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Barbara Jordan v. Southeastern Pennsylvania

October 10, 2012

BARBARA JORDAN
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY AND MICHAEL KELLY



MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff in this matter, Barbara Jordan, is an African American former bus operator for Defendant Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ("SEPTA"). Defendant Michael Kelly (collectively with SEPTA, "Defendants") was Ms. Jordan's former supervisor. Jordan brings race and gender discrimination and retaliation claims against the Defendants under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. §§ 951-963 ("PHRA"), race discrimination and retaliation claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and claims for the violation of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1

Presently before the court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 32), Plaintiff's Response in Opposition thereto (Doc. 37), Defendants' Reply (Doc. 46), and both parties' letter briefs in response to the court's request for supplemental briefing (Docs. 48, 50). For the reasons detailed herein, Defendants' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Ms. Jordan, commenced employment with SEPTA as a Bus Operator in 1993. (Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Material Facts In Support of Their Mot. for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Facts") ¶ 1; Pl.'s Resp. and Opp'n to Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Material Facts ("Pl.'s Resp.") ¶ 1.) After an injury in 1999, Ms. Jordan was temporarily reassigned, but she returned to her job as a Bus Operator in April 2006 and was assigned to SEPTA's Southern District. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 2; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 2.) Defendant Michael Kelly was Director of Transportation at the Southern District, and Ms. Jordan's direct supervisor, from 2007 through July 2009. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 3; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 3.) The following actions taken by the Defendants and complaints made by Ms. Jordan make up the substance of Ms. Jordan's claims:

The January 2007 "Pole Dancing" Remark

< in="" january="" 2007,="" while="" standing="" outside="" mr.="" kelly's="" office,="" mr.="" kelly's="" assistant,="" phil="" hufnagle,="" commented="" on="" ms.="" jordan's="" attire.="" when="" ms.="" jordan="" entered="" mr.="" kelly's="" office,="" mr.="" kelly="" stated,="" "the="" next="" time="" phil="" says="" something="" about="" what="" you're="" wearing,="" tell="" him="" that's="" what="" you="" wear="" when="" you="" go="" pole="" dancing."="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 5;="" jordan="" dep.="" 22:1-19,="" may="" 11,="">
Ms. Jordan's September 27, 2007 Complaint < on="" september="" 27,="" 2007,="" ms.="" jordan="" filed="" a="" complaint="" with="" septa's="" equal="" opportunity/affirmative="" action="" ("eeo/aa")="" office.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 4.)="" the="" complaint="" stated="" that="" septa="" employee="" charlotte="" carpenter="" whose="" duties="" included="" arranging="" for="" busses="" to="" leave="" the="" depot="" in="" an="" orderly="" fashion,="" was="" misusing="" her="" authority="" and="" harassing="" ms.="" jordan.="" (id.)="" specifically,="" ms.="" jordan="" complained="" that="" ms.="" carpenter="" "show[ed]="" favoritism="" tow[ard]="" some="" and="" dislike="" towards="" others"="" by="" giving="" newer="" busses="" in="" better="" positions="" in="" the="" depot="" to="" people="" she="" liked,="" including="" someone="" she="" dated.="" (id.)="">< septa's="" manager="" of="" employee="" relations,="" thomas="" comber,="" investigated="" ms.="" jordan's="" complaint="" and="" determined="" that="" the="" complaint="" did="" not="" involve="" discriminatory="" treatment="" or="" harassment.="" (defs.'="" ex.="">

The December 3, 2007 Removal From Service

< on="" november="" 30,="" 2007,="" ms.="" jordan="" blacked="" out="" while="" operating="" a="" bus.="" (jordan="" dep.="" 52:8-53:13.)="" she="" was="" hospitalized="" overnight="" and="" released.="" (id.="" at="" 53:14-55:1.)="">< during="" her="" next="" shift,="" on="" december="" 3,="" 2007,="" her="" supervisor,="" mr.="" kelly,="" removed="" her="" from="" service="" for="" the="" first="" half="" of="" her="" shift.="" (id.="" at="" 55:2-57:24.)="" she="" returned="" to="" work="" for="" the="" second="" half="" of="" her="" shift="" and="" does="" not="" recall="" whether="" her="" pay="" was="" withheld="" for="" the="" time="" she="" was="" out="" of="" service.="" (id.="" at="" 58:1-16.)="">< mr.="" kelly="" testified="" that="" he="" removed="" her="" from="" service="" because="" he="" had="" not="" yet="" been="" informed="" that="" she="" had="" been="" medically="" cleared="" to="" work.="" (kelly="" dep38:17-22,="" may="" 10,="" 2011.)="" he="" wrote="" to="" septa's="" medical="" director="" inquiring="" about="" ms.="" jordan's="" clearance="" for="" work,="" and="" noted="" that="" "[s]he="" has="" called="" every="" office="" we="" have="" to="" file="" her="" harassment="" complaint."="" (pl.'s="" ex.="" 3.)="">< also="" on="" december="" 3,="" 2007,="" ms.="" jordan="" telephoned="" septa's="" eeo/aa="" office="" to="" inquire="" about="" the="" limitations="" period="" on="" filing="" a="" complaint="" of="" sexual="" harassment="" based="" on="" mr.="" kelly's="" january="" 2007="" "pole="" dancing"="" comment.="" (pl.'s="" ex.="" 2.)="" ms.="" jordan="" stated="" that="" she="" felt="" mr.="" kelly="" had="" unfairly="" removed="" her="" from="" service,="" and="" that="" she="" wanted="" to="" file="" a="" complaint="" against="" him="" based="" on="" his="" january="" 2007="" "pole="" dancing"="" remark.="" (id.)="" the="" record="" indicates="" that="" no="" formal="" complaint="" was="" made="" at="" that="">
The July 15, 2008 Request for an Evaluation < on="" july="" 15,="" 2008,="" mr.="" kelly="" wrote="" to="" septa's="" medical="" director="" and="" requested="" that="" ms.="" jordan="" undergo="" an="" evaluation="" for="" fitness="" for="" duty.="" (pl.'s="" ex.="" 5.)="" mr.="" kelly="" explained="" that="" ms.="" jordan="" had="" been="" exhibiting="" "unusual="" behavior"="" and="" that="" "[s]he="" has="" filed="" harassment="" complaints="" about="" several="" of="" her="" co-workers="" .="" .="" .="" and="" has="" even="" disparaged="" the="" character="" of="" the="" managers."="" (id.)="" he="" stated="" that="" "she="" may="" no="" longer="" have="" the="" temperament="" to="" work="" with="" the="" public="" and="" interact="" with="" her="" co-workers"="" and="" requested="" an="" evaluation="" "to="" determine="" her="" fitness="" for="" continuing="" employment="" as="" a="" bus="" operator."="" (id.)="" the="" september="" 12,="" 2008="" incident="" and="" resulting="" october="" 21,="" 2008="" suspension="">< on="" september="" 12,="" 2008,="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" involved="" in="" a="" confrontation="" with="" another="">

Bus Operator, Kimberly Healy. Ms. Jordan had been told that Ms. Healy was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a superior, Fred Melhuish, the Assistant Director at SEPTA's Southern District. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 11-13; Pl.'s Resp. ¶¶ 11-13.) In an effort to "get something on [Mr. Melhuish]" Ms. Jordan had previously taken a photo of him sitting on the bumper of Ms. Healy's car outside of the Southern District Bus Depot. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 12-13; Pl.'s Resp. ¶¶ 12-13; Jordan Dep. 96:8-13, 102:4-13.) Ms. Jordan testified that on September 12, 2008, Ms. Healy approached her while she was sitting in a bus shelter outside of the Southern District talking on her cell phone. (Jordan Dep. 129: 12-15, 133:9.) Ms. Jordan testified that Ms. Healy stated, "I see you have your cell phone. I hope you're not taking my f-ing picture." (Id. at 135:11-13.) Ms. Jordan responded, "I wasn't taking your damn picture, get the hell out of my face." (Id. at 136:2-4.) According to Ms. Jordan, Ms. Healy ended the encounter by saying, "F- you.

Bitch." (Id. at 137:2-6.) < ms.="" jordan="" then="" went="" inside="" the="" bus="" depot="" and="" called="" septa's="" control="" center.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 18;="" pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶="" 18.)="" while="" on="" hold,="" on="" a="" recorded="" line,="" ms.="" jordan="" engaged="" in="" a="" conversation="" with="" a="" co-worker="" during="" which="" she="" made="" the="" following="" comments="" about="" ms.="" healy="" and="" mr.="" melhuish,="" that="" were="" recorded="" by="" septa's="" control="">
"She ain't nothing but a f-in' whore;" "FoleydotFred. Foley was about to leave his wife . . . I'm gonna come up with a name for her, FoleyFreddot;" "Rumors around here swirling that they got something going on;" "This man, has been harassing me, he has been harassing me. [I was advised] You watch how he interacts with this female. And I did. Rumors had it that I had taken a picture of them about three or four months ago;" "The Assistant Superintendent is probably behind this, tellin' her to do this, because of the simple facts that he's been trying to fire me ever since I came back to driving two years ago;" and "My union rep told me, he said, 'You know what, he is trying to take your job and what I need you to do is, I need you to continue to observe her behavior, and his behavior.' And I did that. OK, OK, I was outside one day and I was taking these pictures, I saw him and her together acting inappropriately, but today I did not take a picture of her." (Defs.' Facts ¶ 19; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 19.) < septa="" investigated="" this="" incident="" with="" mr.="" kelly="" acting="" on="" behalf="" of="" the="">
(Defs.' Ex. 11.) Mr. Kelly charged Ms. Jordan with violating SEPTA's Sexual Harassment Policy,*fn2 Authority Standard Rule ("ASR") 7, governing personal conduct,*fn3 and ASR-9-B, governing cell phones and other electronic devices.*fn4 (Defs.' Ex. 11.) Following an informal hearing on October 14, 2008, Mr. Kelly proposed a three-day suspension, which was not accepted by Ms. Jordan. (Defs.' Ex. 11.) A formal hearing was held on October 21, 2008, with hearing officer David Rodgers presiding, during which Ms. Jordan was accompanied by her union representatives. (Defs.' Ex. 10.) Mr. Rodgers upheld the three-day suspension (see id.), of which Ms. Jordan served one day (Jordan Dep. 187:6-8).
Ms. Jordan's October 6, 2008 Complaint < on="" october="" 6,="" 2008,="" twenty-one="" (21)="" months="" after="" the="" incident="" occurred,="" and="" on="" a="" day="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" barred="" from="" work="" following="" the="" incident="" with="" ms.="" healy,="" ms.="" jordan="" filed="" a="" complaint="" with="" septa's="" eeo/aa="" office="" regarding="" mr.="" kelly's="" january="" 2007="" "pole="" dancing"="" remark.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 6.)="" in="" the="" complaint,="" she="" stated="" that="" the="" reason="" for="" her="" delay="" in="" filing="" the="" complaint="" was="" that="" she="" "felt="" mr.="" kelly="" would="" treat="" [her]="" fairly"="" going="" forward,="" but="" she="" "found="" it="" to="" be="" a="" bad="" decision"="" because="" mr.="" kelly="" had="" recently="" suspended="" her="" in="" connection="" with="" the="" confrontation="" with="" ms.="" healy.="" (id.)="" in="" the="" complaint,="" she="" stated,="" "[s]ince="" i'm="" suspended="" for="" saying="" something="" about="" an="" individual="" behind="" their="" back,="" then="" he="" should="" be="" for="" saying="" something="" derogatory="" to="" me="" in="" my="" face."="" (id.)="">< the="" complaint="" was="" investigated="" by="" septa="" employee="" carol="" o'neal.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 7.)="" ms.="" o'neal="" noted="" that="" mr.="" kelly="" did="" not="" deny="" making="" the="" comment,="" but="" determined="" that="" because="" mr.="" kelly="" apologized="" and="" underwent="" management="" training="" on="" harassment="" prevention,="" no="" further="" action="" would="" be="" taken.="" (id.)="">< also="" on="" october="" 6,="" 2008,="" ms.="" jordan="" filed="" a="" complaint="" with="" the="" phrc="" alleging="" race="" discrimination.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 14.)="" the="" complaint="" stated="" that="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" suspended="" for="" "intimidat[ing]"="" ms.="" healy,="" a="" caucasian,="" who="" engaged="" in="" similar="" conduct="" but="" was="" not="" disciplined.="">
Ms. Jordan's November 10, 2008 Amendment to her October 6, 2008 Complaint < on="" november="" 10,="" 2008,="" ms.="" jordan="" amended="" her="" phrc="" complaint="" to="" add="" a="" charge="" of="" sex-based="" discrimination.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 15.)="" she="" alleged="" that="" mr.="" comber,="" the="" septa="" manager="" of="" employee="" relations="" who="" had="" investigated="" her="" 2007="" complaint="" against="" ms.="" carpenter,="" told="" ms.="" jordan="" that="" she="" "should="" not="" submit="" so="" many="" complaints."="" (id.)="" the="" amendment="" further="" alleged="" that="" male="" or="" caucasian="" employees="" were="" not="" discouraged="" from="" filing="" complaints.="">
The August 4, 2009 Suspension < on="" july="" 1,="" 2009,="" a="" septa="" service="" quality="" agent="" reported="" that="" he="" observed="" ms.="" jordan="" operating="" a="" bus="" while="" looking="" at="" a="" cell="" phone,="" in="" violation="" of="" asr-9-b.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 16.)="" septa="" transportation="" manager="" darryle="" crawley="" subsequently="" stopped="" ms.="" jordan's="" bus="" to="" verify="" the="" agent's="" report,="" and="" did="" not="" observe="" a="" cell="" phone.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 36;="" pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶="" 36.)="" ms.="" jordan="" denies="" that="" she="" was="" using="" a="" cell="" phone.="" she="" testified="" that="" she="" had="" a="" voice="" pedometer,="" not="" a="" cell="" phone,="" clipped="" to="" her="" belt.="" (jordan="" dep.="" 202:12-18.)="" septa="" took="" the="" position="" that="" possession="" of="" the="" voice="" pedometer="" also="" violated="" asr-9-b.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 17.)="">< on="" july="" 23,="" 2009,="" another="" service="" quality="" agent="" reported="" observing="" ms.="" jordan="" wearing="" pink="" earbuds="" in="" her="" ears="" while="" operating="" a="" bus="" in="" violation="" of="" asr-9-b.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 18.)="" ms.="" jordan="" conceded="" wearing="" the="" earbuds="" to="" cut="" down="" on="" noise.="" (jordan="" dep.="" 201:15-19,="" 222:11-13.)="">< on="" august="" 4,="" 2009,="" a="" hearing="" was="" conducted="" regarding="" ms.="" jordan's="" alleged="" july="" 1,="" 2009="" rule="" violation="" for="" using="" an="" electronic="" device="" while="" operating="" a="" bus.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 41;="" pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶="" 41.)="" at="" this="" time,="" ms.="" jordan="" had="" already="" received="" a="" three="" day="" suspension="" on="" october="" 21,="" 2008="" resulting="" from="" the="" comments="" she="" made="" about="" ms.="" healy="" on="" a="" recorded="" septa="" telephone="" line.="" pursuant="" to="" the="" agreement="" between="" septa="" and="" ms.="" jordan's="" union,="" the="" next="" step="" in="" the="" agreed="" upon="" "progressive="" discipline"="" system="" was="" discharge.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 3.)="">< joseph="" carson,="" the="" director="" of="" transportation,="" presided="" over="" the="" hearing="" and="" initially="" recommended="" discharge.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 44;="" defs.'="" ex.="" 17;="" pls.'="" ex.="">*fn5 Ms. Jordan's Union requested that, rather than termination, Ms. Jordan repeat the three day suspension. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 45; Defs.' Ex. 17; Pl.'s Ex. 15.) Mr. Carson modified his initial recommendation accordingly, reducing Ms. Jordan's proposed discipline from discharge to a three day suspension. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 46; Defs.' Ex. 17; Pl.'s Ex. 15.) The Union also requested that the date of Ms. Jordan's discipline be made retroactive to July 15, 2009, which would benefit Ms. Jordan because the progressive discipline system started anew when an employee completed 730 calendar days without being disciplined. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 47; Defs.' Ex. 17; Pl.'s Ex. 15.) The Union further requested that Ms. Jordan's July 23, 2009 violation of ASR-9-B -- for wearing earbuds while operating a bus -- be added to her discipline without further action against her. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 49; Defs.' Ex. 17; Pl.'s Ex. 15.) Mr. Carson agreed to both requests. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 48, 50; Defs.' Ex. 17; Pl.'s Ex. 15.) Thus, a three day suspension was proposed, and on the Charge Sheet, beside "resolution accepted," Ms. Jordan circled "yes"and signed the bottom of the sheet. (Defs.' Ex. 19.) Ms. Jordan served one day of the suspension, on August 10, 2009. (Defs.' Facts ¶ 53; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 53.)
Ms. Jordan's August 13, 2009 Complaint < on="" august="" 13,="" 2009,="" ms.="" jordan="" filed="" another="" phrc="" complaint.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 20.)="" in="" it,="" she="" alleged="" that="" septa="" retaliated="" against="" her="" for="" filing="" her="" october="" 6,="" 2008="" phra="" complaint="" --="" amended="" on="" november="" 10,="" 2008="" --="" by="" issuing="" her="" the="" recent="" three="" day="" suspension.="" (id.)="" she="" further="" alleged="" that="" septa="" was="" subjecting="" her="" to="" undue="" scrutiny="" by="" constantly="" observing="" her="" and="" routinely="" assigning="" her="" buses="" equipt="" with="" cameras.="" (id.)="" ms.="" jordan's="" october="" 23,="" 3009="" injury="">< on="" october="" 23,="" 2009,="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" injured="" when="" a="" bus="" she="" was="" operating="" hit="" a="">

(Defs.' Facts ¶ 56; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 56; Jordan Dep. 226:4-13.) Ms. Jordan reported the incident to Mr. Carson and was examined by a SEPTA panel physician on October 26, 2009. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 59, 61; Pl.'s Resp. ¶¶ 59, 61.) The physician initially put her on light duty, but released her to full duty status on October 30, 2009. (Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 61-62; Pl.'s Resp. ¶¶ 61-62.) Ms. Jordan filed a Workers' Compensation claim for this injury, which was denied.*fn6 (Pl.'s Concise Statement of Disputed Facts in Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Facts") ¶ 21; Pl.'s Ex. 16.)

The Denial of Sick Benefits and Ms. Jordan's Termination < on="" december="" 2,="" 2009,="" ms.="" jordan="" began="" experiencing="" pain="" while="" operating="" a="" bus.="" she="" notified="" septa's="" control="" center="" and="" was="" taken="" to="" the="" emergency="" room="" by="" ambulance.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶¶="" 63-64;="" pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶¶="" 63-64.)="" she="" was="" released="" from="" the="" hospital="" and="" returned="" to="" the="" southern="" district="" early="" in="" the="" morning="" on="" december="" 3,="" 2009.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 65;="" pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶="" 65.)="">< later="" that="" day,="" ms.="" jordan="" prepared="" an="" operator's="" accident="" report="" in="" which="" she="" stated="" that="" the="" pain="" from="" the="" injuries="" that="" she="" suffered="" on="" october="" 23,="" 2009="" never="" subsided,="" due="" to="" lack="" of="" treatment="" by="" the="" panel="" physician.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 26.)="" she="" stated="" that="" when="" the="" pain="" became="" unbearable,="" she="" called="" the="" control="" center="" to="" seek="" medical="" attention.="" (id.)="" ms.="" jordan="" also="" partially="" filed="" out="" an="" employee="" injury="" report="" in="" which="" she="" indicated="" that="" "the="" pain="" never="" subsided,="" so="" i="" guess="" this="" is="" classified="" as="" a="" recurrence."="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 27.)="" ms.="" jordan="" called="" out="" sick="" on="" december="" 3,="" 2009="" and="" was="" placed="" in="" septa's="" "sick="" book."="" (pl.'s="" ex.="" 19.)="">< because="" ms.="" jordan="" characterized="" her="" pain="" as="" having="" been="" caused="" by="" an="" injury="" sustained="" while="" on="" duty,="" septa="" took="" the="" position="" that="" she="" needed="" to="" be="" cleared="" by="" a="" septa="" panel="" physician.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 29="" at="" 38.)="">< the="" facts="" are="" disputed="" regarding="" whether,="" and="" when,="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" instructed="" to="" report="" to="" septa's="" medical="" office="" to="" schedule="" an="" appointment="" with="" a="" panel="" physician.="" septa="" claims="" that="" mr.="" carson="" instructed="" her="" to="" report="" on="" december="" 4,="" 2009,="" and,="" when="" she="" failed="" to="" do="" so="" due="" to="" a="" scheduling="" conflict,="" he="" directed="" her="" to="" report="" on="" december="" 7,="" 2009.="" (defs.'="" facts="" ¶="" 69.)="" ms.="" jordan="" claims="" that="" she="" was="" unaware="" that="" she="" was="" required="" to="" see="" a="" panel="" physician="" until="" she="" received="" a="" letter="" from="" mr.="" carson="" on="" december="" 9,="" 2009.="" (jordan="" dep.="" 257:18-261:22;="" 294:10-23.)="" in="" that="" letter,="" mr.="" carson="" cited="" ms.="" jordan's="" failure="" to="" report="" as="" instructed="" on="" december="" 4="" and="" 7,="" and="" directed="" her="" to="" report="" to="" him="" on="" december="" 14,="" 2009,="" to="" schedule="" a="" panel="" doctor="" visit.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 30.)="" he="" further="" stated,="" "[f]ailure="" to="" comply="" with="" this="" directive="" will="" result="" in="" your="" being="" dropped="" from="" the="" rolls="" of="" the="" authority."="" (id.)="">< on="" december="" 10,="" 2009,="" ms.="" jordan="" prepared="" and="" submitted="" a="" sick="" benefit="" application="" form="" to="" septa's="" human="" resources="" department.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 31.)="" her="" treating="" physician="" also="" signed="" the="" form.="" (id.)="" however,="" in="" the="" portion="" of="" the="" form="" "to="" be="" completed="" by="" employee's="" location,"="" there="" was="" a="" notation="" stating,="" "location="" refused="" to="" complete="" &="" submit="" 12-14-09="" @="" approx="" 1:35="" pm."="" (id.)="" septa's="" benefits="" manager="" testified="" that="" ms.="" jordan's="" "boss="" at="" the="" time,"="" whom="" the="" clerk="" could="" not="" identify,="" called="" "saying="" he="" wasn't="" going="" to="" fill="" it="" out."="" (jeanette="" gerena="" dep.="" 22:4-10,="" apr.="" 6,="" 2011.)="">< ms.="" jordan="" did="" not="" report="" to="" the="" southern="" district="" on="" december="" 14,="" 2009="" as="" directed.="" ms.="" jordan's="" position="" was="" that="" she="" was="" not="" required="" to="" see="" a="" septa="" panel="" physician="" because="" she="" had="" done="" so="" when="" the="" injury="" occurred="" in="" october="" 2009,="" had="" been="" cleared="" for="" work,="" and="" had="" her="" workers'="" compensation="" claim="" for="" the="" injury="" denied.="" thus,="" ms.="" jordan="" sought="" sick="" benefits,="" which="" entitled="" her="" to="" see="" her="" own="" physician,="" rather="" than="" injured="" on="" duty="" ("iod")="" status,="" which="" would="" require="" her="" to="" visit="" a="" septa="" panel="" physician.="" (pl.'s="" resp.="" ¶¶="" 68,="" 70.)="">< on="" december="" 15,="" 2009,="" in="" a="" letter="" to="" ms.="" jordan,="" mr.="" carson="" cited="" the="" three="" missed="" dates="" during="" which="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" to="" schedule="" an="" appointment="" with="" a="" panel="" physician="" and="" instructed="" ms.="" jordan="" to="" "return="" all="" authority="" property="" .="" .="" .="" as="" soon="" as="" possible."="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 33.)="" septa's="" position="" was="" that,="" by="" failing="" to="" follow="" mr.="" carson's="" directives,="" ms.="" jordan="" was="" in="" violation="" of="">*fn7 which warranted her termination. (Defs.' Ex. 34.)
< on="" january="" 17,="" 2010,="" ms.="" jordan="" received="" a="" letter="" from="" mr.="" carson="" informing="" her="" that="" she="" had="" been="" reinstated="" in="" order="" for="" the="" matter="" to="" be="" handled="" through="" the="" progressive="" discipline="" process.="" (pl.'s="" ex.="" 28.)="" a="" formal="" hearing="" was="" held="" on="" february="" 16,="" 2010="" and="" it="" was="" determined="" that="" discharge="" was="" warranted.="" (defs.'="" ex.="" 34.)="" a="" labor="" relations="" step="" hearing,="" the="" final="" step="" in="" the="" grievance="" process,="" was="" held="" on="" april="" 1,="" 2010="" and="" resulted="" in="" ms.="" jordan's="" discharge="" being="" upheld.="" (defs.'="" ex.="">

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate where the moving party establishes that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Levy v. Sterling Holding Co., 544 F.3d 493, 501 (3d Cir. 2008). Only a factual dispute that is both genuine and material will defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). A factual dispute is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could possibly return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. at 248. A dispute is "material" if it would affect the outcome of the case under governing substantive law. Id.

The moving party bears the initial burden to demonstrate that there are no facts on record that support the non-moving party's position. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). If the moving party carries this burden, the non-moving party must then present specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). The non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Id. at 586. The non-moving party cannot rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Gans v. Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 341 (3d Cir. 1985).

At the summary judgment stage, the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant. See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587; Horsehead Indus., Inc. v. Paramount Communications, Inc., 258 F.3d 132, 140 (3d Cir. 2001).

"This standard is applied with added rigor in employment discrimination cases, where intent and credibility are crucial questions." Stewart v. Rutgers, The State Univ., 120 F.3d 426, 431 (3d Cir. 1997) (quoting Robinson v. PPG Indus. Inc., 23 F.3d 1159, 1162 (7th Cir. 1994)).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Race and Gender Discrimination Claims Under Title VII and the PHRA (Counts 1 & 5)

Ms. Jordan alleges that because of her race, African American, and gender, female, both Defendants discriminated against her in violation of Title VII and the PHRA. The analysis under both statutes is identical, as Pennsylvania courts have construed the protections of the two acts interchangeably. See Weston v. Pennsylvania, 251 F.3d 420, 426 n.3 (3d Cir. 2001). Claims of discrimination are subject to the burden-shifting framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973) ("McDonnell Douglas"). Under McDonnell Douglas, the plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination by a preponderance of the evidence. To establish a prima facie case, the plaintiff must prove that (1) she is a member of a protected minority; (2) she was qualified for the position in question; (3) despite her qualifications, she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) the circumstances give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination. See Jones v. Sch. Dist. of Phila., 198 F.3d 403, 410-11 (3d Cir. 1999).

If the plaintiff meets its burden of stating a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden shifts to the defendant "to articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason" for its action. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 802. "Finally, should the defendant carry this burden, the plaintiff then must have an opportunity to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the legitimate reasons offered by the defendant were not its true reasons, but were a pretext for discrimination." Jones, 198 F.3d at 410.

Defendants concede, for the purposes of summary judgment, that Ms. Jordan is a member of a protected class and that she was qualified for her position as a bus operator. (Defs.' Mem. in Supp. of Mot. Summ. J. 12, 23.) Defendants further concede that Ms. Jordan experienced three adverse employment actions:

(1) the three-day suspension issued on October 21, 2008 relating to the confrontation with Ms. Healy;

(2) the three-day suspension issued on August 4, 2009 relating to the use of an unauthorized electronic device and wearing ...


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