United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION Re Document No. 72.
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, District Judge.
Now before the Court is Plaintiff Dr. Lydia Clemmons's motion to alter or amend a final judgment of this Court. By way of background, Dr. Clemmons brought suit against her former employer, the Academy for Educational Development ("AED"), after resigning from the company in 2009. Dr. Clemmons alleged that she had experienced a hostile work environment, constructive discharge, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq., and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act ("DCHRA"), D.C. Code §1-2501 et seq., as well as defamation under District of Columbia law. On September 30, 2014, this Court granted AED's motion for summary judgment as to all claims. Dr. Clemmons now argues that the Court's judgment is the product of clear error. She asks that the Court vacate its September 2014 judgment and that AED's motion for summary judgment be denied as to her hostile work environment and retaliation claims. She also asks the Court to grant a series of spoliation inferences that she claims were denied erroneously. Upon consideration of Dr. Clemmons's motion, the memoranda in support thereof and opposition thereto, the Court will deny the motion to alter or amend judgment.
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
During Dr. Clemmons's period of employment, AED managed two projects in Ghana that addressed HIV prevention for at-risk populations: the Strengthening HIV and AIDS Response Partnership Project ("SHARP") and the Ghana Sustainable Change Project ("GSCP"). See Def.'s Stmt. of Undisputed Facts ¶ 2, ECF No. 56 ("SOF"). Dr. Clemmons, an African-American woman, served as Chief of Party ("COP") for SHARP. Her immediate supervisor was initially Michael Kaplan, see id. ¶ 24, but Cheryl Mayo assumed that role in July 2008, Pl.'s Stmt. of Disputed Facts ¶ 91, ECF No. 68-1 ("SDF"). At all times, Dr. Clemmons's second-level supervisor at AED was Frank Beadle de Palomo ("Mr. Beadle"). See SOF ¶ 16.
Jacqui Larsen also worked for AED, serving first as the Deputy COP for GSCP and then as GSCP's COP beginning in late 2007. See SOF ¶ 6. Ms. Larsen's direct supervisor was Nancy Nachbar, see id. ¶ 7, who in turn was supervised by Margaret Parlato and Mark Rasmuson, SDF ¶ 75. Dawn McCown became GSCP's Deputy COP in January 2009. SOF ¶ 8. Ms. Larsen, Ms. Nachbar, and Ms. McCown are all Caucasian. See SDF ¶ 135.
The United States Agency for International Development ("USAID") was the principal funder and client for both SHARP and GSCP. See 2d Am. Compl. ("SAC") ¶¶ 8, 15, ECF No. 28. BethAnne Moskov, USAID's Director for Health, Population and Nutrition, managed the U.S. Government's health-related funded activities in Ghana, including both SHARP and GSCP, starting in August 2005. See SOF ¶ 9; Moskov Dep. 7:20-8:04, Aug. 19, 2013, ECF No. 68-19. USAID's Peter Wondergem reported to Ms. Moskov on SHARP's progress and activities, while Susan Wright reported on GSCP. SOF ¶ 10.
A. Pre-Complaint Conflict in the Workplace
By all accounts, Dr. Clemmons had a rocky relationship with Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown of GSCP, and with Ms. Nachbar, who supervised Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown. Their professional interactions were often unpleasant, marked by criticism and conflict. See SOF ¶¶ 19-21, 26-28 (describing mutual dislike and "increasing tensions and difficulties"); SDF ¶ 35 (alleging that Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown sneered, yelled, rejected feedback, and displayed "hostile facial expressions and body language" to Dr. Clemmons); Def.'s Ex. O-5, ECF No. 56-17 (alleging that Dr. Clemmons made "passive aggressive attacks on our work" and "continue[d] to make everything unbearably difficult, complex, changeable, and unpleasant" for GSCP).
AED attributes the contentious relationships to personality differences between the women that were compounded by the competitive relationship between SHARP and GSCP, both of which vied for attention and resources from USAID. See SOF ¶ 19; Beadle Dep. 216:3-216:15, Nov. 6, 2013, ECF No. 68-12. A Joint Implementation Plan ("JIP") was devised in May 2007 with the goal of addressing the "disconnection" between SHARP and GSCP by requiring the two projects to increase collaboration on certain tasks. See Pl.'s Ex. G-173, ECF No. 68-10; Moskov Dep. 66:20-68:8. "GSCP became responsible for producing all communications materials used and needed by SHARP... [and] SHARP's contact with GSCP increased" as a result of the JIP. Shillingi Decl. ¶ 7, Pl.'s Ex. F-113, ECF No. 68-9. But the plan backfired, ultimately increasing tensions between SHARP and GSCP as SHARP staff expressed concerns about the quality and timeliness of GSCP's work. See id. at ¶¶ 7-10; Moskov Dep. 67:16-68:17.
Relatedly, AED contends that another root cause of the conflict between Dr. Clemmons and GSCP's leadership was Dr. Clemmons's persistent criticism of Ms. Larsen and GSCP, which contributed to the deteriorating relationship between the projects. For example, Dr. Clemmons copied USAID on e-mails noting that data from GSCP was overdue or had "quality problems, " Def.'s Exs. O-119-20, ECF No. 56-19, accused GSCP of doing technically unsound "slap-dash work" that required correcting, see Def.'s Ex. O-116, ECF No. 56-19, and alleged that GSCP would routinely and "deliberately wait until the last minute to spring something on SHARP so as to limit [their] ability and time to provide any inputs, " Pl.'s Ex. F-127, ECF No. 68-9. The GSCP team did not take kindly to being told that their materials "were not suitable" or that there were "problems with the quality of the work produced by the GSCP project." See Shillingi Decl. ¶¶ 10-12, Pl.'s Ex. F-113. They began to feel that Dr. Clemmons was "very deliberately undermin[ing]" them because nothing they did was "ever satisfactory and more changes [were] always required, " Def.'s Ex. O-58, ECF No. 56-18, and they claimed that her "passive aggressive attacks on [their] work" made them "miserable, " "tearful, " and "depressed, " Def.'s Ex. O-5, ECF No. 56-17; see also McCown Dep. 122:3-122:11, Oct. 8, 2013, ECF No. 68-18 (describing "feeling devalued and belittled"). GSCP members also complained about Dr. Clemmons verbally attacking them when providing technical feedback, and about her deliberately undermining GSCP in front of USAID. See Clemmons Dep. 106:18-108:3, Aug. 2, 2013, ECF No. 68-13; Def.'s Ex. O-58 (describing GSCP staff as feeling undermined and "deeply upset" by Dr. Clemmons).
Dr. Clemmons, on the other hand, maintains that Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown were responsible for creating a hostile work environment by rejecting her technical feedback on GSCP projects and by criticizing her to others in AED and at USAID. According to Dr. Clemmons, this behavior amounted to workplace mobbing, a "type of bullying" where "colleagues attack your dignity, integrity and competence over a period of months or years... [until] more co-workers unquestioningly accept the party line that you are unpleasant and inept and have no place in the organization." Def.'s Ex. O-1, ECF No. 56-17 (internal quotation marks omitted). Dr. Clemmons alleges that the mobbing occurred because of her race, and she observed that Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown did not express the same hostility to feedback from white individuals or African individuals who were not in similar positions of authority. Clemmons Dep. 124:15-22. She also alleges that on one occasion, Ms. Larsen told Dr. Clemmons that she was "just like a dog... like a terrier that won't let go of a bone... like a... little dog that won't let go of a pant leg after it sunk its teeth into it, no matter how much you try to shake it off." Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. No. 3-2, Def.'s Ex. O-111, ECF No. 56-19.
To illustrate the mobbing at issue, Dr. Clemmons points first to the fact that Mr. Kaplan's view of her changed from supportive in October 2007 to unsupportive in February 2008, allegedly as a result of the workplace mobbing. See Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 23, ECF No. 68. In October 2007, Dr. Clemmons "expressed [her] concerns about the human resources available within GSCP to actually implement the joint plan, " first in a meeting with GSCP on October 8, and then in an email she sent that same day to both Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Rasmuson. Def.'s Ex. O-115, ECF No. 56-19. Dr. Clemmons asserts that Ms. Larsen then made a baseless complaint about her behavior at the October meeting to Ms. Parlato, who in turn called Mr. Kaplan to complain about Dr. Clemmons "denounc[ing] GSCP to Bethanne Moskov of USAID." Clemmons Decl. ¶ 1, Pl.'s Ex. B, ECF No. 68-5. Mr. Kaplan responded immediately to support Dr. Clemmons by calling Ms. Moskov and confirming that the accusation that Dr. Clemmons had denounced GSCP to USAID was unfounded. See id.
By February 2008, however, Dr. Clemmons had lost Mr. Kaplan's support. Dr. Clemmons's subordinate had requested a modification in benefits, Mr. Kaplan denied the request, and the subordinate complained to Dr. Clemmons that Mr. Kaplan was "discriminating against her because of national origin and race." See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. Nos. 16, 18-1, Def.'s Ex. O-111. Dr. Clemmons raised her subordinate's discrimination complaint against Mr. Kaplan with human resources ("HR"), and her relationship with Mr. Kaplan changed shortly after that. Id. Dr. Clemmons recalls that Mr. Kaplan went from defending her from GSCP's criticisms to agreeing with GSCP that she was "disingenuous, manipulative, and not direct." See Def.'s Ex. O-8 at 52-53, ECF No. 56-17 (internal quotation marks omitted). When she asked for an explanation, Mr. Kaplan stated that Dr. Clemmons had "told [Mr. Kaplan that she] would stand down, respect his authority and not intervene further [in the benefits matter], but in fact, [she] did go further, " ultimately raising the issue with HR and Mr. Beadle. Id. On February 18, 2008, Dr. Clemmons complained to Mr. Beadle about the incident with Mr. Kaplan, saying that she had been criticized unfairly "as a result of my raising the [employee's] benefits [issue] with HR and with you." Id. Mr. Kaplan withdrew from his role as Dr. Clemmons's supervisor that same month. See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. No. 19, Def.'s Ex. O-111.
Dr. Clemmons next alleges that over the course of numerous calls, emails, and meetings, Ms. Larsen was hostile, impatient, and rude. Clemmons Dep. 108:17-111:1. Specifically, Ms. Larsen repeatedly interrupted Dr. Clemmons, spoke over her, and dismissed or ignored Dr. Clemmons's comments and suggestions. See id. at 119:17-120:1. Dr. Clemmons's feedback to GSCP was greeted with sneering facial expressions, or "a small giggle or a note written down on a piece of paper and slid over to a colleague while [Dr. Clemmons] was speaking." Id. at 108:17-22. Additionally, although both GSCP and SHARP staff repeatedly were told not to discuss the other project in front of USAID unless representatives from both projects were in attendance, Dr. Clemmons felt that the message was "underscored with [her], " and not communicated "with the same level of emphasis" to GSCP and Ms. Larsen. Id. at 232:16-234:20; but see Def.'s Ex. O-26, ECF No. 56-18 (email from Dr. Clemmons stating that both she and Ms. Larsen had received the same "strong guidance" on the subject).
In April 2008, Dr. Clemmons says that she told Mr. Beadle that she suspected that some of her problems with Ms. Larsen and Ms. McCown "were tied to racist attitudes, " but that she knew certain behavior could be taken different ways and so she wanted him to speak with them to see what he thought. See Clemmons Dep. 118:15-120:22; 126:12-127:13. Mr. Beadle disputes Dr. Clemmons's assertion that she ever mentioned race as a possible cause of the SHARP-GSCP conflict, noting that both Dr. Clemmons and Ms. Larsen made similar complaints about the other's rudeness, lack of respect, and a lack of professionalism. Beadle Dep. 101:11-17, 114:18-20. Nevertheless, Mr. Beadle met with Dr. Clemmons and Ms. Larsen, first individually and then together, in an effort to understand and improve the working relationship between the two women. Id. at 99:13-103:9. The joint meeting concluded with Mr. Beadle's recommendations as to how they could communicate to reduce conflict, and Dr. Clemmons and Ms. Larsen agreed to try to work together professionally going forward. See id. at 110:12-111:15; Clemmons Dep. 240:5-243:9.
On July 13, 2008, however, Ms. Nachbar emailed her supervisors and Mr. Beadle about Dr. Clemmons's conduct during a joint SHARP-GSCP meeting with USAID. See Def.'s Ex. O-5, ECF No. 56-17; Def.'s Ex. O-56, ECF No. 56-18. Because Ms. Nachbar did not attend the meeting, the information provided in her emails was derived from a conversation with Ms. Larsen. See Nachbar Dep. 154:18-155:13, May 24, 2013, ECF No. 68-20. Ms. Nachbar wrote that Dr. Clemmons was "out of control and attempts to manage her have failed." Def.'s Ex. O-5. She claimed that Dr. Clemmons had lied at the joint meeting by saying she had not seen GSCP's materials prior to the meeting, and that she was undermining the work of GSCP and AED in Ghana by producing a lengthy list of criticism of GSCP's materials. See id.; Def.'s. O-56. Additionally, Ms. Nachbar asserted that USAID representative Susan Wright told the GSCP staff after the meeting that "she was sorry they had to endure the experience... [and Dr. Clemmons] had made herself look very silly and almost sad." Def.'s Ex. O-5. Ms. Nachbar concluded her email to her supervisors by stating that while she believed Dr. Clemmons "should be removed... if that's not going to happen, there need to be consequences." Id. Her email to Mr. Beadle similarly stated that her "own belief is that [Dr. Clemmons's] behavior warrants dismissal, but at a minimum, there should be consequences." Def.'s Ex. O-56.
After receiving the email, Mr. Beadle contacted Dr. Clemmons to inform her about Ms. Nachbar's account of the joint meeting, and he personally initiated an investigation into the accusations of unprofessional conduct. See Def.'s Ex. O-76, ECF No. 56-18. Mr. Beadle spoke with meeting attendees from SHARP, GSCP, and USAID, and reviewed relevant documents, see Def.'s Ex. O-57, ECF No. 56-18; Beadle Dep. 227:3-19. In her conversation with Mr. Beadle, Dr. Clemmons did not tell him that she believed the July 2008 email was attributable to racism. Clemmons Dep. 320:1-15; Beadle Dep. 227:20-228:4.
At the end of his investigation, Mr. Beadle concluded that the allegations of unprofessional conduct in Ms. Nachbar's email were meritless. Accordingly, on July 16, 2008, he sent an email to Ms. Nachbar criticizing her judgment and stating that she should have listened to both sides before sending the email. See Def.'s Ex. O-58 ("For you, with Jacqui's ammunition, to have jumped to a public lynching of Lydia and the SHARP team without having listened to all sides was not the best of judgment."). AED limited Ms. Nachbar's visibility with senior management and denied her desirable roles within the organization. See Beadle Dep. 153:5-155:6.
Mr. Beadle communicated the results of the investigation to Dr. Clemmons, and he told her that Ms. Nachbar's opinion would not adversely affect her employment at AED. See Beadle Dep. 231:13-232:17. He also informed Dr. Clemmons that he possessed a favorable opinion of her and her work for SHARP. See id. On September 2, 2008, Dr. Clemmons thanked Mr. Beadle for the investigation and his support, but said that upon learning that Ms. Nachbar's email had recommended that she be fired, she felt compelled to raise the issue with HR. See Def.'s Ex. O-78, ECF No. 56-18.
B. The Formal Grievance and Allegations of Retaliation
When Mr. Beadle heard that Dr. Clemmons intended to complain to HR, he responded by telling Dr. Clemmons that he had already handled the matter, that he did "not support [her] taking this to HR, " and that if she chose to pursue the matter further, she would need to do it "alone and without [his] support." Id. He explained that the complaint "will only create worse feelings between you and GSCP, and will most definitely make the situation worse. It will swallow your time and make you less productive... which will have a direct impact on your performance and my view and review of your work." Id. At the same time, Mr. Beadle reassured Dr. Clemmons that the situation with GSCP had "no bearing whatsoever" on how he viewed her work, and that Ms. Larsen and Ms. Nachbar "have nothing to do with your professional reputation. If you do a good job, the project accomplishes its deliverables, then everything will be fine." Id. Ms. Mayo also emailed Dr. Clemmons stating that she agreed with Mr. Beadle's advice, that both she and Mr. Beadle "fully support" her, and that she encouraged Dr. Clemmons to "take a step back" from the situation. Id.
After considering her supervisors' advice, on October 6, 2008, Dr. Clemmons informed Mr. Beadle and Ms. Mayo that she had decided to file a formal grievance after all. Def.'s Ex. O-8 at 49. And on October 7, 2008, Dr. Clemmons emailed a grievance to AED's Chief Management Officer, Ricardo Villeta, claiming that she had experienced workplace mobbing, bullying, and malicious gossip "originating from Jacqui Larsen and propagated through Nancy Nachbar." See Def.'s Ex. O-1. The grievance deemed the pair's actions "dishonest and mean-spirited, " and it alleged that they had "conducted an intensive, highly personal, and prejudicial campaign against me with a clear goal of forcing me out of my employment with AED while covering up shortcomings within their own team." Id.
Marti McClintock, AED's Senior Employee Relations Officer, handled the investigation into Dr. Clemmons's grievance. She interviewed Dr. Clemmons by phone on October 14, 2008, and after the phone interview, Dr. Clemmons sent Ms. McClintock emails and documents that she believed addressed the key points of the grievance. See Def.'s Ex. O-8; Def.'s Ex. O-9, ECF No. 56-17. In one email, Dr. Clemmons explained that she believed that "what began to happen, and what triggered the mobbing, was that GSCP somehow decided to try to cover up their gaps in technical expertise rather than addressing them, and to go on the offensive, labeling me with some of the terms I described (i.e., trouble-maker, patronizing, not a team player, etc.)." Def.'s Ex. O-9. On November 21, 2008, Dr. Clemmons emailed Ms. McClintock a photograph of Ms. Larsen, Ms. Nachbar, and Ms. McCown socializing together to show "just how close-knit the relationships are between the GSCP staff and the USAID staff." Def.'s Ex. O-22A, ECF No. 56-18. Dr. Clemmons also recalls speaking with Ms. McClintock on an unspecified date after filing her grievance and asking whether Ms. McClintock knew that she was African-American and that Ms. Larsen, Ms. McCown, and Ms. Nachbar were Caucasian. Clemmons Dep. 141:11-16. Ms. McClintock indicated that she was aware of that fact. Id.
Ms. McClintock also interviewed Ms. Mayo, Mr. Beadle, and Ms. Nachbar. See McClintock Dep. 20:20-21:10, April 30, 2013, ECF No. 68-17. Ms. McClintock's handwritten notes pertaining to her interview of Mr. Beadle indicate that Mr. Beadle said that there were "longstanding issues, " with the supervisors of GSCP and the "perception [that Dr. Clemmons was] doing something to embarrass them and make them look bad." Pl.'s Ex. D-17, ECF No. 68-7. Ms. McClintock also noted that the allegations did not affect Mr. Beadle's view of or support for Dr. Clemmons, and she wrote that Mr. Beadle "believes may be racial, as well." Id. Ms. Mayo told Ms. McClintock that she believed that the conflict was driven by "personality and personal issues, " communication and "workplace problems, " and that she believed "race and racial stereotypes" were also at play. Mayo Dep. 252:15-253:4, June 18, 2013, ECF No. 68-16. Ms. McClintock did not interview Ms. Larsen, though she did confirm with Ms. Nachbar that Ms. Larsen had been counselled about remaining professional when working with Dr. Clemmons. See Def.'s Ex. O-28, ECF No. 56-18.
On October 20, 2008, two weeks after filing her mobbing grievance, Dr. Clemmons received an "excellent" performance rating on her annual review, along with a 4.5% salary increase. Def.'s Ex. O-90, ECF No. 56-19. AED's "Annual Salary Review Guidelines, " which were issued yearly by AED's president and CEO, established a range of merit-based salary percentage increases that corresponded with an employee's base salary and annual performance rating. See Def.'s Ex. O-88, ECF No. 56-19. Given Dr. Clemmons's salary and performance rating, however, 4.5% was the lowest possible raise that she could have been awarded pursuant to AED policy, which established a range of 4.5% to 6% for someone in Dr. Clemmons's position that year. See Def.'s Ex. O-88. Dr. Clemmons had also received an "excellent" performance rating and the lowest possible salary increase in 2006, before she filed her grievance. See Def.'s Ex. O-139, ECF No. 56-20; Def.'s Ex. O-140, ECF No. 56-20. But in 2007, Dr. Clemmons's "excellent" performance rating had entitled her to a salary increase between 4.1% and 5.5%, and she had received a 5.0% increase. See Def.'s Ex. O-213, ECF No. 56-20.
Two other high-performing COPs also received the minimum allowable salary increases in 2008. Stan Terrell, a Caucasian COP for a project in the Dominican Republic, was eligible to receive a merit-based increase between 2.5% and 4.0%, and he received an increase of 2.5%. See Def.'s Ex. O-88; Def.'s Ex. O-211, ECF No. 56-20; Beadle Dep. 238:10-239:18. Licida Bautista, a Latina COP for a project in Honduras, also received a rating of "Excellent, " was eligible for a salary increase between 5.5% and 7.0%, and received the minimum salary increase of 5.5%. Def.'s Ex. O-88; Def.'s Ex. O-212, ECF No. 56-20; Beadle Dep. 239:19-241:2.
On December 2, 2008, Dr. Clemmons emailed Ms. Mayo to request fourteen days of paid leave. See Def.'s Ex. O-86, ECF No. 56-19. At the time, Dr. Clemmons had a negative vacation balance that would return to a zero balance at the end of the year. See id. Because Dr. Clemmons had a negative leave balance, Ms. Mayo forwarded the request to Dan White, AED's Senior Financial Director, for a recommendation, and then sent Mr. White's recommendation to Mr. Beadle for final approval. Mayo Dep. 301:2-307:6. Mr. White recommended advancing five days of vacation leave and one day of personal leave, which is the amount Dr. Clemmons would have accrued in the first quarter of the next year, ending March 31, 2009. See Def.'s Ex. O-86. Ms. Mayo agreed with Mr. White's recommendation, and Mr. Beadle approved it. See id.; Def.'s Ex. O-87, ECF No. 56-19; Mayo Dep. 303:9-306:3. After receiving a complaint from Dr. Clemmons about the leave decision, Ms. McClintock asked if Mr. Beadle would reconsider the decision to advance six days instead of fourteen, noting that Dr. Clemmons's contract would not allow her to take leave during the last six months of the project. See Pl.'s Ex. E-93, ECF No. 68-8. Mr. Beadle declined to do so. Id.
Citing the leave decision and continued undermining by Ms. Larsen, as well as plans to have SHARP work with GSCP in a sub-contractor role that would require Dr. Clemmons to report in some capacity to Ms. Nachbar, Dr. Clemmons contacted Ms. McClintock on December 19, 2008, raising the specter of "[p]ossible retaliation." Def.'s Ex. O-26, ECF No. 56-18. She also told Ms. McClintock on December 23, 2008, that she was "now seeking legal advice... due to [her] growing alarm that [her] professional reputation and future employment opportunities have been harmed through [her] employment with AED and all of the fall-out with USAID in Ghana." Id.
Dr. Clemmons's concern about reporting to GSCP and Ms. Nachbar traces back to an August 2008 agreement to transfer $500, 000 in USAID funding from GSCP to SHARP. See Def.'s Ex. O-81, ECF No. 56-18. In December 2008, Dr. Clemmons learned that the $500, 000 would not be transferred directly to SHARP because the project had reached its funding cap. See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. No. 19-5, Def.'s Ex. O-111; Def.'s Ex. O-68. Instead, GSCP accepted the funds on behalf of SHARP, and SHARP had to report how it used those funds to Ms. Nachbar. See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. No. 19-5; Def.'s Ex. O-74, ECF No. 56-18. Dr. Clemmons alleges that Mr. Beadle told her that she could not hire any consultants or part-time staff to accomplish the additional work caused by the transfer and reporting requirements, and that this resulted in her working "7 days a week and 15-16 hour days." See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Interrog. No. 19-5, Def.'s Ex. O-111. On January 13, 2009, AED informed Dr. Clemmons that they had provided her incorrect information previously, and that she could, "in fact, locally hire a third-country consultant, " to which Dr. Clemmons replied by explaining that she had one consultant working on activities under the $500, 000 transfer and that she would hire another "to handle the bi-weekly reporting on activities under the $500, 000 transfer." Def.'s Ex. O-82, ECF No. 56-18. She also worked with AED to modify the reporting template so that it would ideally require only a "10 minute effort." Id.
On January 7, 2009, Ms. McClintock emailed Dr. Clemmons a "close-out" report setting forth the key findings from her mobbing investigation, explaining that:
[She] did not find a collaborative or collective effort to have [Dr. Clemmons] terminated, and/or a campaign against [her]. However, [Ms. McClintock] did find inappropriate behavior and actions to have taken place in the past. The people who were involved with such actions have been formally addressed, very clearly and directly. As a result, it is our expectation that [Dr. Clemmons] will not experience similar actions to take place in the future. However, if that is not the case, [she is] asked to inform HR[.]
Def.'s Ex. O-134, ECF No. 56-20. Dr. Clemmons alleges that she did, in fact, experience similar mobbing actions in January 2009 at a meeting with Ms. Larsen, Ms. McCown, and BethAnne Moskov of USAID. See Clemmons Dep. 382:13-387:1. Dr. Clemmons and her subordinate were delayed in entering the meeting and arrived to find Ms. Larsen, Ms. McCown, and Ms. Moskov already in conversation. Id. Ms. Moskov and Ms. Larsen then began criticizing Dr. Clemmons for sending an email on January 9 that stated that GSCP had not shown SHARP certain materials or coordinated with them about an action plan. Id.; see Pl.'s Ex. G-190, ECF No. 68-10. Ms. Moskov said that "she was tired of this kind of behavior, " and "in unison, almost" with Ms. Larsen, she said that the email response was "inappropriate, slowing things down, ridiculous." Clemmons Dep. 386:6-20.
Dr. Clemmons then emailed Ms. McClintock on January 15, 2009, to let her know that she "as well as the SHARP project, have been experiencing retaliation. Recent events have confirmed that the retaliation, as well as the workplace mobbing, are based on discrimination and unfair treatment based on race." See Def.'s Ex. O-29, ECF No. 56-18. In response, Ms. McClintock asked Dr. Clemmons to provide more details about these incidents, see id., but Dr. Clemmons never replied to Ms. McClintock, see McClintock Dep. 218:12-14. Dr. Clemmons tendered her resignation on March 9, 2009, to be effective June 2009. See SDF ¶¶ 196, 198.
Dr. Clemmons asserts that after resigning, she learned additional information about the workplace mobbing. Specifically, she alleges that Mary Lyn Field, then an AED Vice President, told a senior manager with another company that there were "management problems" within SHARP and implied that Dr. Clemmons was "a problem for AED." See Clemmons Dep. 26:4-32:13. Further, in February 2009 Ms. Field allegedly approached a former colleague of Dr. Clemmons who was in a group of international health professionals on their way to an HIV/AIDS conference, and asked in an insinuating tone whether Dr. Clemmons was "difficult" at her last job. See id. 46:4-48:21. Dr. Clemmons also alleges that in October 2011, Ms. Moskov ...