The opinion of the court was delivered by: REED
In her second amended complaint, plaintiff Linda LaRose ("LaRose") alleges claims for hostile environment sexual harassment under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 and under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq., and a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Presently before the Court are the motions of defendants Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. ("PNI"), Knight-Ridder Inc. ("Knight-Ridder"),
and Joel Schrager ("Schrager")
for summary judgment on all of LaRose's claims. LaRose continued to by employed by PNI at the time these motions were filed. For the reasons that follow, the motions will be granted.
The following facts are gleaned from the record and taken in the light most favorable to LaRose, the nonmoving party. Immaterial facts and factual averments not properly supported by the record are omitted. The bases for many of LaRose's claims come from her own testimony at her deposition. Because the timing of the events forming the basis of LaRose's allegations is of the essence in determining this motion, the facts are organized accordingly.
A. Events Occurring Before June 15, 1994
LaRose began working for PNI on December 27, 1982 as a masker/copy runner in the Ad-Art department. Schrager was one of her lay-out supervisors.
All of the employees in the Ad-Art department, including LaRose and Schrager, reported to the manager of the department.
At some point shortly after she was hired by PNI, LaRose testified that Patrick McKernan, her production supervisor, asked her to go out for a drink. (LaRose dep. at 45). She testified that McKernan and Lisa Frye, another female employee, went for drinks on four or five occasions in the mid-1980s. (LaRose dep. at 57-59). In 1983 Schrager stood too close to her when he gave practice layouts to her, with his "thigh up the side of her leg and body to body." (Pl.'s Mem. at 4; LaRose dep. at 78). In 1983 Schrager stood too close to her in a projector machine and said in a seductive voice that he was not just going to teach her about layout, he was "going to teach [her] about life." (LaRose dep. at 80-82). In the fall of 1983, LaRose complained to the union shop steward and Walter Costello ("Costello"), the manager of the Ad-Art department at the time, about this advance by Schrager (LaRose dep. at 103-107). The problems with Schrager standing too close to her were most intense from 1983 through 1986, but that they continued though 1996. (LaRose dep. at 882).
On June 1, 1983, shortly after LaRose turned twenty-one years old, Schrager told LaRose that if he knew it was her birthday, he would have taken her out for a drink. (LaRose dep. at 100). At some point in 1983, Schrager told her a dirty joke on the job. (LaRose dep. 169-172).
The most severe allegations made by LaRose occurred in the summer of 1983. LaRose claims that Schrager came up behind her while she was standing in the office and working on a practice layout, groped her breasts, and made grinding, "humping" motions behind her. (LaRose dep. at 126-133). In the week following this event, Costello approached LaRose to ask what was going on between her and Schrager because Schrager wanted her to be fired. (LaRose dep. at 145). Costello told LaRose that Schrager did not want him to promote LaRose. (LaRose dep. at 175). LaRose talked to Costello and the union shop steward about the groping incident and other incidents with Schrager. (LaRose dep. at 147-49). Directly after this meeting with Costello, Schrager called LaRose a "lying bitch" and had to be restrained by others when LaRose was near him. (LaRose dep. at 176-78).
At some time just prior to the groping incident, Schrager told LaRose that "she had a really nice spread" while standing behind her. (LaRose dep. at 151-152). LaRose informed her union representative about this event, and the advice she received was not to file a grievance until she had been promoted so that she would be in a better position to complain. (LaRose dep. at 158-59). In 1984, LaRose filed a grievance with the union about these events. (LaRose dep. at 160).
LaRose alleges that sometime in the mid-1980s Schrager placed on her desk a sexually explicit writing framed like a coupon and "referring to tightly packed eclairs filled to overflowing with thick, hot, juicy, sweet delicious cream oozing down the sides." (Pl.'s Mem. at 13; LaRose dep. at 842-43). Schrager told LaRose that she could cash in the coupon later. (LaRose dep. at 843). She showed the coupon to Costello and to her union shop steward. (LaRose dep. at 847-48).
Despite the problems she had with Schrager, at some point in 1984, LaRose was promoted to apprentice artist. (LaRose dep. at 189, 334).
LaRose claims that Schrager made changes to her work and intentionally left misspellings in her work, while he did not do this to the work of other employees work until after 1989. According to her testimony, this tampering occurred more than five times, the last occurring in the mid-1990s. (Pl.'s Mem. at 11; LaRose dep. at 565-571).
In the mid-1980s, Schrager began following LaRose to the bathroom, the lunch room, and other places in the office. (LaRose dep. 197-198, 201-205). Between 1987 and 1988, Schrager followed her to aerobics class two times a week and also followed her to a talent show meeting in the office. (LaRose dep. at 276-87, 288-90). At some time between 1987 and 1989, Schrager followed her and other female employees to a scenery meeting in the office. Several times Schrager accused her of walking to a distant bathroom so that she could pick up men at work. (LaRose dep. at 198, 206-07).
Another female employee in the department, Carol Estonnell, complained to LaRose in the mid-1980s that Schrager had asked her out, that he watched and seemed angry at her for turning him down, and that she was denied overtime. (LaRose dep. at 728-33). LaRose alleges that Estonnell confirmed this in her deposition testimony, but makes no citation thereto.
LaRose stated that Michelle Pressley Jones also complained to her about Schrager in the mid-1980s. Jones felt that Schrager criticized her work and called her into his office because he was interested in her. (LaRose dep. at 736-38).
In 1986, Schrager changed LaRose's shift to 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., under the pretext that she was being switched to receive more training on her lettering skills. (LaRose dep. at 345). LaRose felt constantly threatened that she would be fired. (LaRose dep. 341-42).
By March of 1986, LaRose consulted counsel regarding her work situation. LaRose's attorney sent a letter to PNI dated March 7, 1986 in which he stated that it was his view "that Ms. LaRose has a clear basis for filing a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." LaRose received a copy of the letter from her attorney. (PNI Ex. D). In 1986, LaRose visited the Pennsylvania Human Relations ...