United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
R. Hornak United States District Judge.
Katie Donahue-Cavlovic ("Plaintiff), a patrol officer of
nearly fifteen years with the Baldwin Borough (Pennsylvania)
Police Department ("Department"), brings this
action alleging sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and
retaliation pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, codified at 42
U.S.C. § 2000e etseq., and 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Baldwin Borough ("Baldwin" or
"Borough") and Michael Scott, Chief of the
Department ("Chief Scott"). Plaintiff alleges a
litany of derogatory, lewd, or offensive comments directed at
her or made in her presence over her years in the Department,
instances where she was denied training or equal wages, and
retaliatory actions taken against her. Defendants Baldwin and
Chief Scott move for summary judgment on all four (4) counts
of Plaintiff s Complaint. For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in its
judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine dispute of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A factual dispute is
genuine and material if it '"affects the outcome of
the suit under the governing law' and could lead a
reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving
party." Willis v. UPMC Children's Hosp.
of Pittsburgh, 808 F.3d 638, 643 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
the moving party bears the burden of proving that the record
presents no genuine dispute of material fact.
Willis, 808 F.3d at 643. Once that burden has been
met, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts in the
record showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 n.ll (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
If the nonmoving party does not meet this burden, and the
record as a whole could not lead a reasonable jury to find
for the nonmoving party, the court must enter summary
judgment against the nonmoving party. See Willis,
808 F.3d at 643. Inferences drawn from the underlying facts
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.
began working as a patrol officer for the Department in 2003,
where she remains employed. (ECF No. 33, ¶
In 2003, Plaintiff commenced a romantic relationship with
Lieutenant Craig Cavlovic ("Lieutenant Cavlovic"),
who is also employed by the Department, and the two were
married in 2005. (Id. ¶ 2.) From approximately
2009 or 2010 through 2014, Lieutenant Cavlovic directly
supervised Plaintiff, his wife. (Id. ¶ 3.)
her time as an officer with the Department, Plaintiff has
filed two separate EEOC charges against the Borough: the
first in 2007, and the second in 2015. (Id.
¶¶ 4, 7.) It is the second EEOC charge that
underlies this case, but a brief discussion of the basis for
the first charge is relevant here. After Plaintiff and
Lieutenant Cavlovic were married, the Borough required
Plaintiff to go on Lieutenant Cavlovic's health insurance
plan rather than continue to receive her own benefits.
(Id. ¶ 4.) Other officers who opted to receive
health insurance through their spouse's plan received a
reimbursement or "buy back" amount, but Plaintiff
did not. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) Plaintiff first
filed a grievance through her union against the Borough in
2006, followed by the sexual discrimination charge with the
EEOC in 2007. (Id.) The 2006 grievance went through
arbitration, and the arbitrator found in Plaintiffs favor.
(Id. ¶ 5.) The EEOC discrimination charge was
resolved by a Release and Settlement Agreement.
(Id.) The 2007 charge did not include a claim of
hostile work environment or sexual harassment. (Id.
filed the second EEOC charge of sex-based discrimination and
retaliation on June 15, 2015. (Id. ¶ 7.) The
instances of discrimination alleged in this complaint are as
Disparate Treatment Allegations
support her disparate treatment action, Plaintiff has alleged
various incidents of unequal treatment, denied training, and
retaliation. This Section will discuss these incidents in
first alleges she was paid unequal wages in the form of lower
healthcare benefit reimbursements. Since January 2010,
following the arbitration of Plaintiff s healthcare benefits
compensation discussed above, Plaintiff received the
"buy back" amount for not participating in the
Borough's health insurance plan. (Id. ¶
62.) After Plaintiff had children, her buy back amount was
not adjusted to the higher family rate available under the
Police Collective Bargaining Agreement. (Id.
¶¶ 63-64.) On August 19, 2014, Plaintiff sent a
letter to the Borough Manager to ask why male officers with
children received a higher healthcare reimbursement amount
than she did. (Id. ¶ 64.) In response,
Plaintiff s healthcare reimbursement amount was adjusted to
the family rate in her December 4, 2014, paycheck.
(Id. ¶ 65.)
Plaintiff claims three instances of denied training between
2011 and 2015. First, in 2011, when Plaintiff was pregnant,
she asked to be placed on the child car seat installation
detail. (Id. ¶ 55.) That request was denied.
(Id.) Next, in November 2014, Plaintiff and two male
police officers requested assignment to the firearms
instructor detail and firearms instructor training.
(Id. ¶ 70.) The firearms training officer did
not see a need for any additional firearms instructors and
subsequently denied the requests of all three officers.
(Id.) Lastly, in April 2015, Plaintiff and Officer
Brian Henderson requested to attend a patrol rifle
proficiency course. (Id. ¶ 71.) After Chief
Scott informed Plaintiff that the course was a firearms
instructor development course, and not a patrol rifle
proficiency course, she did not request to attend a patrol
rifle proficiency course. (Id. ¶¶ 71-72.)
point (the date is unclear from the record), Plaintiff was
also prohibited from patrolling with Officer Henderson, which
she believes was because of her sex. (Id. ¶
56.) Chief Scott informed Lieutenant Cavlovic that it
"didn't look right" for Plaintiff and Officer
Henderson to patrol together. (Id. ¶¶
60-61.) However, the record reflects that in 2013 continuing
through the present, the usual practice within the Borough
was for police officers to patrol alone, and Plaintiff has
identified no other male officers who patrolled together in
the same car. (Id. ¶¶ 57-58.)
further alleges she was retaliated against after an incident
on July 8, 2014, when Plaintiff delivered packets of
information to Borough Councilmembers addressing a possible
unfair labor practice in the Borough. (Id. ¶
78.) Plaintiff made this delivery on Officer Henderson's
behalf. (Id.) On Plaintiffs next work day following
this delivery, she and Officer Henderson were called into
Chief Scott's office and disciplined. (Id.
¶ 79.) Chief Scott threatened to terminate them for
violating the chain of command, insubordination, and theft of
government property by delivering the papers to the
"other side." (Id.) A month after this
incident, in August 2014, Plaintiff and three other officers
were selected for random drug testing. (Id.
¶¶ 81, 84.) Plaintiff believes she was selected in
retaliation for delivering the packets. (Id. ¶
82.) Borough police officers are selected for drug testing
through computer-generated random selections performed by an
independent third party, the St. Clair Occupational Health
Medicine Center. (Id. ¶ 83.) Borough officials
have no role in the random selection, other than to receive
and deliver notices of the selections to officers.
(Id.) Plaintiff was also randomly selected for drug
testing in August 2015, but does not believe that was a
retaliatory selection. (Id. ¶ 85.) Plaintiff
did not test positive for drugs in either 2014 or 2015.
(Id. ¶ 86.)
in September 2014, Lieutenant Cavlovic informed Plaintiff
that Chief Scott had received a complaint from a citizen
about her. (Id. ¶ 75.) Plaintiff e-mailed Chief
Scott and asked to see a copy of the complaint.
(Id.) Chief Scott responded that the citizen never
actually filed a complaint, although Plaintiff suspected that
he had encouraged the citizen to do so. (Id.) The
would-be complainant told Plaintiff that she didn't write
a complaint because "what [the citizen] was saying
wasn't necessarily true." (Id. ¶ 76.)
Sexual Harassment Allegations
April 2013, Plaintiff learned from Officer Henderson that
Officer Collier had said "[Plaintiff] should just tuck
her labia between her legs and take the class, "
referring to an active shooter training course. (Id.
¶ 8.) Plaintiff lodged a complaint about the comment in
an e-mail to Chief Scott, pursuant to the Department's
sexual harassment policy. (Id. ¶ 9.) Chief
Scott retained an attorney to conduct an investigation of the
incident, and Officer Collier was disciplined. (Id.
beginning of 2014, a string of incidents occurred within the
same week at work, which Plaintiff believes was sexual
harassment. (Id. ¶ 12.) First, Plaintiff found
a condom wrapper on the floor of the backseat of the police
vehicle she generally preferred to drive. (Id.
¶ 13.) Later that week, Plaintiff found dark, possibly
fake blood in the toilet in the police substation's
restroom, which she used every day. (Id.
¶¶ 20-21.) Finally, Plaintiff found a "wad of
napkins" in between the driver's seat and passenger
seat of her police vehicle. (Id. ¶¶
27-28.) When she reached in to grab the napkins, Plaintiff
realized they were stuck together with blood and long strands
of blond hair. (Id. ¶ 28.)
record also reflects three incidents involving Chief Scott
that Plaintiff believes constitute sexual harassment. First,
at some point in 2013, Chief Scott was wearing a Scottish
kilt. (Id. ¶ 37.) He commented to Plaintiff
that he was "authentic, " which she understood to
mean he was not wearing any undergarments beneath his
kilt. (Id. ¶¶ 37-39.) Next,
in June 2013, during a discussion in which Plaintiff was
present, Chief Scott remarked that a Borough Councilman was
"popular with the ladies" because he "has a
big d**k." (Id. ¶¶ 40-41.) Plaintiff
did not want to make a complaint under the sexual harassment
policy about the comment because the matter involved Chief
Scott. (Id. ¶ 43.) The third incident of
alleged sexual harassment involving Chief Scott occurred on
December 4, 2014, when Chief Scott informed Lieutenant
Cavlovic, Plaintiffs husband, about a rumor circulating in
Bethel Park (a neighboring community) that Chief Scott and
Plaintiff were having an affair together. (Id.
¶ 48.) It was apparent to Lieutenant Cavlovic that Chief
Scott thought the rumor was ridiculous. (Id. ¶
50.) Plaintiff has no knowledge of Chief Scott repeating the
rumor to anyone other than Lieutenant Cavlovic on this one
occasion. (Id. ¶ 51.)
fourth incident in the record involves Chief Scott only
insofar as he was present when it occurred. In May 2014,
Lieutenant Kearns apologized to Lieutenant Cavlovic for a
disparaging remark that he made about Plaintiff at a meeting
attended by the Mayor, Lieutenant Kearns, and Chief Scott.
(Id. ¶¶ 45-46.) Kearns stated that he
thought Plaintiff and Lieutenant Cavlovic should ...