Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nyamekye v. Penn Hills School District

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

September 13, 2017

MARY NYAMEKYE, Plaintiff,
v.
PENN HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          David Stewart Cercone, United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, Mary Nyamekye (“Mary” or “Plaintiff”) filed a four (4) count Amended Complaint alleging racial discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“§ 1981”), age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (the “ADEA”)[1], national origin discrimination and retaliation against Defendant Penn Hills School District (the “District”), based upon the District's failure to hire her as a fulltime custodian. The District has filed a motion for summary judgment, Mary has responded and the motion is now before the Court.

         II. Statement of the Case

         Mary was born and raised in Ghana, came to the United States in 1998 and became a United States citizen about three years thereafter. Mary's husband, Lawrence Nyamekye (“Lawrence”) is also from Ghana and became a United States citizen in 1997. Defendant's Concise Statement of Material Facts (“Def. CSMF”) ¶¶ 4 & 5. Lawrence began work with the District as a substitute custodian in 2000 and became employed as a full-time custodian in 2004. Def. CSMF ¶ 10. Mary was initially hired by Penn Hills in 2007 to work part-time in the transportation department. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 6 & 7. She was employed for two (2) years before she was laid off. Def. CSMF ¶ 7.

         Having learned from Lawrence that there was a position as substitute custodian available in the District, Mary applied for the job and was hired on November 22, 2011. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 8 & 9. As a substitute custodian, Mary worked in three different buildings within the District, and she worked from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., five (5) days a week, every week. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 11 & 12. As a substitute employee, Mary was not a member of the Union, and was not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (the “CBA”). Def. CSMF ¶ 14.

         On July 1, 2013, the District entered into a Professional Services Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Facilities Management Systems, Inc. (“FMS”). Def. CSMF ¶ 15. Under the Agreement, FMS was granted the exclusive right to manage and operate the District's maintenance and custodial operation, acting in the capacity of an independent contractor. Def. CSMF ¶ 16. Richard Oskin (“Oskin”) and William King (“King”) were assigned by FMS as Facilities Supervisor and Facilities Manager for the District. Def. CSMF ¶ 17; King Affidavit ¶¶ 4 & 5.

         In August, 2014, the District hired five (5) full-time custodians, Donna Clawson (“Clawson”), Dayle Summers (“Summers”), Jim Homze (“Homze”), Sabrina Hutson[2](“Hutson”) and Tracy McKee (McKee”), all of whom had previously been substitute custodians in the District. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 18 & 19. The District hired these custodians based on recommendations from FSM, and all of the newly hired custodians, except McKee, had worked as substitute custodians with the District longer than Mary. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 21 & 22. FSM did not recommend Mary allegedly because there were “complaints” made about her work performance. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 23 & 24; King Aff. ¶¶ 9 & 10.

         Mary and Lawrence met with the District's superintendent, Dr. Thomas Washington (“Washington”), Director of Human Resources, Lindsay Pfister (“Pfister”), and King on August 22, 2014, to discuss why McKee was hired despite being behind Mary on the seniority list. Plaintiff Response to Defendant's Concise Statement of Material Facts (“Pl. Resp. CSMF”) ¶ 24; Def. CSMF ¶ 25. King explained by reading a one sheet email allegedly from Principal, Eric Kostic (“Kostic”) in whiche Kostic alleged that Plaintiff left “paper” on his bathroom floor back in May of 2014, nearly three (3) months earlier. Pl. Resp. CSMF ¶ 24; Lawrence Dep. pp. 99-101; Mary Dep. p. 124. Mary was never informed of the complaint. Pl. Resp. CSMF ¶ 24. Mary was told that Kostic's complaint was the reason she was not hired. Id.

         In October, 2014, as the result of an arbitration decision, the District hired four additional full-time custodians, Ross Janikas, Thomas Wheeler, Caitlyn Abbott and Clark Crockett, none of whom were employed as substitute custodians with the District. Def. CSMF ¶¶ 30 & 31. The District made the hires based upon recommendations from FMS. Def. CSMF ¶ 32. Again, FMS failed to recommend Mary for one of the positions. Def. CSMF ¶ 33.

         Lawrence approached Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hines (“Dr. Hines”) about the District's failure to hire Mary as a full-time custodian. Def. CSMF ¶ 34. Dr. Hines relayed the inquiry to Washington, Pfister and King and was informed that Mary was not hired for a full time custodial position because she was experiencing work performance issues. Def. CSMF ¶ 35.

         On February 1, 2015, Dr. Hines became the District's Acting Superintendent. Def. CSMF ¶ 36. Based on Dr. Hines' recommendation, the District's Board of Directors terminated the Agreement with FMS effective June 30, 2015. Def. CSMF ¶ 37. Around the time she made the recommendation to the Board, Dr. Hines was again approached by Lawrence regarding the District's failure to hire Mary as a full-time custodian. Def. CSMF ¶ 38. Lawrence claimed that his wife was not informed of her job performance issues prior to their meeting in August of 2014, and that Mary was the victim of discrimination because she was not hired for a full-time position in accordance with seniority. Def. CSMF ¶ 39.

         Dr. Hines investigated and contends that she found no evidence of discrimination. Def. CSMF ¶ 40. Dr. Hines admits, however, that her investigation uncovered “very limited information” specific to Mary's performance as a substitute custodian. Dr. Hines Aff. ¶ 17. Based on such lack of information, Dr. Hines decided Mary should be given the opportunity to work in a full-time capacity. Dr. Hines Aff. ¶ 18.

         Subsequently, an opening for a full-time custodian arose because of a retirement. Def. CSMF ¶ 42. Mary and her husband met with Dr. Hines on April 28, 2015 to discuss the position, and Mary accepted the position. Def. CSMF ¶ 47. Mary ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.