The opinion of the court was delivered by: TERRENCE F. McVERRY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT
Presently before the Court for disposition is the MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT, with brief in support, filed by Defendants
Triangle Circuits of Pittsburgh, Inc. and The Millennia Group,
Inc., t/d/b/a Triangle Circuits of Pittsburgh (collectively
hereinafter referred to as "Triangle Circuits") (Document Nos.
10 and 11, respectively), and Plaintiff's brief in opposition
(Document No. 16). After careful consideration of Defendants'
motion, the filings in support and opposition thereto, the
memoranda of the parties, the relevant case law, and the record
as a whole, the Court finds that there is not sufficient record
evidence upon which a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
Plaintiff, Lisa A. Valenti, on her claims of discrimination due
to her sex. Therefore, the Court will grant the motion for
summary judgment of Defendants Triangle Circuits of Pittsburgh,
Inc. and The Millennia Group, Inc., t/d/b/a Triangle Circuits of
Pittsburgh, Inc. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff filed this civil rights action on May 23, 2003, in
which she alleges that sexually harassing conduct by her
"supervisors" and co-workers was of such severity that she was
forced to resign, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), and the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 42 P.S. § 951, et seq.
("PHRA"). Defendants have filed the instant motion for summary
judgment, in which they contend that Plaintiff is unable to
establish a prima facie case on either her Title VII and/or
The facts relevant to this discussion, and viewed in the light
most favorable to Plaintiff, are as follows. Plaintiff was an
employee with Triangle Circuits from October 1995 until March 7,
2002, and worked at all times as a laborer in the Image
Department. At the time she commenced her employment, she was
provided with a Triangle Circuits' "Employee Handbook" ("Employee
Handbook I"). In 1999, the Employee Handbook was revised and the
revised edition was in effect at the time Plaintiff's employment
with Triangle Circuits terminated in 2002. ("Employee Handbook
II"). Employee Handbook I and II contain the following identical
Sexual Harassment Policy:
Harassment on the basis of sex is illegal and will
not be tolerated at Triangle Circuits. Unwelcome
sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors and
other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
constitute sexual harassment when: Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or
implicitly a term or condition of an individual's
Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used
for the basis of employment decisions; or
Such conduct unreasonably interferes with an
individual's work performance or creates an
intimidating, hostile or offensive working
Any sexual harassment should be promptly reported to
your supervisor, your supervisor's manager
(supervisor), Human Resources or any other level of
management up to and including the President of the
Company. Claims of sexual harassment will be promptly
investigated and corrective action will be taken as
warranted. To the extent possible, such claims will
be kept confidential and the privacy of the
individuals involved will be respected.
Sexual harassment is extremely serious misconduct
which will result in disciplinary action up to and
Defs' Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., Exhibit F, Sexual
Harassment Policy. During her deposition, Plaintiff admitted to
"skimming" through the Employee Handbook soon after being hired
and stated that "I knew there was something in the book about
[sexual harassment], but I don't remember recalling reading it."
See Valenti Depo. at 20, 36.
Plaintiff contends that the allegedly harassing conduct began
approximately four months before her employment terminated, in
approximately November 2001 at the time Dan Laux ("Laux") became
the Group Leader of the employees in the Image Department. Both
Plaintiff and Laux had applied for the Group Leader position; but
by Plaintiff's own admission, Laux was considerably more
experienced and was appointed to the Group Leader position
instead of Plaintiff.
The responsibilities of the Group Leader do not involve
supervisory responsibilities, but rather include making sure that
all jobs are completed and that all employees within the Image Department are working. The Group Leader does not decide
employee shifts or schedules, and does not evaluate employee
performance or make any decisions with regard to personnel or
salary. See Skelley Depo., at 76.
Plaintiff's last day of employment with Triangle Circuits was
March 7, 2002. Prior to this date, Plaintiff had made
arrangements with her immediate supervisor, John Macura
("Macura"), that on March 7, 2002, she would be allowed to arrive
at work one-half hour earlier than the beginning of her shift so
that she could leave one-half hour before the end of her shift.
Macura advised her that she would be permitted to leave work
early as long as there were no "hot" (i.e., emergency) jobs to
complete prior to her normal shift change.
On March 7, 2002, at 4:00 p.m., which was one-half hour before
the end of Plaintiff's shift, there was a "hot" job that needed
to be finished. Plaintiff began to "rant and rave" at Laux and
punched out at 4:01 p.m., before the end of her shift and before
finishing the "hot" job.
At approximately 4:20 p.m. that day, Plaintiff called Susan
Skelley, Human Resources Manager for Triangle Circuits, and
reported that "Dan was `yelling and screaming' at her for leaving
early" and that she had "never been treated so badly or mean in
[her] life by anyone. . . ." Def's Br. in Support of Mot. for
Summ. J., Exhibit J.
Later that evening, at 8:28 P.M., Plaintiff called the "call
off extension" at Triangle Circuits and left a message that she
was calling off work for Friday, March 8, 2002.
On Friday, March 8, Plaintiff again called Skelley and, for the
first time, reported that she had been sexually harassed in her
department. Plaintiff told Skelley that she had proof of the harassment as she had been recording everything in a
notebook. Skelley told Plaintiff that she would call her back
after Skelley had had an opportunity to investigate the matter.
Sometime before lunch, Skelley called Plaintiff and left a
message on her answering machine at home, in which she asked that
Plaintiff return her call because she needed to talk to her.
Plaintiff did not call back. Later in the day, Skelley again
called Plaintiff and left another message in which she asked
Plaintiff "to come in on Monday (March 11) at 8:00 A.M. so we can
talk about this situation in more detail and bring in the
documentation that you have." Id.
Plaintiff did not report to work on March 11, 2002, but rather
again called the "call off extension" at 6:43 A.M. on the morning
of March 11th and reported that she was taking a vacation day.
Skelley again attempted to reach Plaintiff at home, but to no
avail. Skelly left a message on Plaintiff's answering machine
stating that "we need to talk ...