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Collins v. Boyd

January 11, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Smyser

Judge Conner


The pro se plaintiff, Ed Collins, is proceeding in forma pauperis. The amended complaint, filed on January 9, 2009 (doc. 6), was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the case was transferred to this District by an Order of August 17, 2009. (Doc. 17).

The amended complaint sets forth that the plaintiff, an African American, was hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare on April 10, 2006 as a probationary civil service employee, with job title Purchasing Agent II/Supervisor, in the Procurement Bureau of that Department. It is averred that he received a perfect, 100% civil service test score based upon his procurement experience. He was the only African American employed in the Bureau. The amended complaint avers that he performed high quality work in performing his duties.

The defendants named in the amended complaint are Daniel Boyd, Kevin Friel, James Hart, Sallie Rodgers and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ("DPW"). The plaintiff worked directly under defendant Boyd. Defendant Boyd's supervisor was defendant Friel. Defendant Hart held the job of Director of Support Services in the DPW Bureau of Administration. Defendant Rodgers is described in the amended complaint as a white female DPW attorney.

The amended complaint alleges that defendants Boyd, Friel, Hart and Rodgers "were Republicans and/or Conservative loyalists with similar ties and shared political views regarding African Americans in general, African Americans in procurement opportunities in particular who put political loyalty above the law in violation of Civil Service and Pennsylvania law." The amended complaint alleges that the plaintiff was as a consequence of his race and his political views subjected to a hostile work environment in the Department of Public Welfare and that the plaintiff was disciplined for engaging in protected activity.

The plaintiff was hired as a procurement officer in 2006 to fill a job that had previously been held by defendant Boyd. He states in the amended complaint that when he began to work at the job, in a probationary capacity, he was not provided with adequate training, tools or instructions. He states that he expected to enjoy in his position the "friendly courtesies" that were extended to all other Bureau employees, including internet use, cell phone use, flexible and liberal breaks and other courtesies.

The plaintiff attended the meetings of the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. That Commission assists minority businesses in gaining full access to all opportunities afforded to all Commonwealth citizens. In June of 2006, the Commission invited the plaintiff to attend a network meeting. Defendant Boyd required the plaintiff to submit a leave slip to attend the meeting. No other DPW employee was required to submit a leave slip. The plaintiff sought to have the DPW leave policy clarified. He was told that no leave would be charged against his leave balance. Defendant Boyd was annoyed because the plaintiff had sought clarification. It is alleged that at this time the extension of the "friendly courtesies" to him was retracted. In the following month, defendant Boyd, who before the Commission meeting incident had told the plaintiff that his work was outstanding, began to be negatively critical of the work of the plaintiff. Defendant Boyd questioned the plaintiff about the relatedness of the Commission meetings to his DPW duties.

The amended complaint alleges that at a later time the plaintiff was not informed about a New Procurement Initiative meeting to be conducted by defendant Friel, although another bureau employee was informed of it. These events occurred in June and in July of 2006.

The plaintiff's ordinary responsibility to approve leave slips for his subordinate employees was taken over by defendant Boyd.

The amended complaint alleges that on September 19, 2006, defendants Boyd and Friel made false statements to the plaintiff by stating to him, "please advise where you have been this morning and why you failed to call in or notify us of your whereabouts."

The plaintiff complained in September of 2006 to defendants Boyd and Friel and to the Secretary of Public Welfare, Estelle Richman, about harassment of the plaintiff by Boyd, about Boyd's political views concerning women and minorities and procurement, training, abuse of power, computer tampering, leave request tampering, and about trying to make the plaintiff look bad. At the end of September the plaintiff received an "unsatisfactory" employee performance rating and was denied civil service status by defendant Boyd.

In October of 2006, a training opportunity was offered to a white female staff member and not to the plaintiff although the plaintiff had requested the opportunity. In October, defendant Boyd told the plaintiff a "racist story" and said to the plaintiff, "Ed... all of us are racists." The plaintiff complained to defendants Friel and Boyd and to Secretary Richman "about race, black, cultural competence, minority businesses and procurement in the Commonwealth and plaintiff's employee performance review." The plaintiff's probation was extended by six months to April of 2007.

The amended complaint states that in October and November of 2006, defendants Boyd and Friel were involved with the plaintiff in communications about missing or lost procurement documents, leading to an irate admission of error made by defendant Boyd. On November 20, 2006, the plaintiff was suspended, without explanation, without pay and without a hearing. He was terminated, without a hearing, on December 28, 2006. In a subsequent Civil ...

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