United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
R. Sánchez, C.J.
Danielle Duckett alleges that Defendant Pennsylvania
Department of Human Services (DHS),  her former employer,
discriminated against her based on her sex by permitting a
hostile work environment to exist during her employment. She
brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (Title VII) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant DHS's
motion for summary judgment and deny Duckett's motion for
a female, was employed by DHS in a supervisory role from
March 31, 2014 until her January 3, 2017, resignation.
Duckett Aff. ¶ 4(a), (d), (s). One of the employees
Duckett supervised was Lee Franczyk. Id. at ¶
4(e). Duckett alleges Franczyk's conduct created a
hostile work environment.
Franczyk's duties involved conducting regulatory field
inspections of treatment providers for DHS licensing
purposes. See Pl.'s Mot. Ex. C. These providers
complained to Duckett that, between May and June of 2016,
Franczyk engaged in sexual harassment and inappropriate
behavior during field inspections. See id.
Franczyk's behavior included inappropriate comments to
provider staff, touching a patient's back and shoulders,
and viewing pornographic material on his phone in a
provider's office. See id. Duckett and her
supervisor, Sandra Wooters, investigated the complaints.
Duckett Aff. ¶ 4(i), (j). Individuals from relevant DHS
bureaus were consulted and concluded the complaints
“appeared” credible and Franczyk's behavior
could “be considered a violation of” DHS's
policy prohibiting sexual harassment. Pl.'s Mot. Ex. E.
On September 6, 2016, Duckett communicated the nature of the
investigation to Franczyk and informed him she would conduct
a hearing concerning the allegations. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 4.
On September 23, 2016, following the hearing, Duckett and
Wooters informed Franczyk he was suspended five days for
violating DHS policy prohibiting sexual harassment and for
tardiness. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 5; see Pl.'s
Mot. Ex. G.
September 2016, while the investigation was ongoing, Franczyk
began monitoring the habits, and particularly the arrival
times, of his coworkers. See Pl.'s Mot. Ex. F.
Franczyk reported the perceived tardiness of a male coworker
directly to Wooters. See Id. On October 11, 2016,
Duckett, by email, brought this behavior to the attention of
George Moore at DHS. Id. Duckett's email
described another incident in which a female coworker
observed a note Franczyk had created documenting her
behavior toward Duckett, specifically, became hostile during
and following the investigation. See Duckett Aff.
¶ 4(1), Pl.'s Mot., Ex. A (“It was after this
investigation, that Franczyk targeted me heavily and
repeatedly.”). Franczyk informed Duckett and Wooters he
would “get rid of” them both for suspending him.
Id. at ¶ 4(k). In a statement Duckett later
provided to DHS personnel, she described Franczyk's
behavior during this period:
During the investigation of the Sexual Harassment allegation
against him . . . he stated he didn't want to talk to me
face to face . . ., when I would ask him to process work he
would throw things on the floor and get upset. One encounter
he stopped me mid-sentence and said I was mean, and cold
hearted for what I was doing to him - he further stated it
was upsetting to him as a husband and a father. Once . . .
after telling him what I needed him to process he threw
something at the wall. After he received his discipline
regarding the Sexual Harassment allegations- he got up and
stormed out of my supervisor[‘]s office saying “I
don't know how to talk to anyone” and then while I
followed him down the hall . . . I heard him state “A
fuckin bitch” while throwing his empty water bottle. .
Pl.'s Mot. Ex. G.
also contends Franczyk began “stalking” her.
Duckett Aff. ¶¶ 4(m), (n), Pl.'s Mot., Ex. A.
Duckett observed Franczyk's car driving down her street
on one occasion. Pl.'s Mot. Ex. G; see also
Duckett Aff. ¶ 4(m), Pl.'s Mot. Ex. A (stating
Franczyk was “casing” Duckett's house).
Franczyk allegedly “stalked” Duckett on the
internet as well. Duckett Aff ¶ 4(m), Pl.'s Mot. Ex.
A. Duckett learned through a friend that Franczyk's wife
had used Facebook to ask another individual about Duckett and
had told that individual that Duckett “hadn't been
nice to” Franczyk. Pl.'s Mot. Ex. G. Duckett
suspected Franczyk had caused her to receive multiple
messages notifying her of attempts to change her Facebook
October 19, 2016, Duckett had to pull her car over due to
mechanical problems and get roadside assistance. See
Pl.'s Mot. Ex. G. Lug nuts to her tires were missing and
her emergency brake line was cut. Id. The tow driver
and dealership staff indicated to Duckett someone had done
this to her car, and Duckett suspected Franczyk. See
id. On October 20, 2016, Duckett emailed Wooters and
George Moore at DHS, describing what had happened to the car,
Franczyk's outbursts in the office, the allegation that
Franczyk was driving on Duckett's block, the Facebook
message by Franczyk's wife, and Duckett's suspicions
about her Facebook password. See Pl.'s Mot. Ex.
G. Additionally, Duckett informed Wooters and Moore that
Franczyk had “been confrontational” with other
staff and tracked their arrival times. Id.
contends it took several steps in response to Duckett's
email. Based on police instruction, Moore determined DHS
should not independently investigate the incident with
Duckett's car while police were investigating. Moore
Decl. ¶ 9, Def.'s Mot. Ex. 6. Moore and Wooters
discussed the possibility of transferring Franczyk to either
a different office or a different supervisor. Id. at
¶ 10. However, they determined transfer was not possible
at the time because Duckett was the only supervisor for
Franczyk's licensing section in his current office and
because transfer to another office would require a
substantiated allegation against Franczyk under the union
agreement. Id.; Wooters Decl. ¶ 11, Def.'s
Mot. Ex. 1. Moore and Wooters also “discussed”
arranging Duckett and Franczyk's work schedules to
minimize the times they were in the office together. Moore
Decl. ¶ 11, Def.'s Mot. Ex. 6. Wooters increased her
presence in the office and arranged for increased monitoring
by security officers and increased lighting in the parking
lot. Wooters Decl. ¶ 13, Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1. Wooters
also “held several formal counseling sessions and
informal discussions” with Franczyk “to address
the various concerns about his behavior towards his
co-workers.” Id. at ¶ 14. Duckett, for
her part, contends she was informed only that Franczyk's
union status prevented DHS from moving him from her
supervision or office. Duckett Aff. ¶ 4(p), Pl.'s
Mot. Ex. 1.
December 8, 2016, Duckett reported to Diane Murray at DHS
that Franczyk had texted her and another female DHS employee
a link to download a potentially malicious application on
their phone. See Pl.'s Mot. Ex. K. On December
15, 2017, Duckett communicated her resignation, effective
January 3, 2017, to DHS, informing DHS she was “forced
to leave due to ongoing threats to [her] safety and the
intolerable hostile work environment that has been created
based on the employee” she supervised. Pl.'s Mot.
Ex. L. Duckett had ...