United States District Court, District of Columbia
SAUNDRA M. MCNAIR, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
P. Mehta United States District Judge.
a former Administrative Law Judge for Defendant District of
Columbia, was terminated from her job in 2013. According to
Defendant, the termination occurred because Plaintiff missed
90 minutes of work daily for over a year after Defendant
denied her request to keep an alternate work schedule that
would have allowed her to arrive and leave 90 minutes early.
her firing, Plaintiff brought a litany of claims against
Defendant. Many of her claims did not survive the
motion-to-dismiss stage, but seven proceeded to discovery and
now are the subject of Defendant's motion for summary
judgment. Those claims include the failure to allow her to
work an alternate work schedule in violation of (1) the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for failure to
reasonably accommodate, and in violation of (2) Title VII and
(3) the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA) for
race discrimination. Plaintiff also claims that Defendant
violated (4) the ADA and (5) the DCHRA when it retaliated
against her for making a reasonable accommodation request and
discriminated against her for her disability by firing her.
Plaintiff further asserts that her termination violated (6)
the District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act,
because she made two purported protected disclosures that led
to her termination. And, finally, Plaintiff avers that
Defendant compensated her below the minimum wage in violation
of (7) the Fair Labor Standards Act.
reasons explained below, the court grants summary judgment in
favor of Defendant as to all of Plaintiff's claims,
except for the denial of reasonable accommodation under the
ADA. As to that claim, the court finds that Plaintiff has
made out a prima facie case and may present her case to a
District of Columbia Department of Employment Services hired
Plaintiff as an Administrative Law Judge in March 2009.
See Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 72
[hereinafter Def.'s Mot.]; Def.'s Stmt. of Material
Facts in Support of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 72
[hereinafter Def.'s Stmt. of Facts], ¶ 1. In
February 2010, Plaintiff's supervisor notified her that
her “tour of duty” would be 8:00 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. Id. ¶ 2. Plaintiff submitted a request for
accommodation on April 16, 2010, specifically, to work from
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and to telecommute as needed, see
Id. ¶ 3, due to conditions such as lupus,
“failed back surgery syndrome, ” and a lumbar
disc disorder, see Def.'s Mot., Exs. 2, 3, ECF
Nos. 72-2, 72-3. Defendant sought additional documentation
from Plaintiff less than a week later, but Plaintiff never
submitted the requested information. See Def.'s
Stmt. of Facts ¶ 4. Ultimately, Defendant never resolved
Plaintiff's request, because soon after she made it,
Plaintiff was away from the office from July 2010 to April
2012. See Id. ¶ 5.
her return, on April 30, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a request
to participate in Defendant's Alternate Work Schedule
program, which would allow her to work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30
p.m. See Id. ¶ 9. Defendant denied the request
in November 2012. Id. Despite the denial, Plaintiff
continued to work each day from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Id. ¶ 10.
November 2012, Plaintiff's supervisor, Chief Judge George
Crawford, notified her that her “tour of duty”
had changed to 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. See Id. ¶
11. Crawford also warned Plaintiff that she would be treated
as Absent Without Leave (“AWOL”) if she did not
comply with those work hours. See Id.
Notwithstanding the warning, Plaintiff continued to work from
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. See Id. ¶ 10.
December 4, 2012, Plaintiff left a letter from her physician,
Dr. John Byrne, on Chief Judge Crawford's chair. See
Id. ¶ 12. Dr. Byrne noted that Plaintiff was
“under his care for a disability of her knees”
and recommended that her employer allow Plaintiff to work
from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to avoid rush hour traffic.
See id.; see also Def.'s Mot.; Ex. 10,
ECF No. 72-10 [hereinafter Physician Letter]. The record does
not indicate what action, if any, Chief Judge Crawford took
with respect to this request for an alternate work schedule.
Chief Judge Crawford stopped working at the Department of
Employment Services shortly after December 4, 2012.
See Def.'s Stmt. of Facts ¶ 12.
months later, on August 14, 2013, Defendant issued Plaintiff
an Advance Written Notice of Proposed Removal, which proposed
to terminate Plaintiff for cause based on her having accrued
194.5 AWOL hours and for insubordination. See Id.
¶ 14; Def.'s Mot.; Ex. 6, ECF No. 72-6. Defendant
terminated Plaintiff on October 18, 2013, for the
accumulation of AWOL hours and insubordination. See
Def.'s Stmt. of Facts ¶ 15; Def.'s Mot.; Ex. 7,
ECF No. 72-7, at 3.
her employment from November 2012 to July 2013-the period in
which Defendant counted AWOL hours-Plaintiff earned either
$40.17 per hour or $41.37 per hour. See Def.'s
Stmt. of Facts ¶¶ 17-18; Def.'s Mot; Ex. 8, ECF
No. 72-8, ¶¶ 2-3.
filed this action on May 13, 2015. See Compl., ECF
No. 1. On January 1, 2016, she filed an Amended Complaint,
containing a myriad of claims against the District of
Columbia, the Department of Employment Services, and three
individuals employed by the District of Columbia.
See Am. Comp., ECF No. 12. In a series of opinions,
the court dismissed many claims and parties from the action.
See Mem. Op., ECF No. 35; see also Mem.
Op., ECF No. 45; see also Mem. Op., ECF No. 69. What
remains are the following claims against the sole remaining
Defendant, the District of Columbia: (1) failure to
accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”); (2) retaliation and disability
discrimination under the ADA and the District of Columbia
Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”); (3) race
discrimination under Title VII and the DCHRA; (4) failure to
compensate under the Fair Labor Standards Act; and (7)
retaliation under the District of Columbia Whistleblower
moved for summary judgment on all remaining claims on July
13, 2018. See Def.'s Mot. Plaintiff filed
an Opposition on August 27, 2018. See Pl.'s
Response about Mot., ECF No. 75 [hereinafter Pl.'s
Resp.]. Defendant replied on October 3, 2018. See
Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 76.