The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley
Before the court for disposition is the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ("PennDOT"), Charles DeFebo, Erin Soden and Robert Collins. The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.
The facts in the instant case are largely uncontested. The parties do, however, dispute the interpretation of those facts and whether the facts can support the causes of action asserted by the plaintiffs.*fn1
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation employs both Plaintiff Donna DeGroat and Plaintiff Gary Clark at its Pike County Maintenance Office. DeGroat is the purchasing agent for the office and Clark is a transportation equipment officer. DeGroat and Clark have been in a relationship for more than fifteen years and are engaged to be married.
In August of 2005, a summer college intern for the Pike County Maintenance Office alleged sexual harassment against Defendant Robert Collins, the manager of the Pike County Maintenance Office. Plaintiff DeGroat confronted Collins about a comment he had made to the intern and assisted the intern in reporting the harassment.
Also in August of 2005, DeGroat, along with Clark and a third person, drafted a letter to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania complaining of Defendant Collins' mismanagement and the condition of the roads in Pike County. The three faxed a draft of the letter to the Lieutenant Governor's office on August 19, 2005, and mailed the final version on September 6, 2005.
Shortly, thereafter, Plaintiff DeGroat alleges that Collins and Defendant Charles DeFebo, the Pike County Roadway Programs Coordinator, began a series of acts that amounted to workplace harassment.*fn2 The acts included, inter alia, writing DeGroat up as late for work, when in fact she was not late; moving her desk to an undesirable position next to the men's room; denying a request for annual leave; removing papers from her desk; and overzealously reviewing her work.
During this time period, Plaintiff DeGroat filed an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint against Defendant Collins. She filed this complaint internally with PennDOT. She alleged discriminatory and disparate treatment based on her gender. Eventually, Collins filed a disciplinary complaint against Plaintiff DeGroat involving purchasing procedures.
The plaintiffs' complaint and DeGroat's declaration set forth many more instances of alleged workplace harassment. In her complaint, she alleges that the defendants engaged in this conduct in retaliation for her support of the intern's sexual harassment complaint, her letter to the Governor's office and her EEO complaint. She also complains that the actions were taken due to her gender. As noted above, Plaintiff Clark also took part in the correspondence that was sent to the Governor's office. Clark asserts that the defendants also took action against him in retaliation for writing the letter.
Federal claims in the complaint include a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("section 1983") for retaliation against the plaintiffs for exercise of their First Amendment rights. Plaintiff DeGroat also has a gender discrimination in employment cause of action based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)(5) et seq. ("Title VII"). The complaint also asserts several state law tort claims.*fn3 At the close of discovery defendants moved for summary judgment, bringing the case to its present posture.
As this case is brought pursuant to Title VII and section 1983, we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws,or treaties of the United States."). We have supplemental ...