United States District Court, District of Columbia
TONIA L. JONES, et al., Plaintiffs,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER JUDGE
Jones and Kenniss Weeks were police officers and squad car
partners in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police
Department (MPD) in the summer of 2006. Ms. Jones, who was
known to her colleagues as a lesbian woman, began an intimate
relationship with Ms. Weeks, who at the time was known to her
colleagues as a heterosexual woman who had previously been
married to a man. The unexpected relationship between the two
women created a wave at MPD, and Ms. Jones and Ms. Weeks now
allege that the ripples from that wave created a hostile work
environment for them, in violation of Title VII and the D.C.
Human Rights Act (DCHRA), for which they sue the District of
Columbia (the District or D.C.) Both Plaintiffs allege that
they were subjected to harassment and hostility on the basis
of sexual orientation and sex, as well as retaliation for
complaining. Because the claims all emanate from allegations
related to Plaintiffs' lesbian relationship, and they
have not raised a genuine issue of material fact as to
harassment based on sex, the Court will grant D.C.'s
motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' sex
discrimination claims under Title VII and DCHRA. However,
because there are disputes of material fact concerning
Plaintiffs' claims of a hostile work environment due to
their sexual orientation and retaliation for protected
activities under DCHRA, the Court will deny summary judgment
on those claims.
Plaintiffs' Romantic Relationship
Jones and Ms. Weeks are police officers of the D.C.
Metropolitan Police Department. Ms. Weeks has worked for MPD
since 2000; she was assigned to the Seventh District (7D),
first as an officer, and later as an investigator and a
detective, from September 2000 until December 2009.
See Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts [Dkt.
90-1] ¶¶ 74-75, 153 (Def.'s Undisputed); Pl.
Weeks's Statement of Material Facts in Dispute [Dkt.
93-1] ¶¶ W002-03 (Weeks Disputed). Ms. Jones began
working for MPD in 2001 and was assigned to 7D at all
relevant times except for a brief assignment in July 2010.
See Def.'s Undisputed ¶¶ 2-3; Pl.
Jones's Statement of Material Facts in Dispute [Dkt.
96-1] ¶¶ J002-03 (Jones Disputed).
to the fall of 2006, both Ms. Weeks and Ms. Jones were
friends with Sergeant Jonathan Podorski, the day-shift
supervisor of Police Service Area (PSA) 703. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶¶ 6, 78; Weeks Disputed
¶ W006; Jones Disputed ¶ J006. Ms. Weeks
considered Sgt. Podorski a close friend; she had socialized
at his home, he taught her how to play the guitar, and they
had gone on group vacations together, along with other
coworkers. See Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 79;
Weeks Dep. [Dkt. 93-11] at 13, 22. During this time, Ms.
Weeks also believed that Sgt. Podorski had romantic feelings
for her. See Weeks Disputed ¶ W007. Ms. Jones
and Sgt. Podorski also had a friendly relationship; they had
socialized on several occasions and Ms. Jones considered Sgt.
Podorski to be a “good guy, a friend.”
See Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 6; Jones Dep. [Dkt.
93-7] at 21. Prior to September 2006, people at MPD knew that
Ms. Jones identified as a lesbian, but Ms. Weeks was known to
her colleagues as a heterosexual woman. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 13. Ms. Weeks and Ms. Jones were
assigned to ride together beginning in early 2006.
See 3d Am. Compl. [Dkt. 26] ¶ 8.
2006, Ms. Jones and Ms. Weeks began a romantic relationship.
See id.; Def.'s Undisputed ¶¶ 4, 76.
By September 2006, both were assigned to PSA 703, riding
together as partners, and reporting to Sgt. Podorski.
See Jones Dep. at 113. Ms. Jones testified that
around that time, while on duty with Sgt. Podorski in an MPD
scout car, she told him that she was dating another female
officer. See Jones Dep. at 28-30. Sgt. Podorski did
not react with anger or otherwise negatively at the time,
although Ms. Jones says that “at some point he became
angry.” Jones Dep. at 37. Also in September 2006, both
Plaintiffs together told Sgt. Podorski about their
relationship. See Jones Dep. at 42-43; Weeks Dep. at
20-23. According to Ms. Weeks, Sgt. Podorski responded by
telling Ms. Weeks “you let the kid come out and play,
” which she took to mean that she “let [her]
emotions come out.” Weeks Dep. at 24. Ms. Jones did not
recall Sgt. Podorski's reaction during this joint
conversation. See Jones Dep. at 43-44.
Jones and Ms. Weeks assert that Sgt. Podorski's behavior
toward them changed after they informed him of their
relationship. Shortly afterwards, Sgt. Podorski told Ms.
Jones that Ms. Weeks was a “drama queen.” Jones
Dep. at 109-10; Podorski Dep. [93-2] at 33- 35. In another
conversation, Sgt. Podorski warned Ms. Jones that she
“shouldn't mess with” Ms. Weeks, whom he
called “poison.” Jones Dep. at 109; Podorski Dep.
at 35. Ms. Weeks alleges that Sgt. Podorski also told her
that Ms. Jones was “poison.” Weeks Dep. at 91.
Alleged Hostile Actions Related to Work Assignments
September 24, 2006, Plaintiffs arrived at a domestic violence
call where two family members were suspected of hitting and
threatening a teenage family member with a knife.
See Podorski IAD File Narrative Report [Dkt. 94-7]
at 2 (Podorski IAD); Jones Dep. 120.Plaintiffs talked with the
teenager and determined that she had been attacked for
telling her family that she was a lesbian. See
Podorski IAD at 5. Sgt. Podorski ordered Plaintiffs
not to arrest the two family members and to bring the
teenager to a mental health facility for evaluation.
Id. at 4-5. Sgt. Podorski stated that he had prior
experience with the teenager and knew she had mental health
issues and was a runaway. See Podorski Dep. at 53,
122-24. Plaintiffs disagreed with his order, and called the
MPD Gay and Lesbian Unit (GLU) to complain about it.
See Podorski IAD at 5. Sgt. Brett Parsons of the
GLU, along with another MPD officer, came to the scene,
interviewed witnesses, and arrested the two family members.
Id. Sgt. Podorski was subsequently referred to the
U.S. Attorney's Office for “Failure to Make a
Lawful Arrest, ” and cited by MPD's Internal
Affairs Division (IAD) for Neglect of Duty. See
Podorski IAD Final Report [Dkt. 94-11] at 3. Ms. Jones
alleges that after these events on September 24, 2006, Sgt.
Podorski prevented the Plaintiffs from riding together on a
daily basis, even during periods when they were assigned to
the same PSA. See Jones Disputed ¶¶
November 2006, Plaintiffs participated in the annual
“open season” bidding process, in which MPD
officers bid on different PSA assignments. See Jones
OHR Complaint (Apr. 20, 2009), Jones OHR File [Dkt. 94-3] at
3. Both Plaintiffs had planned to bid for PSA 703, but Sgt.
Podorski assigned Ms. Jones to be out on duty during bidding,
and when she returned to the 7D office, PSA 703 was full.
See Id. As a result, Ms. Weeks bid on and was
assigned to PSA 703, Ms. Jones was assigned to PSA 701, and
Plaintiffs were unable to ride together as squad-car
partners. See Id. Ms. Jones alleges that Sgt.
Podorski intentionally assigned her to be out on patrol
during bidding in order to keep her and Ms. Weeks apart.
See id.; see also Weeks OHR Rebuttal
Affidavit (Nov. 10, 2008) [Dkt. 94-8] at 1.
Weeks also alleges that Sgt. Podorski “would
call-in” to inquire about Plaintiffs' court
appearances, which he would not do with other officers.
Id. at 6.
November 2006, Sgt. Podorski gave Ms. Jones a performance
evaluation score of 28, representing “exceeds
expectations, ” on her annual performance evaluation.
Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 27.
January 2007 Sgt. Podorski informed Plaintiffs that he
believed they were unsafe riding together because they had
too many Use of Force Incident Reports (UFIRs). See
Podorski Dep. at 42-46. At some point that month, Sgt.
Podorski posted a notice at 7D, stating that Ms. Jones, Ms.
Weeks, and one other officer had too many UFIRs and
experienced too many injuries at work. See Jones
Dep. at 55-56; Weeks Dep. at 85. Plaintiffs allege that this
posting was harassing because it was unusual and violated
their privacy, and that the record does not support the
District's contention that Sgt. Podorski separated
Plaintiffs because of their UFIRs. See Jones
Opp'n at 33-34; Jones Disputed ¶ J044; see
also Jones Dep. at 58 (calling the posted notice an
invasion of privacy); Weeks Dep. at 85 (asserting that the
posting of the notice created a hostile work environment).
Sgt. Podorski testified that he told other sergeants in 7D
that Plaintiffs were overly aggressive when they worked
together, but he did not recall “a specific
incident” that “triggered” the notice
posting. See Podorski Dep. at 45-46.
the notice on excessive UFIRs was posted, Ms. Weeks told
Sgts. Eric Levenberry and Buddy Smallwood that she believed
Sgt. Podorski was being unfair. See Weeks Dep. at
63. According to Ms. Weeks, Sgt. Levenberry told her she
could file a complaint with the District's Equal
Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office, but warned her that if
she did, Sgt. Podorski might tell people that Ms. Weeks had
slept with him. Id. Sgt. Levenberry recalled the
conversation but not how he advised Ms. Weeks. See
Levenberry Dep. [Dkt. 94-12] at 19. Ms. Jones testified that,
also in January 2007, she and Ms. Weeks together complained
to Lt. Derek Larsen about Sgt. Podorski, telling Lt. Larsen
that they did not want to work with Sgt. Podorski anymore
because of the way he had been treating them. See
Jones Dep. at 69, 72-79. There was apparently no immediate
response; Lt. Larsen testified that he advised Plaintiffs
several months later, in October 2007, that if they were
having a problem with Sgt. Podorski they could file an EEO
complaint. See Larsen Dep. [Dkt. 94-1] at 42-43. In
February 2007, Plaintiffs also talked with Lt. Ashley
Rosenthal, a former EEO counselor for 7D and trainer at the
Police Academy, about Sgt. Podorski's allegedly harassing
behavior; Plaintiffs allege that Lt. Rosenthal advised them
to document their complaints but did not take further steps
to address their concerns. See Weeks Dep. at 333;
Rosenthal Dep. [Dkt. 97-9] at 59-62.
March 2007, Ms. Jones began her new assignment in PSA 701.
During this time, Sgt. Podorski was responsible for Roll Call
assignments to scout cars, and Ms. Jones alleges that Sgt.
Podorski routinely refused to assign her and Ms. Weeks to the
same scout car, even though he would routinely assign other
officers in heterosexual relationships to ride together.
See Statement of Officer Tonia L. Jones, Jones OHR
File at 68-74. Also during March 2007, Plaintiffs met
with Joel Maupin, Commander of 7D, to complain about Sgt.
Podorski and to request that they both be transferred to the
midnight shift to avoid his supervision. See Weeks
Dep. at 137. CDR Maupin informed Plaintiffs that
they could file an EEO complaint, but that he had a policy
between open bids of agreeing to reassignments only with a
“body-for-body” replacement; that is, a
transferring officer had to find another officer to take her
place. See Id. at 136-37, 142; Jones Dep. at 127-28.
CDR Maupin testified that the “body-for-body”
requirement is standard procedure because of staffing
limitations, see Maupin Dep. [Dkt. 93-12] at 31,
while Plaintiffs contend that the “body-for-body”
policy was not an official policy and was selectively
enforced in a discriminatory way. See Weeks Dep. at
130-32 (Ms. Weeks describing her understanding that one other
officer had been permitted to change her shift without a
“body-for-body” replacement). Both Ms. Weeks and
Ms. Jones were reassigned to the midnight shift later in
2007, in August and September, respectively, when each had
found a replacement with whom to switch. See Weeks
Dep. at 125-26.
Alleged Hostile Actions at Myrtle Beach Bike Week
Yurell Washington was the supervisor in 7D on the midnight
shift to whose supervision each Plaintiff voluntarily
transferred in late summer 2007. See Weeks Disputed
¶ W010; Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 80. Before those
transfers, in May 2007, Plaintiffs had traveled with Sgt.
Washington and his girlfriend to Myrtle Beach, South
Carolina, for an annual motorcycle rally (Bike Week).
See Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 82; Weeks Disputed
¶ W012. During the several-hours-long drive, during
which the travelers talked and, at various times, Plaintiffs
openly kissed in the back seat, Sgt. Washington asked Ms.
Weeks why she “switched to being with women, ”
which Ms. Weeks alleges was invasive and harassing. Weeks
Opp'n at 14; see Washington Dep. [Dkt. 94-15] at
77-79, 116-17. Sgt. Washington contends that the question
came up naturally in conversation and that he had no hidden
motive in asking it. See Washington Dep. at 77-78.
number of MPD officers traveled to Myrtle Beach for
“Bike Week” and during the vacation Plaintiffs
stayed at a rental house with other officers including Sgts.
Podorski and Washington. Jones Dep. at 102; see also
Washington Dep. at 113. During a party one night at a
different house, a clearly drunk Sgt. Podorski walked out
onto the porch and yelled, “Do you want to f-k?”
in front of a large group that included Plaintiffs. Jones
Dep. at 46. That Sgt. Podorski asked this question is
undisputed; there is a dispute as to whether he was seriously
propositioning Ms. Weeks or both Plaintiffs, see,
e.g., Weeks Dep. at 118 (“I took it as him being
serious.”), or if the outburst was directed at no one
in particular, see Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 118;
Podorski Dep. at 66 (“I don't know if I was yelling
at them or someone else in the house.”). Ms. Jones
testified that other officers at the party expressed their
indignation to her about the Sergeant's conduct, although
apparently none presented evidence in discovery. See
Jones Dep. at 106. Ms. Jones also testified that she helped
to restrain other officers from attacking Sgt. Podorski.
See Id. (“I was trying to stop other people
from assaulting [Sgt. Podorski].”). Plaintiffs argue
that their recollections of other officers' reactions
after Sgt. Podorski's outburst corroborates Ms.
Jones's testimony that the outburst was directed at
either Ms. Weeks or both women.
Alleged Hostile Actions by Sgt. Washington and Other
Ms. Weeks transferred to the midnight shift in August 2007,
Sgt. Washington suggested a couple of times that they ride
their motorcycles to work together. Weeks Dep. at 124
(recalling that Sgt. Washington invited her to ride their
bikes “a couple times”); Washington Dep. at 55
(recalling that he asked her once, in a casual, friendly
manner). Ms. Weeks now complains that she felt harassed by
Sgt. Washington's offers to ride their motorcycles to
mid-September 2007, Plaintiffs were both assigned to the
midnight shift and were again patrolling together. During a
patrol prior to September 19, Plaintiffs stopped an
automobile that had been reported stolen. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 119; Washington Dep. at 53. A
woman who was a known prostitute was driving the car; after
talking with her, Plaintiffs accepted her word that the owner
of the car (who had reported it stolen) had given her
permission to drive it. See Def.'s Undisputed
¶ 120; Weeks Dep. at 151-53. Plaintiffs reported the
encounter to Sgt. Washington, who ordered them to arrest the
woman as a suspected car thief. Plaintiffs refused.
See Def.'s Undisputed ¶¶ 120-21;
Washington Dep. at 53. Sgt. Washington became angry because
Plaintiffs defied his direct orders, although he ultimately
agreed not to insist that they lock up the suspect.
See Weeks Dep. at 157. Sgt. Washington testified
that Plaintiffs' insubordination during this incident,
particularly Ms. Weeks's vocal resistance to his orders,
was “the last straw, ” and he determined to
separate them. Washington Dep. at 54; see also Id.
at 55 (stating that Ms. Weeks resisted his orders vocally,
while Ms. Jones was largely silent throughout the
Washington separated Plaintiffs by assigning Ms. Weeks to the
so-called “Marjorie Court detail, ” a temporary
fixed-post assignment to provide protection to a fellow
officer at his home, on September 19, 2007. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 124; Washington Dep. at 55,
80-81. During such a stint on October 5, 2007, Ms. Weeks
arrested a suspect on an unrelated matter, but Sgt.
Washington ordered her to return to her detail and assigned
the arrest to another officer to process at the lock-up. Ms.
Weeks charges that in doing so Sgt. Washington was treating
her unfairly. See Weeks Internal Affairs Division
Interview at 9-11 (Oct. 7, 2007) [Dkt. 94-18] (Weeks IAD
Interview). Plaintiffs believe that Sgt. Washington assigned
Ms. Weeks to the detail in order to separate Plaintiffs, and
that his intent was punitive. Ms. Weeks alleges that another
officer asked for the detail but Sgt. Washington refused
because he was “saving” it for Ms. Weeks. Weeks
OHR Complaint (Apr. 20, 2009), Weeks OHR File at 3 [Dkt.
94-4]; Weeks Dep. at 128; see also Washington Dep.
at 60 (testifying that he did not recall telling anyone that
he was “saving” the detail for Ms. Weeks).
further allege that Sgt. Washington inappropriately referred
to their sexual orientation. According to Ms. Weeks's
testimony, Sgt. Washington's girlfriend told Ms. Weeks
that he had described the women as “the butch
one” (Ms. Jones) and “the femme one” (Ms.
Weeks), which Ms. Weeks considered derogatory, harassing, and
evidence of Sgt. Washington's inappropriate focus on
their sexual orientation. See Weeks Dep. at 95-97.
Sgt. Washington testified that he did not recall using those
terms, but that it was “a known impression” in 7D
that Ms. Jones was “butch” and Ms. Weeks was
“femme.” Washington Dep. at 79. Plaintiffs also
allege that Sgt. Washington frequently initiated frank
discussions with Plaintiffs about his sexual attraction to
other women, which Plaintiffs assert was unprofessional and
which they believe Sgt. Washington would not have done with
heterosexual female colleagues. See Weeks Disputed
¶ W097; Washington Dep. at 131-32.
Plaintiffs complain that other MPD employees harassed them
because of their sexual orientation. They allege that, in
September 2007, they were standing together when Officer
Stephen Pristoop, a colleague, offered $5, 000 to Ms. Weeks
to watch the couple have sex; Plaintiffs rejected the offer.
See Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 135; Jones Dep. at
264-66. Officer Pristoop was later fired by MPD, due to
unrelated inappropriate actions. See Def.'s
Undisputed ¶ 138; Washington Dep. at 59-60. Ms. Jones
alleges that Sgt. Buddy Smallwood asked her if he
“could have a kiss, ” adding that Ms. Weeks would
not find out. See Jones Dep. at 262. Ms. Weeks
alleges that Officer William Chapman would frequently tell
her that she should “go back” to men. 3d Am.
Compl. [Dkt. 26] ¶ 18. There is no allegation that
either Plaintiff reported any of these encounters to MPD at
the time. See, e.g., Weeks Dep. at 266 (“I
can't remember if I told someone [about Officer
Investigations of Ms. Weeks for Neglect of Duty and
September and October of 2007, Ms. Weeks was investigated, on
Sgt. Washington's orders, for two separate incidents
involving MPD's absence and leave policies. First, on
September 26, 2007, Ms. Weeks was investigated for
“neglect of duty” after allegedly leaving a squad
car partner (not Ms. Jones) behind and neglecting to follow
MPD procedures after doing so. See Def.'s
Undisputed ¶¶ 126-28; Washington Dep. at 626-3. Ms.
Weeks disputes that she ever left a partner behind and
contends that the charge was baseless. See Weeks
Dep. at 176-78. She was never formally reprimanded for the
alleged violation, and she does not know if anything came of
it, but she argues that being written up contributed to a
hostile work environment. She also states that the
investigation remains in her 7D employment file as an
“adverse action.” See id.; Weeks
Disputed ¶¶ W087-88.
on October 3, 2007, Ms. Weeks called in sick but failed to
check in with MPD's medical clinic upon returning to work
as required by official policy; as a result, Sgt. Washington
initiated an investigation into Ms. Weeks for being absent
without leave (AWOL). See Weeks AWOL Investigation
Memorandum (Feb. 27, 2008) [Dkt. 90-9]. Ms. Weeks admits that
she failed to comply with existing policy (and was officially
AWOL) but complains that Sgt. Washington checked in
repeatedly with medical staff to ask if Ms. Weeks had
reported to them, which Ms. Weeks contends was atypical and
harassing. See, e.g., Weeks Dep. at 192-93, 195. Ms.
Weeks also contends that the AWOL investigation was untimely
as it was not commenced until four days after the incident,
and that she herself was not told about the AWOL charge for a
year. See Weeks Disputed ¶ W091.
Plaintiffs' Stress Leave
October 7, 2007, Ms. Weeks and Ms. Jones attended the wedding
of two fellow officers. See Def.'s Undisputed
¶ 139; Weeks Disputed ¶ W102. Plaintiffs each
requested one hour of leave, although MPD policy provided for
short periods of personal leave in the form of two- or
four-hour blocks. See Def.'s Undisputed ¶
140; Weeks Disputed ¶ W102. Upon arriving at work,
Plaintiffs saw Sgt. Washington just leaving 7D. They then found
that he had marked them out for two hours. They allege that
he had not marked other officers out for two hours, even
though others may have been gone for as long as or longer
than Plaintiffs. See Def.'s Undisputed ¶
141; Weeks Disputed ¶ W105. The record is not clear as
to whether Plaintiffs were late arriving on duty by an hour
or slightly more, but Plaintiffs contend that clarity is
unimportant because Sgt. Washington had already marked them
out for two hours before he knew when they actually reported.
See Weeks Dep. at 176; Jones Dep. at 144. Neither
Plaintiff brought the mistake to the attention of Sgt.
Washington or requested a correction to her leave records
through typical channels, although each described the matter
when they filed EEO charges with MPD's Internal Affairs
Division later that month. See Def.'s Undisputed
¶ 142; Weeks Disputed ¶ W106.
say that they became too stressed to work after Sgt.
Washington marked them out for two hours for the wedding and
decided to take stress leave. On October 8, 2007, both
Plaintiffs filed formal stress complaints with MPD, alleging
that their work environment was stressful because Sgt.
Washington was discriminating against them based on
“sexual preference.” See Jones and Weeks
PD-42 Documents (Oct. 7, 2007) [Dkt. 94-19] (PD-42
Documents). Both also reported physiological symptoms such as
headaches and nausea due to ongoing harassment. Id.
Plaintiffs immediately took time off due to stress and did
not return to work until November 26, 2007. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 147; Weeks Dep. at 201-02. While
on stress leave, both Plaintiffs filed EEO complaints with
the Internal Affairs Division (IAD), alleging discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and retaliation. Ms. Jones
complained of such treatment by Sgt. Podorski, but not Sgt.
Washington, and Ms. Weeks complained of such treatment by
Sgt. Washington, but not Sgt. Podorski. Each Plaintiff was
interviewed by EEO Counselor Debbie Burt. See Weeks
IAD Interview; Jones IAD Interview (Oct. 15, 2007) [Dkt.
while on stress leave, Plaintiffs took a preplanned, prepaid,
one-week vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. See
Def.'s Undisputed ¶¶ 145-46. The parties
dispute whether Plaintiffs had remaining paid annual leave to
cover their vacation or used paid stress leave. Plaintiffs
admit that they had both exhausted their sick and annual
leave at the time, see 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 70, but
Ms. Weeks asserts that they both had received approval for
the vacation prior to requesting stress leave, and that they
used approximately 40 hours of annual leave and not stress
leave for the vacation. See Weeks Disputed ¶
W113. In addition, Ms. Weeks alleges that MPD categorized her
leave time incorrectly. See Id. ¶ W115.
November 2007, Sgt. Podorski gave Ms. Jones a performance
evaluation rating of 26, or “meets expectations.”
This 2007 rating was two points lower than his evaluation of
her in 2006. See Jones Annual Evaluation 2007 [Dkt.
90-11]. Sgt. Podorski initially gave Ms. Weeks a performance
rating of 26 as well but that rating was raised to 28
(“exceeds expectations”) by another sergeant in
PSA 703, Sgt. Robert Hunter. See 3d Am. Compl.
¶ 99; Weeks Dep. at 213. Ms. Jones signed her evaluation
on December 2, 2007, but was not given a copy. See
Jones Dep. at 213. Ms. Jones did not grieve her evaluation
because, she says, she had not received a copy and the
evaluation was not in her personnel folder when she looked.
See Id. at 213-14. Ms. Jones received a copy of her
2006 evaluation on February 8, 2008. See Jones Copy,
Jones Annual Evaluation 2007 (signed as having been
“Received 2-8-08”) [Dkt. 96-4].
returned from stress leave on November 26, 2007. Ms. Jones
complains that Sgt. Washington told her “[Y]ou can feed
the dogs but they will bite you, ” which she
interpreted as a threat related to her EEO charge.
See Washington Dep. at 83-84. In January 2008, Sgt.
Washington allegedly told Ms. Jones, “Y'all pulled
that shit. You jumped on the band wagon with Weeks. I always
been straight with you. That shit is f-ked up. You and your
girl f-ked up.” See Jones PD-119 Report (Jan.
22, 2008) [Dkt. 95-6]. After they returned from stress leave
in December 2007, both Plaintiffs had been reassigned to PSA
705, where they were supervised by Lt. Rosenthal.
See Jones Disputed ¶ J026; see also
Rosenthal Dep. at 27-28 (confirming that she had supervised
both Plaintiffs in PSA 705 around this time).
Jones alleges that Sgt. Podorski escalated his aggressive
behavior toward her when, on March 11, 2008, she asked him to
sign a routine report, and he threw the papers on the floor
in anger and refused to sign. Another sergeant subsequently
signed the papers. See Jones Dep. at 52-53. In May
2008, when Ms. Weeks was injured in an on-duty car accident,
Ms. Jones complains that Sgt. (First Name Unknown)
LaFranchise refused to grant Ms. Jones's request to leave
work early to pick up Ms. Weeks from the hospital.
See Jones OHR Complaint at 3 (Apr. 20, 2009);
Statement of Officer Tonia L. Jones ¶ 15 (No.
08-206-DC(N)), Jones OHR File at 17. Plaintiffs also contend
that during the same month CDR Maupin again split them up by
assigning Ms. Weeks to the “midnight shifts, ”
and that he told Ms. Jones she need not “follow”
Ms. Weeks “everywhere she [goes].” Jones OHR
Complaint (Apr. 20, 2009); see also Maupin Dep. at
74 (stating that he did not recall making this comment).
Detective Applications and Ms. Weeks's Move to 7D
spring of 2008, both Plaintiffs were eligible for, and
participated in, MPD's Investigator Qualifications and
Selection Process. See Def.'s Undisputed ¶
150. A total of 228 officers, including both Plaintiffs, were
found to be eligible for 63 open positions. Id.
¶ 151. The candidates were all ranked and the 63
highest-ranking officers were promoted to Investigator, a
precursor to becoming a Detective; the other names remained
on the list to be awarded promotions as vacancies occurred in
the order of the list. See Investigator Candidate
Ranking List [Dkt. 90-15]. The ranking took into account
multiple factors in determining each candidate's overall
ranking. These included a written examination (20 percent),
an interview with a panel (50 percent), and past performance
evaluations (10 percent). See Jones Testing Results
[Dkt. 90-17]; Weeks Testing Results [Dkt. 90-16]; Def.'s
Mot. Summ. J. [Dkt. 90] at 22 (Mot.). At the end of the
application process in October 2008, Ms. Weeks was ranked
16th and was selected to become an Investigator. Ms. Jones,
however, was ranked 193rd and was not selected, as there were
only 63 openings. See Investigator Candidate Ranking
List. Although Ms. Jones contends that Sgt. Podorski's
“meets expectations” performance evaluation in
2006 was the major factor in her ranking, the District
maintains that Ms. Jones's overall low score- including
her examination results and poor interview-was the
determinative factor. See Jones Disputed ¶
J099; Def.'s Undisputed ¶ 63. Ms. Jones has
withdrawn her allegations that MPD discriminated against her
by failing to promote her to Investigator. See Jones
Opp'n at 22 n.6 [Dkt. 96].
Ms. Weeks was promoted to Investigator in October 2008, she
ceased to work as a patrol officer. Instead, Ms. Weeks began
to work in the 7D Detectives' Office as an Investigator.
See MPD Investigator Selection for Criminal
Investigations Division (Oct. 23, 2008) [Dkt. 95-2]. Ms.
Weeks alleges that she continued to suffer a hostile work
environment despite the change in work location and
supervisors. She alleges that she was given less desirable
assignments than those assigned to male colleagues, arrest
warrants she initiated were given to male colleagues for
closure, and her cases were reassigned to male detectives.
See Weeks Handwritten Notes [Dkt. 95-3] at 1-2. She
complains that a superior asked her if she was
“timid” and that she was “ridiculed”
once when she requested training. Weeks Dep. at 259, 227. Ms.
Weeks also complains that her supervisor, Sgt. Avis King,
verbally counseled her for contacting a friend working in
MPD's Homicide unit for help on a case and that Sgt. King
then sent an email to all 7D detectives to condemn the
practice of “going outside of this unit crying about
not receiving assistance with cases” without following
proper protocol, a practice Sgt. King called
“cancerous.” Avis King Email (Dec. 9, 2008) [Dkt.
95-4]. Later in December 2008, Ms. Weeks requested an hour of
leave to attend a funeral service for a fallen police
officer, but was denied leave by Sgt. King because there was
a mandatory meeting. See Weeks Handwritten Notes at
2. Ms. Weeks complains that another sergeant counseled her
for requesting leave. Id.
Ms. Weeks alleges that, in February 2009 in the 7D
Detectives' Office, she opened one of her desk drawers to
find an unwrapped tampon, which she believes had been placed
there to harass her. See Weeks Dep. at 249-51. Ms.
Weeks reported the incident to her supervisors, and she
complains that they did not initiate an investigation to
identify the person who placed the tampon in the drawer.
See Weeks Dep. at 249-51. The District maintains
that the tampon incident is immaterial because Ms. Weeks
fails to link it to “any supervisor action or
inaction.” See Def.'s Undisputed ¶
Weeks was promoted to Detective in October 2009 and
transferred out of 7D in December 2009. See Weeks
Transfer Email [Dkt. 95-9].
Plaintiffs' MPD and D.C. Administrative
D.C. regulations, an employee is entitled to a final
interview with her EEO counselor, at which the employee must
be given an “Exit Letter” informing her of the
disposition of her EEO charge and of her right to file a
complaint with the Director of the D.C. Office of Human
Rights (OHR) within 15 days. See D.C. Mun. Regs.
tit. 4 § 105.5-105.6. At her request, Ms. Weeks received
such an Exit Letter on December 14, 2007; the document warned
her that she had 15 days to file a complaint with OHR if she
wished to pursue her charges. See Weeks Exit Letter
[Dkt. 64-19]; see also Def.'s Undisputed ¶
158. Despite the warning in the Exit Letter, Ms. Weeks waited
until March 31, 2008, to file a complaint of discrimination
with OHR alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Weeks OHR Complaint (Mar. 31, 2008). Ms. Jones did not ask
for an Exit Letter and did not receive one until March 31,
2008. Jones Exit Letter [Dkt. 64-20]. Unlike Ms. Weeks, Ms.
Jones promptly filed a sexual orientation-based complaint
with OHR on the same day. See Jones OHR Complaint
(Mar. 31, 2008), Jones OHR File at 1-2.
December 23, 2008, Plaintiffs' counsel sent letters to
MPD stating that both Plaintiffs wanted to amend their
initial OHR Complaints to include gender discrimination,
sexual harassment, and reprisal, but the letters did not
include any sworn statements or charges from Plaintiffs
themselves, and were, therefore, ineffective for the purpose.
See Jones OHR File at 20; Weeks OHR File at 20. On
April 1, 2009, Plaintiffs' counsel sent an email to OHR,
attaching statements from Ms. Jones and Ms. Weeks in which
they alleged discrimination on the basis of gender in
addition to their earlier claims. See Juliette
Niehuss Email (Apr. 1, 2009) [Dkt. 90-22]. The date on the
signature line of each of Plaintiffs' amended OHR
complaints is April 20, 2009, see Weeks OHR
Complaint (Apr. 20, 2009), Weeks OHR File at 4; Jones OHR
Complaint (Apr. 20, 2009), Jones OHR File at 12, and the
District concedes that April 1, 2009, the date of the email
with Plaintiffs' statements attached, is the formal
filing date of the amendments. See, e.g., Mot. at 27
(“Plaintiff [Jones] did not file her EEOC complaint
until April 1, 2009.”); see also Id. (citing
the April 1, 2009 email as the record citation for Ms.
Jones's filing of her amended OHR complaint). The
complaints were cross-filed with the Washington Field Office
of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as
charges of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
Jones alleges that, several months later, Sgt. Levenberry
emailed OHR investigators to tell them that Ms. Jones
threatened EEO complaints whenever she did not get her way;
Ms. Jones argues that Sgt. Levenberry sent these emails in
retaliation for Ms. Jones having mentioned him in her OHR
complaint. See Levenberry OHR Emails [Dkt. 95-7].
Sgt. Levenberry has testified that he was merely answering
questions from OHR investigators concerning an EEO charge
filed by Ms. Jones against him. See Levenberry Dep.
Procedural History of the ...