United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
John E. Jones III, Judge.
instant case, Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated and
retaliated against by his former employer and that he was
constructively discharged. Presently pending before the Court
is Defendant's motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 18),
seeking summary judgment as to all counts in Plaintiff's
complaint. The matter has been fully briefed, (Docs. 23, 24,
25), and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant's motion shall be granted.
Abror (“Plaintiff” or “Abror”) was
employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry
(“Defendant” or “Department”) from
January 1997 until his retirement on October 21, 2016. (Doc.
20-1 at 18:10-14). Plaintiff is African American, visually
impaired, and hearing impaired. (Doc. 24 at 9). From his hire
until 2009, Plaintiff was subject to only minimal discipline,
including counseling, an oral reprimand, a written reprimand,
and a one-day suspension without pay. (Doc 20-1 at 22:5-14).
The one-day suspension, however, was eventually appealed and
overturned. (Id. at 22:8-18; Id. at
to the instant motion, at the Department, disciplinary action
begins with counseling. In the event counseling is
ineffective, a supervisor is entitled to escalate the matter
using oral reprimands, written reprimands, suspensions of
one, two, or three days without pay, and, if all else fails,
termination. (Id. at 36:13- 37:6). To be clear,
however, neither counseling, nor oral reprimands, nor written
reprimands impact an employee's pay or benefits.
(Id. at 37:7-38:8).
his disciplinary history, in May 2009, Plaintiff was promoted
to Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor. (Id. at
30:14-18). In an employee review filed on December 22, 2014,
Plaintiff received all satisfactory ratings. (Doc. 20-2, Exh.
January 2016, Plaintiff visited the emergency room where he
was diagnosed with “stressful workplace environment,
” and subsequently informed the Department of his
diagnosis. (Doc. 20-1 at 119:17-120:24). Nonetheless, in
February 2016, Plaintiff alleges that he was temporarily
assigned an increased caseload as a “placeholder”
for cases supervised by recently-retired workers. (Doc. 20-7
employee review for the period of December 22, 2015 through
March 21, 2016, Plaintiff received six
“unsatisfactory” ratings and two “needs
improvement” ratings. (Doc. 20-3). In an employee
review from March 22, 2016 through June 21, 2016, Plaintiff
received six “unsatisfactory” ratings and two
“needs improvement” ratings. (Doc. 20-4).
Plaintiff's supervisor, Nicole Wade (“Wade”),
clarified in these reviews that Plaintiff was not finishing
assignments, was not attending meetings, and was sleeping
during meetings. (Doc. 20-7 at 81:4- 13).
February 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”)
and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) alleging discrimination. (Doc. 1 at 14).
Defendant received the complaint on February 24, 2016.
(Id. at ¶ 34).
April 19, 2016, Plaintiff received an oral reprimand from
Wade for failing to complete assignments. (Doc. 20-5).
Notwithstanding his inability to maintain his current
workload, Plaintiff contends that Wade assigned him even more
work and instructed him to personally call all of the
Department's clients in a certain region to check in with
them-a significant task. (Doc. 20-7 at 53: 13-19).
26, 2016, Plaintiff attended a fact-finding meeting to
discuss with Wade his failure to complete assignments. (Doc.
20-1 at 44:19-24). At the meeting, Plaintiff stated that he
did not have the necessary updated equipment to accommodate
his disabilities and that, as a result, he was overloaded
with assignments. (Id. at 44:19-46:9). On August 24,
2016, Plaintiff received a written reprimand for failure to
complete assignments, which was included in his personnel
file. (Doc. 20-6). According to Plaintiff, when he was
presented with his reprimand, he cried. (Doc. 20-1 at
September 30, 2016, Wade sent an email to Elizabeth
Yarnell stating that she had spoken with Plaintiff
about office safety, particularly his use of his white cane
in the office. (Doc. 24-1).
October 6, 2016, Plaintiff sent an unsolicited email to
I am proud to announce my twenty years of service to the
Commonwealth. I am very excited my long AWAITED twenty (20)
years of service is here which qualifies me to retire with
health benefits. I would therefore like to notify you of
separation of my employment from the Commonwealth effective
October 22, 2016. My last day of work therefore is Friday,
October 21, 2016.
(Doc. 20-8) (capitalization in original).
December 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court.
(Doc. 1). In Counts I and II, Plaintiff alleges racial
discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”).
(Id. at ¶ 14-29). Plaintiff alleges that he was
discriminated against and treated differently than similarly
situated colleagues as a result of his race and that this
difference in treatment resulted in loss of future pay, loss
of career opportunities, and other damages. (Id. at
¶ 24). In Counts III and IV, Plaintiff alleges that he
was unlawfully retaliated against in violation of Title VII
and the PHRA. (Id. at ¶ 31- 47). Plaintiff
avers that his increased workload, his unsatisfactory
reviews, and his written and oral reprimands were retaliation
for filing his PHRC and EEOC complaint. (Id. at
¶ 33-40). In Count V, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant's actions amounted to a constructive discharge
in violation of the PHRA. (Id. at ¶57-58).
Plaintiff alleges that his increase in workload as well as
Wade's reprimands, ...