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Saint-Jean v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 21, 2014

MICA SAINT-JEAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant

For MICA SAINT-JEAN, Plaintiff: Richard I. Chaifetz, LEAD ATTORNEY, CHAIFETZ & COYLE, P.C., Columbia, MD.

GUERLINE BOURCIQUOT, Plaitniff, Pro se, Rockville, MD.

For MARIE DORLUS on behalf of themselves and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff: Michael J. Kator, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kerrie D. Riggs, KATOR, PARKS, WEISER & HARRIS, PLLC, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS DIVISION OF TRANSPORTATION, Defendant: Martha J. Mullen, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

MICHELLE SMITH, Defendant, Pro se, Washington, DC.

Page 275

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RICHARD W. ROBERTS, Chief United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs Mica Saint-Jean, Guerline Bourciquot, and Marie Dorlus have brought claims against defendant District

Page 276

of Columbia (" the District" ) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act (" WPA" ), D.C. Code § 1-615.51, et seq., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and local statutory and common law arising from an alleged scheme which required them to pay kickbacks to their supervisor at the District of Columbia Public Schools Division of Transportation (" DOT" ) in order to receive overtime assignments. The District moves to dismiss or for summary judgment claiming that the DOT was under a receivership at the time thus entitling the District to immunity. Because the District has failed to show that the DOT was under a receivership during the relevant time period, the District's motion will be denied.

BACKGROUND

I. ALLEGATIONS

The plaintiffs allege the following facts, many of which are set forth in Saint-Jean v. District of Columbia, 844 F.Supp.2d 16, 18-20 (D.D.C. 2012). Plaintiffs Saint-Jean, Bourciquot, and Dorlus, all Haitian immigrants, worked at a DOT school bus terminal. They were denied the opportunity to work overtime hours unless they paid illegal kickbacks to their former supervisor, Michelle Smith, the Terminal Manager. 2d Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 2, 13-15, 24, 192. Saint-Jean and Dorlus each paid Smith between $75 and $150 per pay period to obtain overtime assignments. Id. ¶ ¶ 30, 34-35. When they stopped paying Smith in September 2007, Smith retaliated by refusing to assign them overtime hours, selectively enforcing DOT policies against them, " issuing repeated and unnecessary warnings[,]" and suspending Bourciquot without pay. 2d Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 5, 45-47, 57, 62-63, 193.

A group of Haitian DOT employees discussed Smith's scheme with DOT's Transportation Administrator, David Gilmore, in October 2006. As a result, Smith was suspended for six weeks. Smith resumed her scheme after she returned. Id. ¶ ¶ 4, 38-42. In November or December 2007, Saint-Jean and Dorlus reported Smith's illegal kickback scheme and retaliation to the Mayor's office, the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the Attorney General, and the FBI. Id. ¶ 6. Bourciquot disclosed the scheme to DOT Assistant Manager Janice Waters in March of 2008. Id. ¶ 56. Between July 10 and 16, 2008, two supervisors issued four written warnings and a written reprimand to each of Saint-Jean and Bourciquot for allegedly refusing a directive and padding the clock. Id. ¶ ¶ 64-65, 184-85.

The plaintiffs discussed some of Smith's discrimination against Haitians with Gilmore on July 17, 2008. Id. ¶ 77. The following day, Saint-Jean told Gilmore that Smith accepted bribes in exchange for paying employees for hours not worked, and that Smith let her boyfriend use DOT buses for personal purposes. Id. ¶ ¶ 79, 82. DOT Deputy Terminal Manager Michael Roberts suspended Bourciquot and Dorlus without pay on July 21, 2008, for five days, for an alleged failure to " call to report they would be late [to work] on July 18th," id. ¶ ¶ 86-87, and directed a security guard to escort them off DOT property later that afternoon. Id. ¶ 183. On July 29, 2008, DOT notified Bourciquot and Dorlus of their " proposed termination[s]" for insubordination to an immediate supervisor. Id. ¶ ¶ 97, 99. Their effective date of termination was August 14, 2008. Id. ...


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