C. Recovery under PHRA for retaliatory discharge
Plaintiff's claim for retaliatory discharge under the PHRA,
43 P.S. § 955(d),*fn6 fails for the same reasons as her claims
under Title VII. Discrimination claims filed under the PHRA are
considered in accordance with the analytical framework
established by the United States Supreme Court in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d
668 (1973) and subsequently refined in Burdine, supra. See:
Allegheny Housing Rehabilitation Corp. v. Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission, 516 Pa. 124, 129, 532 A.2d 315, 318-319
(1987) (alleged racial discrimination)*fn7; General Electric
Corp. v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 469 Pa. 292,
365 A.2d 649 (1976) (plurality decision).
D. Hostile environment claim
Plaintiff also seeks to recover under a hostile environment
theory. The Third Circuit recently reiterated the elements
necessary to make out a claim of this type. The plaintiff must
show that (1) employees suffered intentional discrimination
because of their sex; (2) the discrimination was pervasive and
regular; (3) the discrimination detrimentally affected the
plaintiff; (4) the discrimination would detrimentally affect a
reasonable person of the same sex in that position; and (5) the
existence of respondeat superior liability. Drinkwater v. Union
Carbide Corp., 904 F.2d 853, 860 (3d Cir. 1990), (citing
Andrews v. City of Philadelphia, 895 F.2d 1469, 1482 (3d Cir.
1990). Garvey has not demonstrated the existence of these
elements to a degree sufficient to establish a prima facie
Plaintiff's hostile environment claim is not supported by the
evidence. Although Garvey concedes that Peck did not make any
suggestive remarks to her, personally, after January, 1986, she
alleges that he continued a campaign of harassment against her
throughout the 1986-87 school year. She attributes this
campaign to hostility generated by her role in exposing his
inappropriate behavior towards her and other female staff
members and students. Specifically, she alleges that Peck
interfered with her courses, excluded her from the departmental
decision-making process, and used divisive tactics to curry
favor for himself among other members of the department and to
alienate her from colleagues.
Garvey has failed to prove that the allegedly hostile
environment created by Peck's reported indiscretions had an
adverse affect on her employment. Further, there is evidence
that, to the extent that relationships within the department
were strained during the 1986-87 school year, Garvey herself
contributed to this situation by refusing to make a sincere
effort to work harmoniously with her colleagues and put her
personal feelings aside for the good of the department.
E. Continuing violation theory
Defendants argue that the statute of limitations bars
plaintiff from recovering for any of the four acts of
harassment perpetrated against her personally because they did
not occur within 180 days of the date she filed charges with
the PHRC as is required by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e) and 43
P.S. § 959(g).*fn8 Trevino-Barton v. Pittsburgh National Bank,
919 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1990). Timely filing of an action is
a pre-requisite to pursuing a Title VII claim. United Air Lines
v. Evans, 431 U.S. 553, 97 S.Ct. 1885, 52 L.Ed.2d 571 (1977).
Plaintiff argues that the "continuing violation" theory
allows her to recover for these incidents even though it is
clear that she did not file an action until after expiration of
the statute of limitations on those incidents.
This theory allows a plaintiff to pursue a Title VII claim
for discriminatory conduct which began outside the limitations
period if she can demonstrate that the conduct alleged is part
of an on-going practice or pattern of discrimination effected
by the employer. Bronze Shields, Inc. v. New Jersey Department
of Civil Service, 667 F.2d 1074, 1080-84 (3d Cir. 1981), cert.
denied, 458 U.S. 1122, 102 S.Ct. 3510, 73 L.Ed.2d 1384 (1982).
To rely on this theory, the plaintiff must prove that a
violation occurred within the limitations period and that such
violation is "reasonably related" to prior discriminatory acts
alleged. Jewett v. International Telephone and Telegraph Corp.,
653 F.2d 89, 91-93 (3d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 969,
102 S.Ct. 515, 70 L.Ed.2d 386 (1981). Isolated or sporadic
incidents of discrimination, even if intentional, are not
sufficient to establish the requisite pattern. Jewett, supra,
653 F.2d at 91-93. She must also show that the continuing
harassment was sustained and consisted of more than incidents
of a trivial nature. Moylan v. Maries County, 792 F.2d 746,
749-50 (8th Cir. 1986). Nor is it sufficient to show only that
Garvey suffered a loss within the limitations period as a
result of prior discriminatory acts. Delaware State College v.
Ricks, 449 U.S. 250, 256-57, 101 S.Ct. 498, 503-04, 66 L.Ed.2d
Garvey has failed to establish facts sufficient to support
her continuing violation theory. She has shown no nexus between
these alleged incidents of harassment and any subsequent
conduct that constituted a continuing violation. Nor has she
proven a practice or pattern of harassment perpetrated against
her by Peck. She has proven only the occurrence of four
isolated incidents, which did not recur after January, 1986.
This is not sufficient, and claims for the alleged incidents of
sexual harassment perpetrated against Garvey by Peck are
therefore barred as untimely.*fn9 See: Moylan v. Maries
County, 792 F.2d 746 (8th Cir. 1986), (A "single incident or
isolated incident generally will not be sufficient." The
plaintiff must show "a pattern or practice of harassment.") and
Cuffy v. Getty Refining & Marketing Co., 648 F. Supp. 802,
809-10 (D.Del. 1986), (District court rejected application of
the continuing violation theory, basing its ruling in part on
the absence of any "intrinsic connection" between the events
demonstrating a pattern of discrimination.) Cf. West v. First
Pennsylvania Bank, N.A., Civil No. 89-437
slip op. at 6 (E.D.Pa. July 25, 1990), (available on Westlaw at
1990 WL 106858), (Plaintiff had sufficiently shown a series of
acts of racial and/or gender-based discrimination that were
part of a pattern by pointing to proof that she had been
excluded from a training program, denied a salary adjustment in
conjunction with promotion, given low performance ratings,
harassed and subjected to retaliation for complaining about
these incidents.) and Porta v. Rollins Environmental Services,
654 F. Supp. 1275, 1281 (D.N.J. 1987), aff'd without opinion,
845 F.2d 1014 (3d Cir. 1988).
IV. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Based on the applicable law and the facts before us, we reach
the following conclusions of law:
1. This Court has jurisdiction over Garvey's Title VII claim
(Count I), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
2. This Court has jurisdiction over Garvey's Pennsylvania
Human Relations Act claim (Count III) as a pendent claim
arising out of the same set of operative facts as Count I.
3. Venue in this district is proper, since Garvey was a
resident of the Middle District of Pennsylvania when the cause
of action arose. She was also employed in this district, and
the cause of action arose here. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3) and
28 U.S.C. § 1391(c).
4. Garvey was an employee of Dickinson College within the
meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(f) and 43 P.S. § 954(c).
5. Dickinson College was an employer of Garvey within the
meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b) and 43 P.S. § 954(b).
6. Garvey has satisfied all statutory prerequisites for
bringing this action.
7. Garvey's charges with the PHRC were filed within 180 days
of notification that her teaching contract would not be
8. Garvey commenced this action within 90 days of issuance of
the "right to sue letter".
9. Dickinson did not discriminate against Garvey in
retaliation for reporting alleged incidents of sexual
harassment by Peck.
10. Garvey has not made out a prima facie case of
discrimination, because she has not established a causal
connection between her discharge and her reporting alleged
sexual harassment by Peck to the administration. There are no
proven facts which establish a causal connection between the
11. Additionally, the college has established legitimate
non-discriminatory reasons for her discharge: her inadequate
performance as a teacher and a director and her inability to
work as a "team player", and that these reasons were the sole
motivation for her discharge.
12. Garvey cannot recover for any of the four alleged
incidents of harassment perpetrated by Peck against her
personally because the statute of limitations on those claims
expired before she filed a complaint, and because, contrary to
her contention, the continuing violation theory does not apply.
13. Garvey has not established a sufficient link between the
incidents to prove a continuing violation.
14. Plaintiff has not established the necessary elements for
a hostile environment claim.
15. The hostile environment claim is barred by the statute of
16. Defendants are entitled to recover filing costs.