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Codada, v. Grace Adult Day Health Care Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 12, 2014

HARRY CODADA,
v.
GRACE ADULT DAY HEALTH CARE INC., and TATIANA MATSVEYEVA

MEMORANDUM

NORMA L. SHAPIRO, District Judge.

Defendants, Grace Adult Day Health Care Inc. ("Grace") and Tatiana Matsveyeva ("Matsveyeva"), have moved for summary judgment on the claims of plaintiff, Harry Codada ("Codada"). There are disputes of material facts, so defendants' motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Codada is a black male of Haitian descent. Grace is a provider of day services to the elderly. Codada worked as a driver for Grace for approximately five years until July 17, 2012, when his employment was terminated. As a driver, Codada's primary responsibility was picking up clients from home in the morning, bringing them to Grace, and returning them in the afternoon. During the day, Codada engaged in activities with the clients or had other duties. In early 2010, Matsveyeva became Codada's supervisor. Sometime in 2010, Codada ceased engaging in activities with clients during the day and his sole job responsibility became driving clients to and from Grace. Throughout 2010, Codada received less and less overtime and he received none in 2011. Codada felt these changes were unfair and he was being discriminated against because of his race and ethnicity. On June 6, 2011, Matsveyeva, meeting with Codada, gave him a written warning purportedly disciplining him for tardiness. During the meeting, Codada contended he had not been late and expressed to Matsveyeva his feeling he was being unfairly discriminated against because of his race.

Around July 2011, Codada's hours were decreased from approximately eight to six hours per day. On September 19, 2011, Codada contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). His intake forms alleged race and national origin discrimination and retaliation. He specifically alleged Matsveyeva kept him for several hours after work during the meeting on June 6, 2011, while his family was waiting for him. He also alleged Matsveyeva reduced his hours in July 2011 in retaliation for his complaints of unfair and discriminatory treatment during the June 6 meeting.

On September 21, 2011, the EEOC sent Grace a notice informing it Codada had initiated a complaint against it. The letter stated no further action was necessary at that time. Matsveyeva received the notification and took no further action.

After notifying the EEOC, Codada alleges he was subjected to an increasingly hostile environment. Codada contends his co-workers openly made discriminatory comments about his race and ethnicity, including referring to him as a "monkey" in front of clients and co-workers, calling Haitians "dirty" and "poor, " and saying to him God painted him and "forgot to remove the paint."

On April 3, 2012, Matsveyeva requested a gas receipt from Codada. Grace's drivers were not generally required to provide gas receipts. On April 9, 2012, Matsveyeva told Codada he needed to undergo a federal criminal background check. Other drivers were not required to undergo a mid-employment background check. On April 11, 2012, Codada filed an EEOC formal charge of discrimination alleging race and national origin discrimination and retaliation.

Throughout this time period, Codada felt Matsveyeva's behavior toward him was demeaning and disrespectful. Codada contends she refused to acknowledge him when he said good morning to her. When Matsveyeva was near, Codada noticed his co-workers would not speak with him; Codada attributed this to instructions from Matsveyeva. When Codada attempted to complain to Matsveyeva about his treatment or his working conditions, he was told to leave her office. According to Codada, Matsveyeva called him into her office on multiple occasions in May and June 2012, asked him why he still worked at Grace, and encouraged him to find another job.

On July 16, 2012, Matsveyeva issued Codada a written warning for clocking in before his scheduled start time. Codada insisted his transportation manager, Jose Santiago, had given him permission to start and end his shift approximately a half hour earlier to accommodate Codada's family responsibilities. Matsveyeva called Mr. Santiago into the meeting. Mr. Santiago denied giving Codada permission to change his schedule. On July 17, 2012, Matsveyeva terminated Codada's employment.

In September 2012, Codada went a third time to the EEOC and filed a second charge of discrimination. On April 15, 2013, after exhausting administrative remedies, Codada initiated this action.

Codada brings claims of race and national origin discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 951 et seq. ("PHRA"). The elements for proving discrimination or retaliation under § 1981 and the PHRA are essentially the same as under Title VII. They will be treated as identical for the purposes of this analysis.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment must be granted if "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and all reasonable inferences drawn in that party's favor. Hugh v. Butler Cnty. Family YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 267 (3d Cir. 2005). The movant must identify those portions of the record showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A dispute is "genuine" only if there is ...


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