United States District Court, District of Columbia
G. Sullivan United States District Judge
Pamela Carter-Frost (“Ms. Carter-Frost”) brings
three claims against Defendant District of Columbia
(“District”) for events arising from her
employment with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Department (“MPD”). Her complaint alleges (1)
gender discrimination; (2) retaliation; and (3) a hostile
work environment-all in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), as amended, 42
U.S.C. § 2000(e), et seq.; the District of
Columbia Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”), D.C. Code
§ 2-1401.01, et seq.; and the Civil Rights Act
of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981(a) (“Section
1981”). Ms. Carter-Frost requests compensatory damages
and expenses, in addition to other equitable relief,
including ordering the District to institute policies against
discrimination and imposing supervisory training. Pending
before the Court is the District's motion for summary
judgment. See Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 19. The Court
has carefully considered the motion, the response and reply
thereto, the applicable law, and the entire record herein.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS IN
PART and DENIES IN PART the
defendant's motion for summary judgment. Ms.
Carter-Frost's gender discrimination claim may proceed,
but the District is entitled to summary judgment on her
retaliation and hostile work environment claims.
where indicated, the following facts are not in dispute. Ms.
Carter-Frost was an officer employed with the MPD for over
twenty-five years before she retired in 2015. Pl.'s Dep.,
ECF No. 24-2 at 9:24-25; Retirement Order, ECF No. 24-4. She
started her MPD career in 1990 as a patrol officer in the
Sixth District. Id. at 9:24-25. However, for the
vast majority of her employment, from 1992 to 2012, Ms.
Carter-Frost worked as a time and attendance
(“T&A”) clerk within the Criminal
Investigation Division (“CID”). Pl.'s Dep.,
ECF No. 24-2 at 11:6-20:3. As a T&A clerk, Ms.
Carter-Frost was responsible for preparing the payroll by
inputting time entries from the logbook, which documented
each officer's shift. Id. at 16:3-17:1. She
served as a T&A clerk in various MPD CID offices, but she
last worked in CID Headquarters. Id. at 19:5-24.
While Ms. Carter-Frost moved offices at least five times over
those twenty years, each detail as a T&A clerk was
voluntary upon application or request. Id. at
Investigation and “Involuntary” Lateral
2013, while serving as a T&A clerk at CID Headquarters,
the Investigative Services Bureau (“Bureau”)
investigated Ms. Carter-Frost for misconduct. See
Investigative Report, ECF No. 24-6. According to the
Bureau's Report, Ms. Carter-Frost and another male
officer referred to as “Officer J.Y., ” were
found to have violated MPD T&A policy from November 2012
through January 2013. Id. Officer J.Y. also
performed administrative work at CID Headquarters.
Id. at 2. Unlike Ms. Carter-Frost, Officer J.Y. was
not a T&A clerk by title, but he had T&A login
credentials, and he periodically entered T&A information.
Id. at 3, 6. According to the Bureau's findings,
Officer J.Y. allowed Ms. Carter-Frost to enter her own time
using his unique T&A login code. Id. at
7. This violated MPD policy and exposed both
officers to criminal liability because T&A clerks were
not allowed to enter their own hours “due to conflict
of interest.” Id. at 6. While Ms. Carter-Frost
admitted that she used Officer J.Y.'s code to enter her
own time, she claims that she was unaware that doing so was
prohibited by MPD rules. Id. at 3.
finding was referred to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for
the District of Columbia, which declined to prosecute the
case, leaving the violation for administrative resolution.
USAO-DC Letter, ECF No. 24-10. At that point, the MPD upheld
the charge against both officers and recommended
“adverse action” ranging from reprimand to
removal for both. Recommendation Letter, ECF No. 24-8; Notice
of Proposed Action, ECF No. 24-9. Officer J.Y. was originally
suspended for five days, Final Notice, ECF No. 24-5, but the
suspension was rescinded on appeal. Appeal, ECF No. 24-11.
Neither party submitted formal proof of Ms.
Carter-Frost's punishment. See generally
Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 19; Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 24.
However, it is undisputed that Ms. Carter-Frost was
“involuntarily” transferred twice from her
T&A work. Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 28 at 8, ¶ 22;
11, ¶ 32.
November or December 2012, Ms. Carter-Frost was transferred
to the Forensics Unit, where she “was assigned to sit
in a workspace with no windows, no telephone, and no
desk.” Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 24 at 5, ¶ 4.
There, she was tasked with filing the police reports from
every district. Id. ¶ 5. In February 2013, she
was “involuntarily detailed” a second time to a
patrol position in the Fifth District. Id.
¶¶ 6, 7. This post became permanent in May 2013, as
“corrective action” for her T&A policy
violation. Pl.'s Dep., ECF No. 24-2 at 52:24-53:19. Ms.
Carter-Frost alleges that she felt threatened when faced with
this corrective action: her choices, as she saw them, were to
accept this transfer or be terminated. Id. at
58:14-59:13. As a result of the transfer, Ms. Carter-Frost
worked as a patrol officer for the first time in twenty-two
years. Id. at 60:20-25. She remained on patrol until
she retired in 2015.
Denied Requests and Complaints
Carter-Frost alleges that she submitted several personnel
requests, which were all denied. These requests included a
request for leave in June 2011, id. at 38:8-40:7; a
request to have her schedule changed at some point in 2012,
id. at 46:4-47:11; and “two or three”
requests to be transferred back to T&A work at the CID,
id. at 30:10-18. Ms. Carter-Frost also alleges that,
beginning in November 2012, she was denied the opportunity to
accrue overtime or compensatory time. Id. at
40:20-41:2. According to Ms. Carter-Frost, her male
colleagues had their “basic work requests granted,
” such as leave requests and work preferences.
Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 24 at 23-24.
Carter-Frost also alleges that she made several complaints
regarding this perceived unfair treatment. She alleges that
she first filed a complaint with MPD's Equal Employment
Opportunity (“EEO”) Branch in 2002, alleging a
hostile work environment. Pl.'s Dep., ECF No. 24-2 at
26:25-27:19. According to Ms. Carter-Frost, she next
complained in the spring of 2012 to a Commander about her
supervisor's preferential treatment of male officers.
Id. at 34:11-15. She allegedly made this complaint
by sticking a post-it note on the Commander's office
door. Id. at 36:2-7. Next, Ms. Carter-Frost alleges
that she filed a second EEO complaint on November 26, 2012,
concerning the MPD's perceived “differential
treatment, retaliation, and hostile work environment.”
Pl.'s Stmt. of Disputed Facts (“Pl.'s
Stmt.”), ECF No. 24-14 ¶ 19. However, according to
a MPD Investigator who searched the MPD's EEO archives
for 2002 and 2012, there is no record of either complaint.
See Tapp Aff., ECF No. 19-2 ¶¶ 2-4.
on August 12, 2013, Ms. Carter-Frost filed a complaint with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) and the District of Columbia Office of
Human Rights (DCOHR) alleging retaliation, gender
discrimination, and a hostile work environment. EEOC Charge,
ECF No. 24-3 (amended). She received her right to sue notice
on March 17, 2015, ECF No. 24-7, and timely filed this
lawsuit on June 16, 2015.
Standard of Review
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment
should be granted only “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Waterhouse v. District of
Columbia, 298 F.3d 989, 991 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The moving
party must identify “those portions of the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). On the other
hand, to defeat summary judgment, the nonmoving party must
demonstrate that there is a genuine issue of material fact.
Id. at 324. A material fact is one that is capable
of affecting the outcome of the litigation. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986), while a
genuine dispute is one in which “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id. Further, in the summary
judgment analysis “[t]he evidence of the non-movant is
to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be
drawn in his favor.” Id. at 255.
Ms. Carter-Frost's DCHRA Claims Are Not
initial matter, the District alleges that Ms.
Carter-Frost's DCHRA claims for gender discrimination and
retaliation are time-barred because: (1) the DCHRA statute of
limitations is one year; (2) the last incident of
discrimination/retaliation allegedly occurred in February
2013; and (3) Ms. Carter-Frost did not file her claim until
June 16, 2015, over two years later. Def.'s Mot., ECF No.
19 at 7. The DCHRA requires that a “private cause of
action . . . shall be filed . . . within one year of the
unlawful discriminatory act, or the discovery thereof.”
D.C. Code § 2-1403.16. But the statute of limitations is
tolled upon filing a complaint with the EEOC, which also
automatically cross-files a complaint with the DCOHR.
See, e.g., Craig v. District of Columbia,
881 F.Supp.2d 26, 33 (D.D.C. 2012); Ibrahim v. Unisys
Corp., 582 F.Supp.2d 41, 45-47 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing
Esteños v. PAHO/WHO Federal Credit Union, 952
A.2d 878, 880-85 (D.C. 2008)). Ms. Carter-Frost filed her
amended EEOC claim, which was cross-filed with the DCOHR, on
August 12, 2013. EEOC Charge, ECF No. 24-3. On March 17,
2015, the EEOC denied her claim and Ms. Carter-Frost received
her right-to-sue notice. Notice Right-to-Sue, ECF No. 24-7.
She filed this lawsuit on June 16, 2015. Therefore, the
statute of limitations was tolled from August 12, 2013-the
date she filed the EEOC complaint-through March 17, 2015-the
date she received the right-to-sue notice. Ms. Carter-Frost
alleges discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work
environment through at least February 2013. See
generally Compl., ECF No. 1. Thus, excluding the time
that was tolled while the EEOC complaint was pending, only