the question. (See Def.'s Mot., Ex. D (Response to Essay Question for Application 1.) He was not selected to move forward in the application process. (Def.'s Mot, Ex. E (DCPS' Response to Request for Information from EEOC ("EEOC Response")) at 4.)

On March 31, 2008, plaintiff submitted another application for a teaching position to DCPS. (Def.'s Mot., Ex. F ("Application 2").) The application contained the same essay question as the prior year. (See id. at 3.) This time, plaintiff answered with three phrases: "hands-on activities field trips student-led projects." (Id.) Again, Kranz was not selected for an interview. (Am. Compl. ¶ 15; EEOC Response at 5.)

Kranz describes receiving an email on June 28, 2008, from the Teach D.C. Recruitment Team stating that he was "ineligible ...


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