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Stucke v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 12, 2015

ROLAND STUCKE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Tucker, C.J.

Plaintiff Roland Stucke ("Stucke") brings this action against Defendant City of Philadelphia (the "City"), alleging claims for disparate treatment racial discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. § 951 et seq. Before this Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 34), Plaintiff and Defendant's Statement of Stipulated Material Facts (Doc. 34-1), Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to Defendant City of Philadelphia's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 37), Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 40), and Plaintiffs Sur-Reply in Further Support of His Response in Opposition (Doc. 45). Upon careful consideration of the parties' briefs, exhibits, and all other papers herein, and for the reasons set forth below, this Court will grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Because the Court writes primarily for the parties, the Court sets forth only the facts that are relevant to its conclusion. In 1983, the City hired Plaintiff Stucke, a white male, as a Correctional Officer Trainee and promoted him to Correctional Officer later that year. Statement of Stipulated Material Facts ¶¶ 1-2. In 1990, Stucke transferred to PhilaCor, an industries shop program within the Philadelphia Prison System ("PPS") that is responsible for training inmates to gain transferable job skills. Id. at ¶¶ 3-4. PhilaCor is managed by a Correctional Industries Director ("Director") and a Correctional Industries Assistant Director ("Assistant Director"). The Director of PhilaCor reports directly to one of the PPS Deputy Commissioners. Brooks Dep. 32:10-11, May 13, 2014.

In 2004, Stucke was temporarily promoted to Industries Shop Supervisor in charge of PhilaCor's General Products Shop. Statement of Stipulated Material Facts ¶ 5. This promotion became permanent in 2005. Id. Stucke's direct supervisor at the time was Assistant Director Jim Filler ("Filler"). Id. at ¶ 6. The job specification for Assistant Director provides that the position's minimal acceptable training and experience is as follows:

completion of a bachelor's degree in business administration, education, or a related field at an accredited college or university, and two years of supervisory experience in a correctional or equivalent private or public industries program; or, any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Office of Human Resources.

Id. at ¶ 8. Filler, a white male, did not have a Bachelor's degree. Id. at ¶ 6.

In February 2009, Filler passed away. As a result, the Director at the time, Director Eleanor Doherty, recommended to PPS Commissioner Louis Giorla and Deputy Commissioner Reginald Hammond that Stucke be promoted to Acting Assistant Director. Doherty Dep. 37:1-4, August 14, 2014. Stucke was promoted to the Acting Assistant Director position in mid-2009, although he did not have a Bachelor's degree. Statement of Stipulated Material Facts ¶ 9. He believed that any degree requirement for the position would be waived since Director Filler also did not have a Bachelor's degree when he had held the position. Stucke Dep. 33:15-22, June 24, 2014.

When Stucke assumed the position of Acting Assistant Director, Director Doherty observed a difference in Deputy Commissioner Hammond's involvement in PhilaCor. Doherty Dep. 43:10-45:7. Director Doherty testified that Deputy Commissioner Hammond began micromanaging and questioning her about seemingly insignificant minutiae relating to the daily operations of the shops. Doherty Dep. 44:1-46:3.[1] According to Director Doherty, Deputy Commissioner Hammond requested that a computer be removed from Stucke's work area in the general products plant. Doherty Dep. 45:8-20. The computer was taken to another area where "it was not put to any use. It sat in a room." Doherty Dep. 46:17-19.[2]

In the fall of 2009, Director Doherty participated in a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Hammond. In that meeting, Deputy Commissioner Hammond explained that he was going to require a Bachelor's degree for the Assistant Director position and post the position publicly. Doherty Dep. 47:21-18:3. Following this meeting, Director Doherty informed Stucke that a Bachelor's degree would be required for the Assistant Director position. Doherty Dep. 48:5-9. According to Director Doherty, Stucke responded that he was not going to continue the job if he had no chance of ever getting it permanently. Doherty Dep. 50:12-13. As a result, on November 16, 2009, Stucke resigned as Acting Assistant Director and resumed his previous post as Industries Shop Supervisor. Statement of Stipulated Material Facts ¶ 10.

Following Stucke's resignation, Director Doherty needed to fill the vacant Acting Assistant Director position. Consequently, she offered the position to Steven Brooks, a black male who, like Stucke, also did not have a Bachelor's degree. Doherty Dep. 51:10-20; Statement of Stipulated Material Facts ¶ 11. Following the initial interviews for the Acting Assistant Director position, Brooks had been Deputy Commissioner Hammond's second choice candidate after Stucke. Stucke Dep. 221:3-7. Director Doherty informed Brooks that he was only offered a temporary position. Doherty Dep. 51:13-52:5. On or about December 23, 2009, Brooks was promoted to Acting Assistant Director, thereby becoming Stucke's direct supervisor. Statement of Stipulated Material Facts at ¶ 11. Brooks retained the position of Acting Assistant Director for three years. Brooks Dep. 65:9-11. In March 2014, Brooks was promoted to the position of Correctional Industries Director-the Director of PhilaCor. Id. ¶ 11.

Shortly after Brooks became Acting Assistant Director, Stucke confronted him about the fact that he did not have a Bachelor's degree:

A. I told him, again, you have-you have no college, I have no college, okay. That doesn't make no sense that you got the job over I got the job. In other words, I didn't have college, you don't have college. We're both coworkers. Now I did the job for eight months, now you're coming along doing the job.
Q. Did you tell him where you were gonna file this complaint?
A. No.
Q. Okay. Did you say E.E.O.C?
A. No.
Q. Or the commission?
A. I told him I'm gonna file a ...

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