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Ward v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District Circuit

June 14, 2013

YEETA L. WARD, Plaintiff,


AMY BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge

In this action, plaintiff Yeeta Ward alleges that the District of Columbia violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”), by subjecting her to a hostile work environment on the basis of her gender and in retaliation for filing complaints with management about the alleged discrimination and retaliation. Presently before the Court is the District’s motion for summary judgment. Because Ward has failed to come forward with sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that she suffered severe or pervasive hostility on the basis of either gender or retaliation, the Court will grant the District’s motion.


Ward was hired by the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (“DYRS”) as a Youth Correctional Officer in 2004. Pl.’s Opp. to Def.’s Mot. for Summ. J. (“Pl.’s Opp.”) [Dkt. # 38] at 10. She has submitted portions of her own deposition and answers to the District’s interrogatories, in which she states that while working at the metal detector at a DYRS facility on two occasions in December 2005, she was subjected to sexually suggestive comments by her supervisor at the time, Chief of Detained Services Jeffrey McInnis. Pl.’s Dep. [Dkt. # 38-1] at 44:6–45:12; see also Pl.’s Answers to Def.’s Interrogs. to Pl. (“Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs.”) [Dkt. # 38-15] at 2. She claims that on the first occasion, when McInnis triggered the metal detector, he told her: “[I]t must be the metal in my drawers.” Pl.’s Dep. at 44:20–45:3; Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs. at 3. The second time, he allegedly told her: “I want you to use your hands and pat me down.” Pl.’s Dep. at 45:9–:13; Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs. at 3.

According to Ward, she spoke to the Chief of Staff, Michael Watts, and complained about McInnis’s comments in the month that they occurred. Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs. at 2. Yet, she was kept under McInnis’s supervision for another approximately three years. Pl.’s Dep. at 63:10–:14, 64:14–:16.

Ward claims that after complaining to Watts, she began to experience negative treatment by her chain of command, and that the treatment intensified as she made more complaints about the discrimination and retaliation that she was allegedly experiencing. Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs. at 11. She claims that she complained about discrimination and retaliation to Nathaniel Williams (then Acting Superintendent), Mark Schindler (then General Counsel or Chief of Staff), Vincent Schiraldi (then Director of DYRS), David Brown (then Deputy Director of DYRS), Neal Stanley (current Director of DYRS), and Carol Godley (Human Resources Director). Pl.’s Dep. at 98:16–18, 101:10–:16; Pl.’s Answers to Interrogs. at 11.

Ward also claims that during the five years after she complained to Watts, she experienced a number of negative events:

• Beginning in July 2006, Sharon White-Pulley, the watch commander in charge of Ward’s command, allegedly regularly insulted Ward by referring to her as “baldy, ” “mini-me, ” and “big mouth.”[1]
• At some point in 2007 or 2008, Ward allegedly applied for and was denied a promotion to Lead Correctional Officer.[2]
• Ward was allegedly reassigned within DYRS in June 2007, November 2007, December 2007, [3] January 2008, and October 2009.[4]
• Wards managers allegedly did not provide her with sufficient support or training in her jobs.[5]
• In November 2007, and on other unspecified occasions, security officers allegedly escorted Ward from DYRS.[6]
• In July 2008, despite being restricted to an eight-hour workday by her physician, Ward was allegedly required to work for periods longer than eight hours.[7]
• Fred Williams - one of Ward’s supervisors - allegedly denied Ward lunch and bathroom breaks during at least one shift.[8]
• Ward allegedly was not given overtime assignments even though DYRS’s Risk Manager for the Light Duty Program determined in January 2008 that she was fit to work overtime on her days off[9]

Ward filed a formal Charge of Discrimination with the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on March 17, 2008, in which she charged DYRS with unlawful discrimination on the basis of gender, retaliation, and political affiliation (Fraternal Order Police). Ex. R to Def.’s Mot. The charge stated: “I feel like I am being retaliated against for my political ...

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