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Paschal v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

August 26, 2014

TONY E. PASCHAL, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

Page 173

For TONY E. PASCHAL, Plaintiff: Rachel Peck, Thomas M. Contois , STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant: Steven J. Anderson, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR DC, Washington, DC.

Page 174

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Gladys Kessler, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Tony E. Paschal (" Plaintiff" or " Paschal" ) brings this action against Defendant the District of Columbia(" Defendant" ) for retaliation and a hostile work environment in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § § 12203, 12132, and 12112(a).

This matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. No. 18]. Upon consideration of the Motion, Opposition, and Reply, the entire record herein, and for the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and denied in part, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied without prejudice, and Plaintiff's Motion for a Stay to Obtain Discovery is denied as moot.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background[1]

On October 29, 2010, Plaintiff Tony E. Paschal started work as a Business Relations Specialist with the District of Columbia Department on Disability Services (" DDS" ). Second Amended Complaint (" SAC" ) ¶ ¶ 2, 10. DDS is a service provider and advocate for individuals with disabilities seeking employment in the District of Columbia. SAC ¶ ¶ 8-9. Plaintiff's duties for DDS included outreach and engagement with employers to create relationships with the business community. SAC ¶ 10. Plaintiff would leverage those relationships to find job opportunities for qualified DDS clients. SAC ¶ 10.

Plaintiff has lupus, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, which he alleges substantially limit one or more major life activities, and are thus properly considered disabilities. SAC ¶ 6. Plaintiff informed DDS of the nature of his disability when he was hired. SAC ¶ 11.

Plaintiff alleges that beginning in November of 2011, his direct supervisor, Sylvia Bailey-Charles, " repeatedly made negative, derogatory statements to [him] and other staff about people with disabilities--in particular, the agency's clients." SAC ¶ ¶ 12, 13. The only such comment specifically alleged in his SAC, however, is that Ms. Bailey-Charles once commented that disabled persons should be " cleaning toilets . . . because they [are] handicapped." SAC ¶ 13. On one occasion, " Ms. Bailey-Charles sent job notices for janitorial and

Page 175

dishwashing work to a [DDS] client who was a former practicing physician with a medical degree." Id.

Plaintiff decided to meet with an EEO counselor to discuss his concerns about Ms. Bailey-Charles. SAC ¶ 14. Despite scheduling a meeting for May 2, 2012, which Plaintiff noted on his online work calendar, Id., it did not take place until May 29, 2012.

In the interim, on or about May 22, 2012, Plaintiff met with Ms. Bailey-Charles and Sharon Vaughn-Roach, the Program Operations Manager for the District of Columbia Rehabilitation Services Administration. SAC ¶ 15. At the meeting, Ms. Bailey-Charles indicated that she had read Plaintiff's calendar entry noting his date for meeting with an EEO counselor. SAC ¶ 15. Plaintiff contends that Ms. Bailey-Charles made two threats at that meeting: (1) to lower his pay grade, and (2) to put him on a Performance Improvement Plan (" PIP" ). SAC ¶ 15.

On May 29, 2012, Paschal met with EEO Counselor David Prince. SAC ¶ 17.

On June 26, 2012, Ms. Bailey-Charles forwarded a PIP to Plaintiff and stated that the decision to issue the PIP was based on his alleged " lack of performance" during the performance period that ran from October 2011 through September 2012. SAC ¶ 18.

On August 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (" OHR" ), alleging that he had been discriminated against on the basis of disability. SAC ¶ 20. Plaintiff claims that since filing that charge, he continues to feel " intimidated" by Ms. Bailey-Charles. SAC ¶ 21. On November 29, 2012, Plaintiff again met with Ms. Bailey-Charles and Ms. Vaughn-Roach. Id. At that meeting, he felt that the two managers " bull[ied]" him, but did not allege any specific actions. Id.

In November 2012, at Ms. Bailey-Charles' behest, Plaintiff stopped attending networking events and other meetings that he had routinely attended as part of his work. SAC ¶ 22. Plaintiff alleges that the events and meetings were " prime opportunities" to network on behalf of DDS's clients and that exclusion from these contacts interfered with his ability to perform his job duties. SAC ¶ 22.

On December 12, 2012, Ms. Bailey-Charles gave Plaintiff a negative Annual Performance Evaluation, rating him a " Marginal Performer" for the period from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. SAC ¶ 23.

On December 27, 2012, Plaintiff met with Ms. Bailey-Charles and Ms. Vaughn-Roach for his Annual Performance Review. SAC ¶ 24. At that meeting, both managers threatened to terminate Plaintiff's employment or to demote him. SAC ¶ 24.

On February 12, 2013, Ms. Bailey-Charles informed Plaintiff that she would change his job description, although that change did not occur because of certain provisions in Plaintiff's union contract and DDS personnel procedures. SAC ¶ 25.

On May 15, 2013, OHR issued a Letter of Determination finding No Probable Cause for Plaintiff's hostile work environment and retaliation claims. SAC ΒΆ 29. He timely submitted a request for reconsideration, and on ...


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