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CRUMPTON v. POTTER

February 25, 2004.

STANLEY BOMANI CRUMPTON, Plaintiff
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANITA BRODY, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Stanley B. Crumpton ("Crumpton") brings this employment discrimination action against defendant John E. Potter, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service ("Postal Service"), alleging that the Postal Service engaged in discrimination on the basis of race when he was disciplined for leaving mail unattended overnight on the post office platform. In addition, Crumpton alleges that he was subject to unlawful retaliation for having filed administrative complaints of discrimination*fn1 and harassment.*fn2

Crumpton's pro se complaint, liberally construed, asserts the following three causes of action: (1) race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Page 2 42 U.S.C. § 2000e;*fn3 (2) retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); (3) harassment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.*fn4

  Presently before this court is defendant's motion for summary judgment on all counts. For the reasons that follow, defendant's motion is granted.

 A. Background*fn5

  Plaintiff Stanley Crumpton ("Crumpton"), an African American male, has been employed as a mail carrier for the United States Post Office for seventeen years. (Crumpton Dep. at 8.) During all times relevant to this action, Crumpton was employed at the Schuykill Station, located Page 3 at 2900 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Id.) On June 19, 2001, an unknown number of parcels were left on the outside platform of the Grays Ferry Avenue Schuykill Station in an "all-purpose container," or APC. (Def Mot. Summ. J. at 3; White Dep. at 9.) By the time the unattended parcels were discovered on the morning of June 20, 2001, the parcels had been vandalized.

  Shortly after the parcels were discovered on the morning of June 20, 2001, Supervisor Rachel White ("White") identified the unattended parcels as belonging to Crumpton's mail route. (White Dep. at 13.) When Crumpton arrived for work on June 20, he was informed that he had left mail parcels on the platform. (Crumpton Dep. at 12.) Crumpton admits that he is responsible for ensuring that his mail is not left on the platform (Id. at 14.) It is, however, also the responsibility of the closing supervisor to ensure that no mail has been left on the platform at closing time.*fn6 Bridget Bohannan ("Bohannan"), a white female, was the closing supervisor on duty the night of June 19, 2001. According to Ashe, Bohannan was still in training as a closing supervisor on June 19, 2001. (Ashe Dep. At 18-19.) Although Crumpton avers that Bohannan was no longer in training at the time of the platform incident, he offers no support for this assertion. (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 5.)

  According to Crumpton, after he was confronted with the fact that he had left parcels on Page 4 the platform, the Station Manager, Dan Ashe ("Ashe"), told Crumpton to go back to work. (Id. at 13-14.) Crumpton had begun loading his truck when he was approached by both Ashe and White and told to accompany them to a meeting in the office. (Id. at 14.) At he meeting Ashe told Crumpton that as a result of his leaving mail on the platform, the "agency" had taken the position that Crumpton should be placed "off the clock" for forty-five days. (Id. at 15.) To be taken "off the clock" is to be suspended without pay. (Id.) According to Crumpton, the "agency" refers to Area Manager Dennis Carr ("Carr").

  According to Crumpton, he told Carr, Ashe, and White that he believed that he rolled the parcels inside the building on the night of June 19, 2001.*fn7 (Id. at 13.) Crumpton does not state when or where he communicated this belief to these people. At some point on June 20, 2001, however, Crumpton signed the following statement:
On June 19th, 2001 at approx [sic] 5:15 pm I [,] S.B. Crumpton [,] returned to Schuylkill Post Office from parcel delivery. I backed my vehicle to the loading dock unloaded approx [sic] 8 parcels into APC [all-purpose container] and then proceeded to park and se[c]ure my vehicle for the day. The temperature was hot and humid and I was a bit exhausted from the heat and unintentionally left my notified parcels in the APC on the loading dock.
(Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex.4.) Crumpton has since recanted this confession. In his June 2003 deposition, Crumpton claims that while he was "shocked" and "confused" when he was first told that he had left his parcels outside, he now knows that he rolled them inside. (Crumpton Dep. at 13.) Page 5

  Beginning on June 20, 2001, Crumpton was suspended for forty-five days as result of this incident [hereinafter "platform incident"]. In contrast, Bohannan received a verbal reprimand from Ashe but was not placed "off the clock." (Ashe Dep. at 18.) According to Ashe, because Bohannan was still in training as a night supervisor on the night of June 19, 2001, she was disciplined more leniently than a supervisor in similar circumstances normally would have been. Id. at 18-19.) On July 27, 2001, Crumpton requested pre-complaint counseling with an EEO counselor. Crumpton returned to work on August 3, 2001. (Crumpton Dep. at 28.) On August 20, 2001 he filed a formal EEO complaint regarding the platform incident.

  Because Crumpton's retaliation and harassment claims involve several subsequent incidents, I will discuss the facts applicable to each incident in chronological order.

  A. Threatened Suspension on August 20, 2001

  According to Crumpton, on August 20, 2001, less than one month after he filed an EEO complaint regarding the platform incident, Ashe asked Crumpton to come to his office. (Id. at 29.) Crumpton was accompanied by his shop steward, Anthony Johnson ("Johnson"). (Id.) Crumpton alleges that during the meeting Ashe stated that because Crumpton filed a grievance concerning the platform incident, Ashe was going to see if he could put Crumpton "off the clock" again. (Id.) Crumpton admits, however, that although he felt threatened and harassed by this statement, he was not subsequently "put off the clock." (Id. at 30.)

  B. Request for Temporary Schedule Change on August 28, 2001

  On August 28, 2001, Crumpton requested a temporary schedule change from Supervisor Page 6 Kevin Mahoner ("Mahoner"). (Crumpton Dep. at 31.) As supervisor, Mahoner had the responsibility of approving or disapproving temporary schedule changes. (Mahoner Dep. at 1.) According to Crumpton, Mahoner told Crumpton that he could change his schedule if postal worker Rose Townsend would agree to "switch" with him. (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 6.) Subsequent to Crumpton's conversation with Mahoner, Ashe instructed Mahoner to rescind that offer. (Id.; Mahoner Dep. at 19.) Crumpton alleges that ...


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