Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. Center

March 11, 2009

BARBARA A. JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
POLK CENTER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J., J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The Plaintiff, Barbara A. Jones ("Plaintiff"), who is preceding pro se, filed suit on or about August 1, 2007, against Polk Center ("Defendant"), alleging that she was discriminated against by the Defendant on the basis of her race and sex, and was subjected to a hostile environment. Presently pending before the Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was hired by Defendant on July 19, 2004 as a Psychological Services Associate. Def. Ex. A. Plaintiff was informed that this was a probationary appointment and she would be granted regular Civil Service status if her performance was acceptable at the conclusion of the probationary period. Def. Ex. A. Approximately six months later, an interim performance evaluation was conducted by Plaintiff's supervisor, Sheridan C. Kirkpatrick ("Kirkpatrick"), on January 4, 2005. Def. Ex. B. Plaintiff received an overall "Unsatisfactory"*fn1 rating by Kirkpatrick, who included the following comments on the evaluation form:

Barbara has only recently begun to ask questions and seek clarification regarding work requirements. She has demonstrated a lack of attention to details that are necessary for the successful completion of her assignments. Examples are dosage amounts, schedule dates, consult lists, approval dates and plan type or format. She repeated errors after having been advised of the correction needed. Barbara has difficulty focusing on needed areas of improvement and/or constructive criticism due to competing personal or health problems. Your services as a Psychological Services Associate trainee have not been satisfactory.

Def. Ex. B. Plaintiff was informed that (1) her probationary period was extended 90 days; (2) there would be a written work plan outlining deficient areas; (3) she was to schedule and attend a meeting for direct supervision and feedback at least once a week; (4) she was to develop and carry out an effective plan for dividing her time between two units; and (5) she had to attain a satisfactory or better rating in all areas during the next probationary period in order to attain regular Civil Service status. Def. Ex. B. Attached to Plaintiff's evaluation was a ten-step work plan Plaintiff was to adhere to on a weekly basis. Def. Ex. B.

Subsequent to her performance evaluation, Plaintiff received a letter dated January 5, 2005 notifying her that her probationary period was extended from six (6) months to nine (9) months for failing to meet acceptable performance standards. Def. Ex. C. Plaintiff was informed that during this extension of her probation, she had to reach and sustain the minimum acceptable standards and that her failure to do so could result in her dismissal. Def. Ex. C.

Dissatisfied with Kirkpatrick's review of her, Plaintiff requested the opportunity to discuss her review with Joseph Tatarek ("Tatarek"), the Director of Program Services. Def. Ex. B; Def. Ex. D. Plaintiff met with Tatarek on January 5, 2005 and claimed that her performance evaluation was "unfair" but did not provide any information to support her comments. Def. Ex.

D. She did acknowledge however, that she fully understood both her job description and performance standards, as well as the work plan developed by Kirkpatrick to address her performance deficiencies. Def. Ex. D. Plaintiff was given a second opportunity on February 7, 2005 to substantiate her claim that Kirkpatrick's rating was incorrect. Def. Ex. E. Tatarek concluded that a change in Plaintiff's rating was not warranted based upon the information provided by Plaintiff and made sure she understood the work plan that was initiated to address her performance deficiencies. Def. Ex. E.

Plaintiff's performance evaluation for the period January 5, 2005 through April 14, 2005 again revealed an "Unsatisfactory" overall rating. Def. Ex. G. Kirkpatrick stated:

Direct observation and feedback from others is that Barbara has demonstrated a lack of attention to details necessary for the successful completion of her duties. She has only recently begun to make necessary improvements in her involvement in psychiatric consults and this required a great deal of direct observation and specific feedback. This has also resulted in a hostile work relationship with her immediate supervisor and her attempts to focus attention off of herself and onto others by shifting blame. I have continued to receive concerns/complaints from other professionals regarding Barbara's poor work habits. Concerns have centered around time issues, poor attitude, poor professional appearance and lack of follow through by her. ... I have encountered diversion, hostility, blaming and attacks on my professionalism when I have attempted to address these concerns with her directly. Barbara's services as a Psychology Services Associate have not been satisfactory.

Def. Ex. G. Plaintiff verbally disagreed with the rating and refused to sign the form. Def. Ex. G.

On April 14, 2005, Plaintiff received an oral reprimand for violation of DPW Policy 7174, Unsatisfactory Work Performance, in that she did not meet the expectations of a Psychology Services Associate. Def. Ex. F. She was informed by Kirkpatrick that acts of the same or similar nature would lead to progressive disciplinary action up to and including her removal. Def. Ex. F. She was further informed that her probationary period was extended until July 13, 2005. Def. Ex. H.

Approximately one year after being hired by Defendant, Plaintiff was granted Civil Service status effective July 14, 2005 and received the only "Satisfactory"*fn2 performance rating during her tenure. Def. Ex. I. For the period from April 15, 2005 to June 13, 2005, Kirkpatrick stated:

Barbara has approached her work with more of a positive attitude and has been more accepting of criticism both in review committee locations as well as in private supervisory meetings. Barbara has begun calling to discuss work related questions was well as time off issues. This is an improvement over past performance. There have been no reports of problems or complaints from other employees this review. I have received complimentary comments about Barbara's work in Meadowside and we have discussed her changing assignment. Your work as a Psychological ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.