UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE DIVISION
May 17, 2013
ALMA BURRELL, VICKYE HAYTER, MARGARET HEADD,
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, DAN PEDDYCORD, RAE WEDEL,
MARTY FENSTERSHEIB AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, INCLUSIVE,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lucy H. Koh United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiffs Alma Burrell ("Burrell"), Vickye Hayter ("Hayter"), and Margaret Headd ("Headd") (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), bring suit against their employer, County of Santa Clara 22 ("the County"), and three County employees, Dan Peddycord, Rae Wedel, and Marty Fenstersheib, 23 alleging: (1) retaliation in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), 24 California Government Code § 12940(h);*fn1 (2) failure to protect from discrimination under FEHA, California Government Code § 12940(k); (3) discrimination based on disparate treatment in 2 violation of California Government Code § 12940(a) (claims 3, 4, and 5); (4) discrimination based 3 on disparate impact in violation of California Government Code § 12900 et seq. (claims 6, 7, and 4 8); and (5) retaliation for exercising free speech rights, as well as negligent hiring, training, and 5 supervision, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (claims 9 and 10).*fn2
("April 4 hearing"). Having considered the parties' submissions, the parties' oral arguments, and 9 the relevant law, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' Motion for 10 13 amended on December 15, 2011, ECF No. 6 ("Amended Complaint" or "AC"). On February 3, 14
On January 24, 2013, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 32 ("Mot."), and a Motion to Sever Plaintiff Headd, ECF No. 31 ("Mot. to Sever"). On January 17
Presently before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendants' Motion to Sever Plaintiff Headd.*fn3 The Court held a hearing on these motions on April 4, 2013 8 Summary Judgment. The Court DENIES Defendants' Motion to Sever as moot.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiffs filed their first Complaint on September 14, 2011, ECF No. 1, which they then 2012, Defendants answered the Amended Complaint. ECF No. 13 ("Answer"). 30, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an Ex Parte Motion to Extend Time from February 7, 2013, to February 14, 2013, to file oppositions to the Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Sever. ECF No. 42. The Court denied Plaintiffs' Ex Parte Motion to Extend Time. ECF No. 46.*fn4 On February 7, 3 ("Opp'n"). On February 11, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an "Amended Opposition," without an 5 accompanying motion or any form of explanation. See ECF No. 57. On February 14, 2013, 6 Defendants filed their Reply, in which they also moved to strike Plaintiffs' Amended Opposition as 7 untimely. ECF No. 59 ("Reply"), at n.1. Due to the Court's prior denial of an extension of time, 8 and the lack of any explanation accompanying Plaintiffs' Amended Opposition, the Court 9 After the April 4 hearing on these motions, on April 16, 2013, Plaintiffs submitted a declaration and attached document that Plaintiffs stated was erroneously excluded from the exhibits accompanying their Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 75.
2013, Plaintiffs filed an Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 50 4 GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' Amended Opposition. 10
The Court issued an Order stating its rulings on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Sever on April 30, 2013, ECF No. 98. The Court stated its reasons for its 15 rulings as to Plaintiff Burrell at the pre-trial conference on May 2, 2013, ECF No. 132.
Rule 7-3(a), as Plaintiffs did not include the evidentiary objections within their 30-page 20 Opposition. Instead, Plaintiffs raised their evidentiary objections in a separate two-page document. 21
But see Civil L. R. 7-3(a) ("Any evidentiary and procedural objections to the motion must be 22 contained within the brief or memorandum."). Accordingly, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiffs' 23 evidentiary objections for failure to comply with Civil Local Rule 7-3(a).
Court's schedule could not accommodate an extension of time as it would interfere with 28 preparation for the upcoming trial.
II. EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS
Both parties filed objections to the evidence submitted in relation to the Motion for Summary Judgment. However, Plaintiffs' evidentiary objections fail to comply with Civil Local 19
Hayter, and Margaret Headd, as well as four other accompanying declarations submitted as 4 exhibits supporting Plaintiffs' Opposition. To the extent that the Court relies on this disputed 5 evidence, the Court addresses the evidentiary objections below. The Court does not rely on the 6 remaining evidence and thus need not reach the remaining objections. However, the Court 7
Plaintiffs' declarations that make legal conclusions regarding which issues are "triable." See, e.g., 9
Defendants properly submitted evidentiary objections in their Reply. See ECF No. 59.
Defendants object to significant portions of the declarations of Plaintiffs Alma Burrell, Vickye 3
SUSTAINS Defendants' objections under Fed. R. Evid. 402 and 602 to the repeated statements in 8
Decl. of Alma Burrell ("Burrell Decl."), ECF No. 53, ¶ 11 ("There is a triable issue of fact as to 10 whether I was discriminated against on the basis of race and gender[.]"); Decl. of Vickye Hayter
("Hayter Decl."), ECF No. 54, ¶ 9 ("There is a triable issue of fact as to whether my race was a
motivating factor in the County's decision to pay me for only seventy (70) day [sic] . . ."); Decl. of 13
Margaret Headd ("Headd Decl."), ECF No. 55, ¶ 19 ("There is a triable issue of fact as to whether 14 the County's business reason for denying me a promotion, reinstatement to my former position, or 15 hiring me into a new position is false."). 16
III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiffs Alma Burrell, Vickye Hayter, and Margaret Headd are three female, African
American employees in the Santa Clara County Public Health Department ("PHD"). Each Plaintiff 19 alleges employment discrimination by the County, though based on different factual circumstances. 20
22 degree in Public Health, started working for the County approximately fifteen years ago. See 23
Alma Burrell ("Burrell Dep."), at 16:20-22. Burrell's current position is Health Care Program 25
Health Education Specialist at the Black Infant Health Program ("BIH"), and then as a Program 27
A. Alma Burrell
Alma Burrell, who holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Science and aMasters
Burrell Decl. ¶ 4; see also Decl. of Melissa Kiniyalocts ("MK Decl."), ECF No. 33, Ex. A, Dep. of 24
Manager II ("HCPM II"). Burrell Decl. ¶ 2. Prior to working as HCPM II, Burrell worked as a 26
Manager I. See Burrell Dep. 21:1-8. 28
3 that resulted in the reclassification of many employees. Burrell Dep. at 27:6-19; Decl. of Joanne 4
American employees as Senior Health Care Program Managers ("SrHCPM"), a higher level than 6
Burrell asked her manager, Dolores Alvarado, about the criteria that were used to determine 8 the reclassifications. See Burrell Dep. at 30:6-31:11; 34:11-17. Alvarado explained that the 9 classification "was based on complexity of your job, span of control, and . . . the number of staff or 10 type of staff." Burrell Dep. at 30:16-20. Burrell did not think that the reclassification was fair, however, because there were other employees promoted to SrHCPM positions who "had less span
of control and managed fewer or no employees" than Burrell. Burrell Decl. ¶ 4; Burrell Dep. 13
At some point thereafter, Burrell asked Alvarado about the prospects for getting promoted
15 to a SrHCPM position. Burrell Dep. 57:15-16. According to Burrell, Alvarado responded by 16 telling Burrell that she "needed to be patient" and that "other people [we]re involved in making 17 those decisions as well." Id. at 57:18-20. Specifically, PHD Administrative Services Manager, 18
Rae Wedel, allegedly said that Burrell "had not paid [her] dues" and that she was "moving up too 19 fast." Id. at 58:1-9. Burrell asked Alvarado if the reason that she was not getting promoted to 20
SrHCPM was because of her race. Alvarado responded by saying, "on [Alvarado's] part, no." Id. 21 at 59:9-10. Burrell then asked, "What about Rae? . . . D[oes] Rae have a problem with my race?" 22
Id. at 59:10-11. Alvarado allegedly responded by saying, "I hope not. I hope that is not . . . it." 23
Burrell complained about the results of the reclassification study to her union, but her union
25 representative said that he was not going to file a grievance because of a promise he made to the 26
Board of Supervisors. Id. at 36:22-39:23. Burrell's union representative did, however, organize a 27 meeting with Burrell and her supervisors to discuss the subject. Id. at 36:22-39:23. According to
1. 2002 Reassignment
In 2002,Burrell's job title changed from Program Manager I to HCPM II following a study
Cox ("Cox Decl."), ECF No. 36, ¶ 5. At that time, the County reclassified other, non-African 5
HCPM II. See Burrell Decl. ¶ 4; Burrell Dep. 30:23-31:11. 7
Id. at 59:12-13. 24
Burrell, the meeting ended without resolution. Id. at 39:23. Burrell subsequently formed the 2 opinion that her reclassification was due to her race. Id. at 34:11-35:10. *fn5
2. 2008 Appointment
Around 2006, Burrell contends that she and Alvarado discussed Burrell's interest in a
SrHCPM position that included responsibility over the HIV/AIDS Program. Alvarado allegedly 6 started preparing Burrell for this position, which included sending Burrell to two conferences about 7
77:1. However, on January 28, 2008, PHD employee "J.M.," a European-American, was 9 administratively transferred into the position when his SrHCPM position was deleted due to budget 10 cuts. Id. at 71:9-20; 72:9-19; Cox Decl. ¶ 6. According to Defendants, J.M. was entitled to the
administrative transfer under the County's labor agreement with the union and its Merit System
Rules. Cox Decl. ¶ 6. 13
In July of 2008, at Alvarado's suggestion, Burrell submitted a "Classification Review" *fn6
request to Alvarado, asking that Burrell's position of HCPM II be reviewed to determine if the 16 appropriate classification for her responsibilities was a SrHCPM. Cox. Decl. ¶ 7. Alvarado 17 reviewed and signed the form and forwarded it to the County's Employee Services Agency 18
("Alvarado Dep.") at 116:12-17; Cox. Decl. ¶ 7. After Burrell's request was denied, she and her 20 union representative met with Senior Human Resources Analyst, Christine Goodson, to discuss the 21 denial on October 16, 2008. Burrell Dep. at 94:21-95:6; 97:14-98:11; Decl. of Christine Goodson 22
("Goodson Decl."), ECF No. 38, ¶¶ 3-4. Following the meeting, Burrell asked Goodson to provide 23 a written explanation of the reclassification denial. Goodson Decl. ¶ 5. On November 3, 2008, 24
HIV/AIDS and having Burrell tell her staff about the upcoming transfer. See Burrell Dep. at 74:3-8
3. 2008 Application for Reclassification
("ESA") for processing. See Burrell Dep. at 93:6-7; MK Decl., Ex. E, Dep. of Dolores Alvarado 19
Goodson provided Burrell a written response in which Goodson stated that Burrell was properly 2 classified based on her breadth of responsibility, independent judgment, program knowledge, 3 supervision exercised, and supervision received. Id. ¶ 6. 4
Burrell believes that the denial of her reclassification was based on her race. See Burrell
Dep. at 103:2-11. She alleges that Goodson did not conduct any investigation into the position 6 before denying Burrell's request, and that Goodson's stated reasons for the denial were erroneous. 7
Burrell did not supervise other managers, and that a SrHCPM would necessarily serve on an 9 146:1-147:25); Burrell Decl. ¶¶ 25, 31.
Specifically, Burrell states that Goodson based her Classification Report on the false assertions that 8
Executive team. See Opp'n at 4 (citing MK Decl., Ex. D, Dep. of Rae Wedel ("Wedel Dep.") at 10
13 in applying for "reallocation"*fn7 from a Public Health Nurse ("PHN") II to a PHN III. Burrell Dep. 14 at 211:10-15; MK Decl., Ex. B, Dep. of Vickye Hayter ("Hayter Dep.") at 115:22-25. Burrell 15 alleges that Alvarado warned Burrell that she would be looked upon unfavorably if she continued 16 to support Hayter's request for reclassification. Burrell Dep. at 219:14-220:3. 17
Burrell's support of Hayter's application for reclassification. Burrell is inconsistent as to whether 20 the removal of responsibility occurred in 2008 or 2009. Compare Burrell Dep. at 126:7-8; 128:15-21
(declaring that Alvarado removed these programs on July 16, 2008, while Burrell's own 23
4. Burrell's Support of Hayter's Application for Reallocation In 2007 and 2008, Burrell supported Hayter, one of the women Burrell supervised in BIH, According to Burrell, Alvarado then removed Burrell's responsibility over the Maternal Child and Adolescent Health ("MCAH") program, as well as another program, in retaliation for 19 130:3 (citing 2009 as the year that Alvarado removed these programs), with Burrell Decl. at ¶38 application for reclassification was pending). Burrell also alleges that the removal of these 2 programs interfered with her request to be reclassified as a SrHCPM. Burrell Decl. ¶ 38.
5 working "out of class" in a SrHCPM position held by "D.F.," who was out of the office on medical 6 leave. See Cox Decl. ¶ 8. 7 In February of 2010, Burrell met with her new manager, Charis Subil, to discuss a plan 8 created by Burrell to get promoted to SrHCPM. Burrell Dep. at 137:9-20. Subil allegedly thought 9 Peddycord. Burrell Dep. 138:6-9. Subil allegedly told Burrell that she thought Burrell should be promoted. Burrell Dep. 147:2-3. In March of 2010, Burrell met with Peddycord to discuss Burrell's promotion into a SrHCPM "code." Burrell Decl. ¶ 45. Burrell alleges that Peddycord 13 was initially enthusiastic about Burrell's proposal during the March 2010 meeting, and said that he 14 would support any decision made by Subil. Id.; Burrell Dep. at 146:11-17. 15 On April 5, 2010, as part of the PHD Fiscal Year 2011 Budget, the County permanently 16 transferred C.M. into D.F.'s SrHCPM position, and deleted C.M.'s former HCPM II position. See 17 In September of 2010, Burrell met with Peddycord and Subil to discuss Burrell's request to 19 be made a SrHCPM. Burrell Dep. at 147:17-149:12. Burrell contends that Peddycord told her she 20 would not be promoted because Burrell had not participated in H1N1 activities. Id. at 148:15-19. 21 Burrell says that she told Peddycord that she was on medical leave for three or four weeks and, 22 when she returned, Alvarado prohibited her from participating in different H1N1 outreach groups. 23 SrHCPM code that was previously held by PHD employee, D.F. Id. at 158:15-21. Burrell 25 contends that Peddycord said he would get back to her in two weeks, but never did. Id. at 160:23-26
5. 2010 Denial of Promotion
In October of 2009, "C.M.," another PHD employee also classified as a HCPM II, began Burrell's proposal was "a good idea," and that she would take it to the new PHD Director, Dan 10 Cox Decl. ¶ 6. 18 Id. at 149:6-12; 152:5-18. Burrell further alleges that she expressed interest at that meeting in a 24 County alleges that there was no requirement that the County post the SrHCPM position, accept 4 applications for the position, or interview candidates. Cox. Decl. ¶ 8. 5
In October of 2010, Burrell learned that C.M. had been promoted from HCPM II to the SrHCPM position previously held by D.F. Burrell Dep. at 166:2-167:13; Cox. Decl. ¶ 8. The 3 6. 2010 Department of Fair Employment and Housing Complaint Burrell filed a complaint alleging discrimination based on race with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") on October 26, 2010, based on the September 2010 denial of 8 her request for a promotion. MK Decl. Ex. G. On May 27, 2011, the DFEH issued Burrell a right-9 to-sue notice. Id. 10 Vickie Hayter is an African American woman who holds a Bachelors of Nursing degree and a Masters of Science degree in Health Science. Hayter Decl. at ¶ 2, p .1,*fn8 ¶ 17. She began 13 working for the County in 2001, and transferred to the PHD in 2004, where she worked in the BIH 14 program. Hayter Dep. at 18:6-19:1, 22:23-23:15. Hayter was classified as a PHN II beginning in 15 March of 2005. Cox Decl. ¶ 9.
In December of 2005, Hayter applied for reallocation of her position from PHN II to PHN III. Cox Decl. ¶ 10. On February 21, 2006, Hayter's application was denied, purportedly because 19 she failed to meet the PHN III position's general requirement of working as a PHN for at least 20 three years. Hayter Dep. at 42:14-43:9; Cox Decl. ¶ 12. Hayter was on maternity leave at that 21 point, and she alleges that she was told that she could not have the decision reviewed because the 22 dates for review could not be adjusted. Hayter Dep. at 51:3-53:16. Defendants note that Hayter 23 did not request an allocation review hearing. Cox Decl. ¶ 12. 24 25 26 27
B. Vickye Hayter
1. December 2005 Application for Reallocation
2. January 2007 Application for Reclassification In January of 2007, Hayter applied for reclassification from PHN II to PHN III. Hayter Dep. at 55:14-19; 57:12-17; Cox Decl. ¶ 13.*fn9 On April 6, 2007, the application was denied on the 4 ground that she was performing duties consistent with a PHN II. Hayter Dep. at 59:12-61:25; Cox 5 Decl. ¶ 15. Hayter did not appeal this decision. Cox Decl. ¶ 15.
3. December 2007 Application for Reallocation
In December of 2007, Hayter applied again for reallocation from PHN II to PHN III.
Hayter Dep. at 65:5-11; Cox Decl. ¶ 16. Human Resources Analyst Kathy Buchanan 9 recommended that Hayter's application for reallocation be granted, Cox Decl. ¶ 16, but PHD 10 administration believed that Hayter was performing PHN II level duties and should not be reclassified. Wedel Dep. at 413:17-23; 414:22-415:3; Alvarado Dep. at 315:18-23; 324: 11-22.
Human Resources Director Joanne Cox states that she determined that Hayter may have been 13 performing some duties that were not PHN II duties, including researching and preparing grants for 14 her department, and therefore was performing her job in a manner inconsistent with County Policy. 15
Cox Decl. ¶ 17. On April 9, 2008, these duties were removed. Id. Cox alleges that she did not 16 know Hayter's race at the time that Cox recommended the removal of Hayter's extra duties. Id. 17
18 she would be paid for 70 days of working out of class, the number of work days from when Hayter 19 first submitted her Position Classification Questionnaire to her supervisor to the date of the 20 County's response. Cox Decl. ¶ 18. 21 alleging that the County denied her the right to arbitrate her request for reallocation. Hayter Dep. 24 Relations Department responded that she was not entitled to arbitration. Pineda Decl. ¶ 5. 26
On April 10, 2008, Hayter was notified that her position would not be reallocated, but that
4. Hayter's Grievance of the Third Denial of Reclassification
On May 6, 2008, Hayter filed a grievance with the County Labor Relations department,
81:12-13; Decl. of Pablo Pineda ("Pineda Decl."), ECF No. 35, ¶ 3-4. The County's Labor
On April 21, 2008, Hayter met with Kacy Snodgrass, SEIU Local 715 Contracts
Enforcement Specialist, and Alvarado. Hayter Decl. ¶ 12. At this meeting, Alvarado purportedly 3 accused Hayter of smirking, and subsequently told Burrell that Hayter had been rude and 4 unprofessional. Id. 5
6 a labor relations representative to discuss Hayter's grievance regarding the denial of her 7 reallocation, the amount of her compensation for working out of class, and the appropriate scope of 8 her work at BIH. Hayter Dep. at 102:3-15; Burrell Dep. at 218:13-19. Hayter states that Wedel 9 made a comment to the effect of: "the African-American population is only about 2.9 percent in 10
In April of 2010, Hayter and her union representative met with Wedel, Burrell, Pineda, and Santa Clara County, and that's pretty insignificant, and I was only serving a small percentage of those." Hayter Dep. 46:7-46:25.*fn10 See also Burrell Dep. 267: 1-23. Burrell also alleges that, after United States District Court For the Northern District of California this meeting, Wedel made a comment about "these people." Burrell Dep. at 241:4-241:5.
Hayter was on maternity leave with her third child followed by a medical leave from
September of 2010 until January of 2012. Hayter Dep. at 41:16-18. 15
5. Hayter's Two Applications to be A Public Health Nurse Manager
Hayter applied twice to work as a Public Health Nurse Manager ("PHNM positions"). Hayter Dep. at 30:3-13; Decl. of Sherae Moresco ("Moresco Decl."), ECF No. 37, ¶ 12; Decl. of Laura Brunetto ("Brunetto Decl."), ECF No. 40, ¶ 4. Defendants allege that Hayter was denied the first position because she lacked supervisory experience, and the second because another person, "G.A.," was selected who scored higher than Hayter on various selection criteria. Moresco Decl. ¶ 12; Brunetto Decl. ¶ 4.
6. Hayter's Promotion to PHN III In June of 2011, the County notified Hayter that her PHN II code in the BIH program was deleted as the State changed the focus of the program to a more psychosocial model, and that she would be reassigned to a PHN II in Regional Services. Hayter Dep. at 147:15-19; Cox Decl. ¶ 19.
Hayter does not claim that this reassignment was discriminatory in nature. Hayter Dep. at 147:23-2 149:11. Hayter began working at Regional Services when she returned from her maternity and 3 medical leave in January of 2012. Id. at 41:16-18. 4 On April 30, 2012, Hayter was promoted to PHN III after applying and interviewing for a 5 vacant position. Hayter Dep. at 146:20-147:6; Moresco Decl. ¶ 13; Cox Decl. ¶ 20. 6 7. 2010 DFEH Complaint
On November 18, 2010, Hayter filed a complaint with the DFEH alleging discrimination 8 based on race due to an alleged denial of a promotion on April 29, 2010. MK Decl., Ex. H. On 9 July 14, 2011, the DFEH issued a right-to-sue notice. Id. On August 23, 2011, Hayter filed a 10 complaint with the DFEH alleging denial of promotion, retaliation, and denial of a pregnancy accommodation, on the basis of sex, race/color, and retaliation for engaging in protected activity or requesting a protected leave of accommodation. Id. This complaint referred to the denials of 13 Hayter's 2007 and 2008 applications for reallocation/reclassification. Id. On August 23, 2011, the 14 DFEH issued a right-to-sue notice. Id.
C. Margaret Headd
Margaret Headd is an African American woman who holds a Bachelors of Science in Health Science degree and a Masters degree in Public Health. Headd Decl. ¶ 2. She began 18 working at the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department in 2003. MK Decl., Ex. C, Dep. 19 of Margaret Headd ("Headd Dep.") at 19:16-23. From 2003 until January of 2006, Headd held 20 various non-permanent statuses. Cox Decl. ¶ 21. In May of 2006, Headd obtained permanent 21 status in a position with the County, when she was hired as a Health Education Specialist ("HES"). 22
Headd Dep. at 32:2-7; Cox Decl. ¶ 25. Headd began treatment for cancer in December of 2008, 23 and remained on medical leave until October of 2009. Headd Dep. at 34:9-14; 37:13-15. On May 24 18, 2009, while on leave, Headd learned that she was being laid off due to budget reductions. 25 Headd Dep. at 56:15-57:3; 174:2-9.
3 in being assigned to a new position through the County's in-placement process, by which the 4
County can transfer laid-off employees to suitable vacant positions if the employee has no right to 5 claim another position. Headd Dep. 172:24-178:25; Cox Decl. ¶ 29. On or about July 1, 2009, 6
County's reemployment list.*fn11 Cox Decl. ¶ 32; Headd Dep. at 56:15-21. Headd remained on 8 medical leave for the duration of her appointment in that position. Headd Dep. at 56:15-57:3. 9
1. Inplacement While on Medical Leave on July 1, 2009
Also in May of 2009, after learning that she would be laid off, Headd indicated her interest
Headd was in-placed in a vacant part-time Management Aid ("MA") position, and added to the 7
Headd alleges that "L.I.," a non-African American who was also on medical leave at that time, was 10 inplaced in a more desirable position. Headd Dep. at 90:24-91:22.
13 deleted due to program restructuring. Headd Dep. at 95:15-96:25 & Ex. 7; Cox. Decl. ¶ 35. 14
Infants, and Children ("WIC") Program, effective October 15, 2009. Id. Headd alleges that two 16 other employees, "R.G." and "C.V.," were laid off around the same time that she was 17 administratively transferred, but were subsequently transferred into higher-level positions than 18
Headd. Headd Dep. at 97:7-15, 98:5-9; Headd Decl. ¶ 4. Unlike Headd, R.G. and C.V. had 19 permanent underlying statuses in the positions to which they were transferred. Cox Decl. ¶¶ 25, 20
2. Administrative Transfer of October 15, 2009
United States District Court
For the Northern District of California
While Headd was still on medical leave, the MA position to which she was reassigned was
Headd was then administratively transferred to another part-time MA position in the PHD Women, 15 23 the WIC program until December of 2011. See Headd Dep. at 178:7-12: 59:17-60:24. She alleges 24 that the County did not engage in any interactive process with her to determine any limitations 25 26
3. Headd's Return to Work
In October of 2009, Headd returned from medical leave and remained in her MA position in when she returned to work, and that the County did not inform her of their reasonable 2 accommodation policy, of which she learned in January of 2012. Headd Decl. ¶ 5. 3
5 on December 26, 2009, she applied for a Health Program Specialist ("HPS") position and 6 interviewed for the position on January 21, 2010. Headd Dep. at 182:12-19; Moresco Decl. ¶ 14. 7
McPherson ("McPherson Decl."), ECF No. 41, ¶ 4. Although Headd disputes Defendants' stated 9 reasons for finding that Headd was insufficiently qualified for the position, she acknowledges that 10
3. Headd's Applications for Other Positions
From late 2009 until early 2011, Headd applied to several job openings in the PHD. First,
The job was given to R.G. Headd Dep. at 192:10-20; Moresco Decl. ¶ 14; Decl. of James 8
R.G. was qualified for the position. Id.
On April 29, 2010, Headd applied to transfer into an HPS Position, but was informed that
United States District Court
For the Northern District of California
she was not eligible for the transfer. Headd Dep. at 109:1-3; Moresco Decl. ¶ 15. Headd admits 13 that she was not in fact eligible to transfer into this position because the salary differential between 14 her original position and the new position was too great to qualify as a "transfer." Headd Dep. at 15
In August of 2010, Headd applied for an HPS position with PHD Administration, for which
17 she interviewed on August 27, 2010. Headd Dep. at 109:9-11; 220:9-11; Moresco Decl. ¶ 16. 18
Defendants allege that Headd was not selected for the position because she "lack[ed] experience in 19 both program management and administrative processes," and lacked knowledge of County 20 government processes. Moresco Decl. ¶ 16; Wedel Dep. 284:23-285:15; 288:15-18. Defendants 21 further allege that Headd did not submit a writing sample as requested, and that her application 22 materials contained multiple spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors. Moresco Decl. ¶ 16; 23
Wedel Dep. 290:20-291:8. Headd alleges that she had sufficient experience in management and 24 administrative processes, and that Wedel never requested a writing sample. Headd Decl. ¶¶ 8-9. 25
In November or December of 2010, Headd applied for a Senior Health Care Program
Analyst transfer position but was not referred for an interview, allegedly for lack of sufficient 27 experience. Moresco Decl. ¶ 17; Headd Decl. ¶ 12. 28
On January 4, 2011, Headd applied for an HPS promotional position. Moresco Decl. ¶ 18.
Headd interviewed for the position, but was not selected to advance to a second round of 3 interviews. Headd Dep. at 184:23-185:17; Moresco Decl. ¶ 18; Decl. of Barbara Broderick 4
("Broderick Decl."), ECF No. 39, ¶ 4. Another PHD employee, "J.P.," was ultimately chosen for 5 the job, allegedly based on specific components of his past work experience. Moresco Decl. ¶ 18; 6
On July 27, 2011, Headd applied for a Health Planning Specialist II position and a Health
Care Program Analyst ("HCPA") II position. Moresco Decl. ¶ 19. The first position was deleted 9 before interviews were conducted, and Headd was told she lacked the depth and scope of analytical 10 and administrative experience required for the classification of the second position. Id. On
September 19, 2011, Headd interviewed for an HPS position, but another PHD employee, "L.C.," was selected, allegedly because she better matched the criteria for the job. Moresco Decl. ¶ 20; 13
On December 30, 2011, Headd accepted an offer from the County reemployment list for an
HES position. Headd Dep. at 169:21-170:20; 247:18-248:1; Moresco Decl. ¶ 21. 16
On June 7, 2011, Headd filed a DFEH complaint alleging discrimination based on race, sex,
18 age, and medical condition (cancer) based on her denial of promotions in August of 2010 and 19
February of 2011. Headd Dep. at 348:6-349:21 & Ex. 4. The DFEH issued
a right-to-sue notice 20 on the same date. MK Decl., Ex. I. On June
28, 2011, Headd filed an amended complaint alleging 21 discrimination
based on race, sex, age, disability, and medical condition and alleged
the same 22 particulars as her June 7, 2011 complaint. Headd Dep. at
348:6-349:21 & Ex. 4. On August 29, 23
2011, the DFEH issued a second right-to-sue notice. MK Decl., Ex. I.
dispute as to any material fact, and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 27
Broderick Decl. ¶ 6. 7
Broderick Decl. ¶¶ 8, 10. 14
5. 2011 DFEH Complaint
IV. LEGAL STANDARD
A court shall grant summary judgment when it is demonstrated that there exists no genuine See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). The party 28 seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing a court of the basis for its motion 2 and of identifying the portions of the declarations, pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an 3 absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 4
(1986). A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See 5
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986). A dispute is "genuine" as to a 6 material fact if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-7 moving party. See Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006). 8 9 affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the movant. See 10
Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant must
Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). Where the non-moving
party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that negates an essential element of the non-moving party's claim or by merely pointing 13 out that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's 14 claim. See Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 15
2000). If a moving party fails to carry its burden of production, then "the non-moving party has no 16 obligation to produce anything, even if the non-moving party would have the ultimate burden of 17 persuasion." Id. If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing 18 party to establish that a genuine dispute as to any material fact actually exists. See Matsushita 19
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The opposing party cannot "rest 20 upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleading but must instead produce evidence that sets 21 forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." See Estate of Tucker, 515 F.3d 22
The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed, and all reasonable inferences that may 24 be drawn from the facts placed before a court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. See 25 Stegall v. Citadel Broad, Inc., 350 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2003). However, "[b]ald assertions 26 that genuine issues of material fact exist are insufficient." See Galen v. County of Los Angeles, 477 27 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
F.3d 652, 658 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Day v. Sears Holdings Corp., No.11-09068, 2013 WL 28 1010547, *4 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013) ("Conclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and 2 moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment."). 3
Further, a "motion for summary judgment may not be defeated . . . by evidence that is 'merely 4 colorable' or 'is not significantly probative.'" See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50; see also Hardage 5 v. CBS Broad. Inc., 427 F.3d 1177, 1183 (9th Cir. 2006) (same). If the nonmoving party fails to 6 produce evidence sufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact, the moving party is entitled 7 to summary judgment. See Nissan Fire & Marine, 210 F.3d at 1103. 8
Plaintiffs' ten causes of action can be grouped into two distinct
categories. Plaintiffs' first
set of claims arise from California's Fair Employment and Housing
Act ("FEHA"), are subject to
the procedural requirements of that statute, and are brought only against Defendant County. These claims consist of: (1) retaliation in violation of FEHA (first cause of action); (2) failure to protect 13 from discrimination under FEHA (second cause of action); (3) disparate treatment discrimination 14 in violation of FEHA (third, fourth, and fifth causes of action); and (4) disparate impact 15 discrimination in violation of FEHA (sixth, seventh, and eight causes of action). Plaintiffs' second 16 distinct category of claims allege violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and are brought against all 17
(2) retaliation for exercising free speech (tenth cause of action). 19
20 causes of action that were not included in the Amended Complaint. The Court will not consider 21 claims raised for the first time at summary judgment which Plaintiffs did not raise in their 22 pleadings. See Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1292 (9th Cir. 2000) ("A complaint 23 guides the parties' discovery, putting the defendant on notice of the evidence it needs to adduce in 24 order to defend against the plaintiff's allegations."); see also Pickern v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.), Inc., 25 457 F.3d 963, 968 (9th Cir. 2006) (noting that plaintiff could not raise new factual allegations at 26 summary judgment because allegations not included in the complaint failed to "give the defendant 27 28
Defendants for (1) negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention (ninth cause of action); and 18
Plaintiffs' Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment alleges numerous facts and fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim [were] and the grounds upon which [they] rest[ed]," as 2 required by Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). 3
The Court first addresses each Plaintiff's individual FEHA disparate treatment and FEHA
4 retaliation claims against Defendant County (Plaintiffs' first, third, fourth, and fifth causes of 5 action), and then collectively addresses Plaintiffs' FEHA disparate impact claims against 6
Defendant County (Plaintiffs' sixth, seventh, and eighth causes of action); Plaintiffs' FEHA failure 7 to protect claim against Defendant County (Plaintiffs' second cause of action); and Plaintiffs' 1983 8 claims against all Defendants (Plaintiffs' ninth and tenth causes of action). For the reasons stated 9 below, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion with respect to Plaintiff Burrell's FEHA disparate 10 treatment claim alleging discrimination on the basis of race in 2010 (Plaintiffs' third cause of
action), and further DENIES Defendants' motion with respect to Plaintiff Burrell's FEHA failure to protect claim (Plaintiffs' second cause of action). The Court GRANTS Defendants' motion with 13 respect to all other claims, which include all claims against the individual Defendants Dan 14
Peddycord, Rae Wedel, and Marty Fenstersheib. 15
17 and retaliation claims, contending that Burrell failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, and 18 filed her claims after the statute of limitations expired. Defendants further argue that Burrell has 19 not rebutted Defendants' legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for their failure to promote Burrell. 20
The Court addresses each in turn. 21
25 administrative remedies. See Rojo v. Kliger, 52 Cal. 3d 65, 83 (1990). Exhaustion requires filing a 26 complaint with the DFEH within one year of the date of the alleged unlawful practice and then 27 obtaining a notice of the right to sue. Cal. Gov't Code § 12960; see Romano v. Rockwell Int'l, Inc., 28
A. Plaintiff Burrell's Disparate Treatment and Retaliation Claims under FEHA
Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiff Burrell's FEHA disparate treatment
1. Defendants' FEHA Administrative Exhaustion and Statute of
a. Insufficient Exhaustion Bars Burrell's Gender and Age Discrimination Claims
Prior to bringing a civil suit on a FEHA cause of action, a plaintiff must exhaust her
14 Cal. 4th 479, 492 (1996). Failure to exhaust deprives the court of jurisdiction over a plaintiff's 2 cause of action. Miller v. United Airlines, Inc., 174 Cal. App. 3d 878, 890 (1985). 3
4 unlawful by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the claimant must specify that act in the 5 administrative complaint, even if the complaint does specify other cognizable wrongful acts." 6
Martin v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., 29 Cal. App. 4th 1718, 1724 (1994). "The scope of the 7 written administrative charge defines the permissible scope of the subsequent civil action." 8
209 Cal. App. 3d 1116, 1121-23 (1989)). "Allegations in the civil complaint that fall outside of the 10 scope of the administrative charge are barred for failure to exhaust." Id.
Cal. Gov't Code § 12920; Cal. Gov't Code § 12993(a). Therefore, the district court does have 14 jurisdiction over a civil claim if it is "reasonably related to the allegations of the [administrative] 15 charge." Oubichon v. North Am. Rockwell Corp., 482 F.2d 569, 571 (9th Cir. 1973); see Nazir v. 16
United Airlines, Inc., 178 Cal. App. 4th 243, 268 (2009) ("[W]hat is submitted to the DFEH must 17 not only be construed liberally in favor of the plaintiff, it must be construed in light of what might 18 be uncovered by a reasonable investigation"); see also Okoli v. Lockheed Tech. Operations, 36 Cal. 19
App. 4th 1607, 1615 (1995) (noting, in the analogous EEOC context, that "if an investigation of 20 what was charged in the [administrative complaint] would necessarily uncover other incidents that 21 were not charged, the latter incidents could be included in a subsequent action.") (emphasis in 22 original). Thus, "[i]t is sufficient that the [DFEH] be apprised, in general terms, of the alleged 23 discriminatory parties and the alleged discriminatory acts." Nazir, 178 Cal. App. 4th at 267 24
The parties do not dispute that Burrell exhausted her administrative remedies as to her
26 racial discrimination claim based on the September 3, 2010 denial of her promotion. Because 27
For a Plaintiff "[t]o exhaust his or her administrative remedies as to a particular act made Rodriguez v. Airborne Express, 265 F.3d 890, 897 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Yurick v. Superior Court, 9
However, in order to accomplish the broad purposes of FEHA-including the elimination of employment discrimination-these procedural requirements are to be construed liberally. See 13
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 25
Burrell filed a DFEH complaint alleging racial discrimination on October 26, 2010, which was based on the September 3, 2010 denial of her promotion, and then obtained a right to sue letter 2 from the DFEH on May 27, 2011, there is no question that Burrell timely exhausted her 3 administrative remedies. See MK Decl., Ex. G ("Burrell DFEH Complaint"). 4
5 not explicitly alleged in Burrell's October 26, 2010 DFEH complaint, are "reasonably related" to 6
The question here is whether Burrell's gender and age discrimination claims, which were
Burrell's racial allegations such that they may be considered properly exhausted by those charged 7 allegations and the Court thus has jurisdiction over them. Burrell contends that her gender and age 8 discrimination claims are "reasonably related" to her racial discrimination claim because there is a 9 strong likelihood that the DFEH investigation into her racial discrimination claim "would reveal 10 that, in addition to her race, there were gender and age . . . claims." Opp'n at 17.
In support of Burrell's position that her gender and age discrimination claims are reasonably related to her racial discrimination claim, Burrell cites to the letter that she wrote that 13 accompanied her DFEH form complaint. This letter, in part, states the following: 14
coming available, management took away a portion of my responsibilities to lessen my case for promotion. When the promotion was given to another Caucasian co- worker (who did not at all meet the requirements), I was then given a significant portion of her duties. Essentially, the workload of the promoted staff was lightened while I took on more (her work) with no compensation.
Opp'n at 17 (citing language found in Burrell Decl., Ex. 37) (emphasis added). Burrell contends 19 that the reference to a Caucasian co-worker in this letter was sufficient to trigger a broad 20 investigation based on gender and age because men and women make up the class of "Caucasian 21 workers." See Opp'n at 17. However, Burrell's letter indicates that the Caucasian co-worker was 22 of the same gender as Burrell, female. In addition, this letter makes no reference to age. 23
Therefore, it is not clear why Burrell's DFEH complaint based on racial discrimination would 24 reasonably trigger an investigation into discrimination on the basis of either gender or age. See 25
Okoli, 36 Cal. App. 4th at 1615 (noting that it would not be proper to expand a claim "when the 26 difference between the charge and the complaint is a matter of adding an entirely new basis for the 27 alleged discrimination. . . . For instance, a complaint alleging race discrimination is neither 'like or 28
Case No.: 11-CV-04569-LHK
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
More recently, with the knowledge that another opportunity for promotion was related to' nor likely to be discovered in a 'reasonable' investigation of a charge of sex 2 discrimination.'") (internal citation omitted); cf. Rodriguez v. Airborne Express, 265 F.3d 890, 8983
(9th Cir. 2001) (holding that exhaustion of administrative remedies alleging discrimination on the 4 grounds of being Mexican-American was insufficient to exhaust a claim of disability 5 discrimination); Stallcop v. Kaiser Found. Hosps., 820 F.2d 1044, 1050 (9th Cir. 1987) (holding 6 that allegations of sex and age discrimination in civil complaint were not encompassed by charge 7 filed with the DFEH alleging only national origin discrimination). 8
9 discrimination claims because they were not raised in her DFEH complaint and accompanying 10 letter, and are not reasonably related to her racial discrimination claim. Accordingly, Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment as to Burrell's gender and age discrimination claims is GRANTED. 13
15 barred by FEHA's statute of limitations because each occurred more than one year before Burrell's 16
October 26, 2010 DEFH filing. Mot. at 18. Specifically, Defendants contend that Burrell's 2002 17 reassignment as an HCPM II, Burrell's 2008 denial of promotion in favor of J.M., and the 2008 18 denial of Burrell's application for reclassification all occurred more than one year before October 19
To be timely, a DFEH complaint must be filed within one year of the alleged violation. See
Cal. Govt. Code § 12960(d). While Section 12960(d) includes certain exceptions to the statute of 22 limitations, Plaintiffs do not assert that any of these exceptions apply to this case.*fn12 Instead, 23
Code § 12960(d) specifically provides for a 90-day extension of FEHA's one year limitations period in instances of delayed discovery of an unlawful practice. Here, Burrell has not identified 27 the delayed discovery of an unlawful practice, nor argued that she filed her complaint within 90 28 days of such practice. Cf. McDonald v. Antelope Valley Cmty. Coll. Dist., 45 Cal. 4th 88, 106, 194
Burrell has not exhausted her administrative remedies as to her gender and age
b. Statute of Limitations Bars Burrell's 2002-2009 Claims
Defendants also argue that each employment decision for Burrell between 2002 and 2009 is
Plaintiffs cite the "continuing violations doctrine," which allows plaintiffs to seek remedies for 2 actions that otherwise would be time-barred, if these actions are sufficiently linked to unlawful 3 conduct that occurred within the limitations period. See Yanowitz v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 36 Cal. 4th 4
1028, 1057-59 (2005) (noting the underlying policy of discouraging early litigation and the 5 adjudication of unripe claims). 6
7 outside of the limitations period should be viewed as a single, actionable course of conduct 8 because: "(1) the actions are sufficiently similar in kind; (2) they occur with sufficient frequency; 9 and (3) they have not acquired a degree of 'permanence' so that employees are on notice that 10 further efforts at informal conciliation with the employer to obtain accommodation or end
To establish a continuing violation, a plaintiff must establish that the actions occurring
harassment would be futile." Richards v. CH2M Hill, Inc., 26 Cal. 4th 798, 823 (2001); see
United States District Court
For the Northern District of California
generally Yanowitz, 36 Cal.4th at 1057-59 (extending continuing violations doctrine from 13 accommodation to discrimination claims). In analyzing the applicability of the statute of 14 limitations and the continuing violations doctrine, the Court notes that, unlike in Title VII cases, 15 courts have refused to take a strict approach to the FEHA limitations period, construing the statute 16 of limitations liberally "so as to promote the resolution of potentially meritorious claims on the 17 merits." Romano v. Rockwell Internat., Inc., 14 Cal. 4th 479, 493-94 (1996); see also Yanowitz, 36 18
Cal. 4th at 1057--59 (distinguishing between Title VII and FEHA, and emphasizing FEHA's "twin 19 policy goals of encouraging informal resolution of disputes and avoiding premature lawsuits"). 20
The Court finds that the continuing violations doctrine is inapplicable to this case. Burrell
21 alleges that, since 2002, she suspected that she was being discriminated against based on her race. 22
See Burrell Decl. ¶ 10. She now seeks to challenge specific incidents of discriminatory non-23 promotion. *fn13 See AC ¶ 92 ("Burrell was repeatedly passed over for promotions."). Even if the 24
"has several remedies and, reasonably and in good faith, pursues one.").
2002 and 2008 actions could be considered "sufficiently similar in kind" to the 2010 action, and 2 could be found to have occurred "with reasonable frequency," the Court finds that the 2002 and 3
2008 actions acquired a degree of permanence which should have put Burrell on notice that further 4 efforts at informal conciliation with the employer to end the alleged discrimination would be futile. 5
See Richards, 26 Cal. 4th at 823. Thus, Burrell cannot establish the third element of a continuing 6 violation and these claims are time-barred. 7
Specifically, the Court finds that Burrell's 2002 reassignment as a HCPM II rather than as a
SrHCPM, pursuant to a consultant's classification study, acquired a degree of permanence at the 9 time the decision was made. See Cox Decl. ¶ 5 (describing the County's reclassifications of mid-10 level managers following a consultant's study and a County Board of Supervisors amendment to the County Salary ordinance); Burrell Dep. 32:24-34:10; 36:22-37:5 (explaining that Burrell complained about the results of the study to her union, but the union representative responded that 13 the union did not intend to challenge the study or file a grievance on her behalf). Several courts 14 have found that discrete instances of denials of hiring or promotion are generally made permanent 15 when a plaintiff is informed that he or she has not been hired or promoted to a position. See 16
Morgan v. Regents of Univ. of Cal., 88 Cal. App. 4th 52, 67 (2000) (finding that each decision not 17 to hire an applicant was sufficiently final to bar the applicant's reliance on the continuing 18 violations doctrine); Maridon v. Comcast Cable Commc'ns Mgmt., LLC, No. 12-2109, 2013 WL 19
1786592 at *13 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 25, 2013) (finding that a plaintiff's "failure to secure past 20 promotions in a number of specific, discrete instances" was final as to each incident, even if the 21 plaintiff was not convinced that the employer would never promote her in the future). As with the 22 decisions not to hire or promote the plaintiffs in Morgan and Maridon, Burrell's reclassification 23 appears to be a unique, one-time event. Burrell was on notice, or should have been, that challenges 24 to the reclassification would be futile no later than the time her union declined to take action 25
pattern and practice theory. The Court finds that Plaintiffs' new pattern and practice theory and 26 allegations are not properly before the Court. See Coleman, 232 F.3d at 1292 (complaint guides the parties discovery and puts defendant on notice of evidence needed for its defense); see also 27
Pickern, 457 F.3d at 969 (holding that plaintiff cannot raise new factual allegations of which 28 defendant had no prior notice at summary judgment).
challenging the result. See Morgan, 88 Cal. App. 4th at 67; Maridon, 2013 WL 1786592, at *9-11; 2 see also Gardner v. City of Berkeley, 838 F. Supp. 2d 910, 921 (N.D. Cal. 2012) (finding 3 employment actions final when "[e]ach event involved a final decision to either retire or not 4 reinstate Plaintiff, with no opportunity for further discussion . . . [Although Defendants] could still 5 hire Plaintiff in the future, a final decision was still made to not hire Plaintiff at that time.") 6
(emphasis in original). Thus, a claim based on Burrell's 2002 reassignment is time-barred, because 7 the reassignment became permanent in 2002 and the continuing violations doctrine is inapplicable. 8
Similarly, the Court finds that the 2008 denial of Burrell's promotion and reclassification
9 became permanent at the time the decisions were made. The first 2008 event that Burrell 10 challenges-the appointment of J.M., a non-African American employee, into a SrHCPM position
The second 2008 event that Burrell challenges-the denial of her application for reclassification- 14 also involved a final decision. As with a denial of an application for promotion, the denial of 15
Burrell's request for reclassification involved a specific and discrete application process and 16 acquired permanence after Burrell: (1) met with her union representative and Senior Human 17
Resources Analyst Christine Goodson on October 16, 2008, Goodson Decl. ¶ 5; (2) received a 18 written explanation of the decision on November 3, 2008, Goodson Decl. ¶ 6; and (3) did not 19 pursue an appeal. See Burrell Dep. 123:19-124:16 (stating that Burrell believed that she would not 20 change Goodson's mind about the denial of her request for reclassification, and that Burrell did not 21 pursue a grievance or appeal). Thus, claims based on the 2008 appointment of J.M. and the 2008 22 denial of Burrell's application for reclassification are time-barred because these employment 23 actions became permanent in 2008 and the continuing violations doctrine is inapplicable. See 24
Morgan, 88 Cal. App. 4th at 66; Richards, 26 Cal. 4th at 823. 25 26 27
for which Burrell had been preparing-became final no later than the time when J.M. was
United States District Court
For the Northern District of California
administratively transferred into the position. See Burrell Dep. 71:9-72:19; 76:7-15; Cox Dec. ¶ 6. 13
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to
Burrell's 2002 and 2008 claims.*fn14
c. Ripeness and Insufficient Exhaustion Bar Burrell's Retaliation
Lastly, Defendants challenge Burrell's FEHA retaliation claim as insufficiently exhausted.
Burrell, in addition to the other two Plaintiffs, alleges retaliation under FEHA against the County
on the basis of filing a complaint to the DFEH and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC"). See AC ¶ 81 ("Defendant COUNTY took adverse employment action against Plaintiffs
in violation of [FEHA] by retaliating against Plaintiffs for participating in statutorily protected
activity. Plaintiffs' complaints to the [DFEH] and to the [EEOC] were all protected activities.").
The Court finds Burrell's allegations of retaliation to be either unripe or unexhausted.
First, the only adverse employment actions against Burrell that were alleged in either the DFEH complaint or the federal Amended Complaint took place prior to the filing of the DFEH 14 complaint. See AC ¶ 40 (concluding Burrell's chronological factual recitation with the filing of the 15 DFEH complaint on October 26, 2010); MK Decl., Ex. G (DFEH complaint listing date of most 16 recent discrimination as September 3, 2010). It is illogical that adverse employment actions that 17 occurred prior to the filing of a DFEH complaint would constitute retaliation for the filing of that 18 administrative complaint. At the April 4 hearing, Plaintiffs' counsel could not explain this 19 quandary, and instead stated that the retaliation claim was merely a "prospective pleading," and 20 thus alleged in anticipation of future retaliation after the filing of the DFEH complaint. Plaintiffs' 21 anticipation of "prospective" retaliation is not ripe for this adjudication.
Additionally, although not mentioned in the Amended Complaint's retaliation cause of 23 action, the Amended Complaint's general recitation of facts alleges that Burrell was retaliated 24 against because Burrell supported Hayter's application for reclassification. See AC ¶ 34. In 25 Burrell's declaration, Burrell alleges that this retaliation occurred on July 16, 2008, when Alvarado removed two of the programs for which Burrell was responsible. Burrell Decl. ¶ 38-39; see also 2 Opp'n at 5. In the Amended Complaint and in Burrell's deposition, Burrell alleged that this 3 retaliation occurred in 2009, though she could not remember the month. See AC ¶ 34; Burrell Dep. 4 Even if this allegation were sufficiently pleaded, the Court finds that it was insufficiently 6 exhausted. Burrell's 2010 DFEH complaint refers only to her non-promotion, and does not 7 reference removal of job duties as an act of retaliation. See MD Decl., Ex. G; Burrell Decl., Ex. 8 125:8-17; 128:15-129:6.
37. Moreover, Burrell does not suggest that a DFEH investigation into her charge of 9 discriminatory non-promotion in September of 2010 would have uncovered an alleged act of 10 retaliation for supporting Hayter's promotion in 2008. Compare Wills v. Superior Court, 194 Cal.
App. 4th 312, 157 (2011) (modified) (finding a retaliation claim insufficiently exhausted by a discrimination claim where there was no indication in the administrative complaint of any conduct 13 related to the alleged retaliation), with Washington v. California City Correction Ctr., 871 F. Supp. 14
2d 1010, 1023 (E.D. Cal. 2012) (noting that a retaliation claim could be deemed "like and 15 reasonably related to" a general claim of discrimination when the allegations related to the same 16 adverse employment actions). Therefore, as with Burrell's gender and age discrimination claims, 17 the Court finds this claim to be insufficiently exhausted.*fn15 The Court GRANTS Defendants' 18
Motion for Summary Judgment as to Burrell's retaliation claim. 19
21 allegation of racial discrimination based on disparate treatment. See Mot. at 20. Disparate 22 treatment is "intentional discrimination against one or more persons on prohibited grounds." Guz 23
v. Bechtel Nat. Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 317, 354 n.20 (2000) (emphasis in original). Prohibited 24 discrimination based on disparate treatment occurs when an "employer simply treats some people 25 less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." Teamsters 26
Case No.: 11-CV-04569-LHK
2. Plaintiff Burrell's Surviving Disparate Treatment Claim under FEHA
Next, Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' third cause of action, Burrell's
L'Oreal USA, Inc., 36 Cal. 4th 1028, 1057-59 (2005).
v. United States 431 U.S. 324, 335-336, n.15 (1977). "Proof of discriminatory motive is critical, 2 although it can in some situations be inferred from the mere fact of differences in treatment." Id. 3
4 her race. As a basis for this allegation, Burrell asserts that, in February of 2010, Burrell met with 5 her new manager, Charis Subil, and presented a proposal for her promotion to a SrHCPM position. 6
Then, in March of 2010, Burrell met with the new PHD director, Dan Peddycord, who also 8 expressed support for her proposal. Burrell Decl. ¶ 45. However, in September of 2010, Burrell 9 alleges that she was denied a promotion to the position of SrHCPM without sufficient justification. 10
pending, PHD Administrative Services Manager Rae Wedel appointed a less qualified non-African
American employee, C.M., to fill an open SrHCPM position. See Opp'n at 4-5; MK Decl., Ex. G. 13
14 arguing that, "[t]he County had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for promoting C.M. to 15
SrHCPM." Mot. at 20. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that a genuine dispute of 16 material fact exists as to whether Defendants in fact denied Burrell a promotion for non-17 discriminatory reasons or because of Burrell's race. 18
Burrell alleges that, in 2010, she was improperly denied classification as a SrHCPM due to
Burrell Dep. at 137:9-20. Subil agreed Burrell should be promoted. Burrell Dep. at 138:6-9. 7
AC ¶¶ 38, 92, 93. Burrell contends that, during the time Burrell's proposal for promotion was Defendants dispute that Burrell can establish a disparate treatment claim on this basis,
"California has adopted the three-stage burden-shifting test established by the United States
Supreme Court for trying claims of discrimination . . . based on a theory of disparate treatment." 20
Guz, 24 Cal. 4th at 354 (noting California courts' reliance on the federal burden shifting test 21 articulated in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973)). Generally, to establish a 22 prima facie case of disparate treatment under FEHA, a plaintiff must provide evidence that: 23
[s]he sought or was performing competently in the position [s]he held, (3) [s]he suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination, demotion, or denial of
an available job, and (4) some other circumstance suggests discriminatory motive.
(1) [s]he was a member of a protected class, (2) [s]he was qualified for the position
Id. at 355. Once the prima facie case is established, "the burden shifts to the employer to rebut the 27 presumption by producing admissible evidence, sufficient to raise a genuine issue of fact and to 28 justify a judgment for the [employer], that its action was taken for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory 2 reason." Id. at 355-56 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). If the employer sustains 3 the burden, "[t]he plaintiff must then have the opportunity to attack the employer's proffered 4 reasons as pretexts for discrimination, or to offer any other evidence of discriminatory motive." Id. 5 at 356.However, when an employer moves for summary judgment, "the burden is reversed . . . 6 because the defendant who seeks summary judgment bears the initial burden." Dep't of Fair Emp't 7
& Hous. v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d 728, 745 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Hanson v. Lucky Stores, 8
App. 4th 1718, 1730 (1994) ("A defendant seeking summary judgment must bear the initial burden 10 of showing that the action has no merit, and the plaintiff will not be required to respond unless and Inc., 74 Cal. App. 4th 215, 224 (1999)); see Martin v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., 29 Cal. 9
until the defendant has borne that burden."); see also Rangel v. Am. Med. Response West, No. 09- 01467, 2013 WL 1785907, *9 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 25, 2013) (same).
14 could not establish one of the elements of [the] FEHA claim or (2) there was a legitimate, 15 nondiscriminatory reason for its decision to [take an adverse employment action]." Lawler v. 16
Montblanc N. Am., LLC, 704 F.3d 1235, 1242 (9th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and 17 citations omitted). If the employer meets its burden, the employee must demonstrate either "that 18 the defendant's showing was in fact insufficient or . . . that there was a triable issue of fact material 19 to the defendant's showing." Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d at 746 (quotation omitted). A plaintiff 20 can satisfy this latter option by "'produc[ing] substantial responsive evidence that the employer's 21 showing was untrue or pretextual.'" Id. (quoting Hanson, 74 Cal. App. 4th at 225); see also 22
Godwin v. Hunt Wesson, Inc., 150 F.3d 1217, 1220 (9th Cir. 1998) (holding that a plaintiff "may 23 establish pretext either directly by persuading the court that a discriminatory reason more likely 24 motivated the employer or indirectly by showing that the employer's proffered explanation is 25 unworthy of credence."). 26
27 plaintiff must produce 'specific' and 'substantial' facts to create a triable issue of pretext." Earl v. To prevail on summary judgment, the employer is "required to show either that (1) plaintiff
"Where evidence of pretext is circumstantial, rather than direct," as in this case, "the Nielsen Media Research, Inc., 658 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Godwin, 150 F.3d at 2
1222). "'An employee in this situation cannot simply show the employer's decision was wrong, 3 mistaken or unwise.'" Lucent Techs., Inc.,642 F.3d at 746 (citing Morgan, 88 Cal. App. 4th at 4 75). "'Rather, the employee must demonstrate such weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, 5 incoherencies or contradictions in the employer's proffered legitimate reasons for its action that a 6 reasonable factfinder could rationally find them unworthy of credence . . . and hence infer that the 7 employer did not act for the . . . non-discriminatory reasons.'" Id. (internal quotation marks and 8 citation omitted). Nevertheless, the Ninth Circuit has made clear that courts should be cautious in 9 granting summary judgment for employers on discrimination claims. See Lam v. University of 10
Hawai'i, 40 F.3d 1551, 1564 (9th Cir. 1994) (amended) (finding that the ultimate question in a
discrimination case can only be resolved through a "searching inquiry") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 13
14 treatment. Rather, Defendants state that there were legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for 15 promoting C.M. rather than Burrell to a SrHCPM position. Defendants set forth evidence that: (1) 16
C.M. worked temporarily in the SrHCPM position for six months prior to receiving the promotion, 17 while D.F., the employee who previously held the position, was on leave; (2) the transfer of C.M. 18 to D.F.'s position comported with the county's union contract and the County Merit System Rules; 19 and (3) Burrell admitted that C.M. had more experience than Burrell in some areas relevant to 20
However, Defendants' showing fails to address the full scope of Burrell's disparate
22 treatment claim. Burrell does not exclusively challenge C.M.'s appointment to D.F.'s position. 23
Burrell also challenges the denial of her proposed promotion to a SrHCPM code at the same time 24 that C.M. was promoted to a SrHCPM code. Defendants do not discuss the denial of Burrell's 25 proposal for a promotion at all in their analysis of Burrell's disparate treatment claim. Mot. at 20. 26
In fact, Defendants' only reference to Burrell's proposal is in Defendants' statement of facts, in 27 which Defendants state the following: "Burrell contends that Peddycord told her she would not be 28 Defendants do not address whether Burrell can establish a prima facie case of disparate
D.F.'s position. See Mot. at 20; Cox Decl. ¶ 8; Burrell Dep., Ex. 1 to MK Decl., at 194:14-195:22. 21
promoted because she had not participated in H1N1 activities." See Mot. at 5 (citing Burrell Dep. 2 at 148:15-19). Defendants do not, however, assert that this is their reason for denying Burrell's 3 promotion. Thus, without offering any legitimate explanation for denying Burrell's proposed 4 promotion, Defendants have failed to carry their burden on summary judgment. 5
6 were sufficient to satisfy Defendants' burden, Burrell has set forth sufficient evidence to raise a 7 triable issue of material fact as to whether Defendants' showing is "untrue or pretextual." See 8
First, Burrell contends that Defendants' showing may be untrue or pretextual because she
10 was more qualified for a SrHCPM position than C.M. Importantly, Burrell contends that the
SrHCPM code to which C.M. was appointed was not linked to the actual job C.M. performed or contingent on the specific tasks required for the position to which C.M. was appointed. See 13
Burrell. Dep. 158:23-25.Consequently, the SrHCPM code could have been used anywhere in the 14 department. As such, Burrell asserts that the SrHCPM code would have been more appropriate for 15 her because she was more qualified for performing the overall tasks of a SrHCPM:*fn16
Moreover, even assuming Defendants' reasons for appointing C.M. to an SrHCPM code
Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d at 746. 9
If one were to place C.M. and me side by side, there would be no daylight between
us in our abilities and qualifications to perform the duties of SrHCPM. In fact, I was more qualified than C.M. at the time Wedel appointed C.M. to the position in
April 2010, I managed the following programs: Black Infant Health, Adolescent Family Life, and Immunization Education and supervised approximately 11 line
staff and one manager. I was responsible for a budget of approximately $3.5 million.
In contrast and comparison to C.M. who managed, at [sic] time of Wedel's appointment, one program and two staff and no budget.
Burrell Decl. 67. 22
23 but rather object to this testimony as lacking foundation. The Court infers personal knowledge as 24
Defendants do not address Burrell's qualifications for performing the SrHCPM position, the basis of the testimony, and Defendants do not provide any contrary evidence. Defendants 2 further seek to exclude this testimony by alleging that it contradicts Burrell's deposition testimony 3 that, in C.M.'s new position, C.M. manages the contracts unit, drafts MOUs and transmittal service 4 agreements, and is a compliance officer, and that C.M. had more experience in those areas than 5
Burrell did. Reply at 3; Burrell Dep. 194:6-195:22. Defendants submit that Burrell is thus 6 precluded from asserting that she is equally or more qualified. See Reply at 3 & n.3 (citing 7
Radobenko v. Automated Equipment Corp., 520 F.2d 540, 544 (9th Cir. 1975), for the proposition 8 that, "[i]f a party who has been examined at length at his deposition could raise an issue of fact 9 simply by submitting an affidavit contradicting his prior deposition testimony, this would greatly 10 diminish the utility of summary judgment on screening out sham issues of fact."). However, on
Cir. 1988) (en banc). It is not clear that Burrell's concession that C.M. had more experience in 14 certain areas relevant to D.F.'s position directly contradicts Burrell's statement that C.M. was less 15 qualified for a SrHCPM code. Accordingly, Defendants' objection is OVERRULED. 16
C.M. for a SrHCPM position. 18
19 refused to provide any explanation of why Burrell was not promoted to the SrHCPM position, 20 despite her qualifications. Notably, Burrell alleges that, when she asked Peddycord in September 21 of 2010 why she was not qualified for the promotion, Peddycord responded by stating: "You 22 deserve an answer. I should give you an answer, but I'm not going to be pressed into giving you an 23 answer at this point." Burrell Dep. 161:13-16. Burrell conveyed the importance of a response by 24 stating, "If you can't tell me, then I'll be back here next year. I'll be back here the year after next. 25
I'll be back here in two months. I need someone to be honest and frank with me and tell me what 26 the real problem is." Burrell Dep. 161:7-12. Peddycord allegedly stated that he would give an 27 answer within two weeks, but never did. Burrell Dep. 161:17-162:4. Defendants do not dispute 28 summary judgment, all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in favor of the non-movant, in this case Burrell. See United Steelworkers of Am. v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 865 F.2d 1539, 1542 (9th 13
Accordingly, there is a triable issue of fact with respect to the relative qualifications of Burrell and 17
Second, Burrell contends that Defendants' showing is questionable because Defendants that this conversation occurred, or that Peddycord failed to provide an explanation of the reasons 2 for denying Burrell's attempts to become a SrHCPM. See Mot. at 5. The Court finds that 3
Defendants' failure to address the reasons for the denial of Burrell's promotion proposal also 4 presents a triable issue of fact as to whether the denial of Burrell's promotion was because of her 5 race or because of legitimate business reasons. 6 Burrell introduces evidence that raises questions about the general treatment of
African Americans within the PHD, which further supports Burrell's allegations of pretext. For 8 example, Burrell references a meeting from April 24, 2010, in which Wedel allegedly made a 9 comment that "the African-American population is only about 2.9 percent in Santa Clara County" 10 and then said either "that's pretty insignificant" or that the African American population "couldn't be considered a community." Burrell Decl. ¶ 91; see also Hayter Dep. 46:7-46:25; Hayter Decl.
¶ 15. However, in Burrell's deposition, she described her memory of Wedel's comment as "more 13 of an impression" that "the population that we're serving isn't as significant." Burrell Dep. at 14
266:20-267:1-7. After this meeting, Wedel allegedly made a comment about "these people," 15 although the context of the comment was unclear. Burrell Dep. at 241:4-241:5. 16
17 unconnected to employment decisionmaking" cannot alone support a disparate treatment claim 18 under FEHA. See Harris v. City of Santa Monica, 56 Cal. 4th 203, 231 (2013) (holding that FEHA 19 does not prohibit discrimination "in the air," and emphasizing FEHA's causation requirement); but 20 see Reid v. Google, Inc., 50 Cal. 4th 512, 539 (2010) (rejecting categorical exclusion of "stray 21 remarks" evidence).Nevertheless, in light of the disputed facts with respect to Burrell and C.M.'s 22 relative qualifications for a SrHCPM position, and PHD's failure to explain the denial of Burrell's 23 promotion, this comment provides further support for the Court's finding that there are factual 24 questions about the validity of Wedel's purported non-discriminatory reasons for appointing C.M. 25 to a SrHCPM position rather than Burrell. 26
Additionally, Burrell notes that, during Wedel's deposition, Wedel admitted that she has
27 only hired two African Americans and promoted only one in her 24 years as a manager with hiring The Court notes that "discriminatory thoughts, beliefs, or stray remarks that are
Case5:11-cv-04569-LHK Document178 Filed05/17/13 Page33 of 59
authority. See Burrell Decl. at ¶ 63; Wedel Dep. at 145:4-2. This evidence cannot alone constitute 2 the significant and substantial evidence required to demonstrate pretext, but is consistent with the 3 other factors that the Court finds suggestive of pretext. See McGinest v. GTE Service Corp., 360 4 F.3d 1103, 1123 (9th Cir. 2004) (finding circumstantial evidence of pretext based, in part, on 5 absence of evidence to support defendant's explanation, as well as defendant's "permissive 6 response to harassing actions undertaken by co-workers and supervisors, combined with the absence 7 of black supervisors and managers in the workplace"); cf. Bergene v. Salt River Project Agr. Imp. 8 and Power Dist.,272 F.3d 1136, 1143 (9th Cir. 2001) (holding that absence of female supervisors 9 was one piece of circumstantial evidence to be considered in considering pretext for failure to 10 promote); but see Wards Cove Packing Co., Inc. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 650 (1989), superseded
by statute on other grounds as recognized in Fray v. Omaha World Herald Co., 960 F.2d 1370,
1376 (8th Cir. 1992) (noting that statistical comparisons must address the "racial composition of 13 the at-issue jobs and the racial composition of the qualified . . . population in the relevant labor 14 market.").
Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Burrell, the non-moving party, the Court
15 16 finds that, based on the cumulative circumstantial evidence, a triable factual dispute exists as to
whether Plaintiffs can demonstrate that Defendants' alleged non-discriminatory reasons for 18 denying Burrell's promotion were pretextual. 19
21 complaint, AC ¶ 81, and disparate treatment on the basis of Hayter's race, gender, and pregnancy, 22 23
Unlike Burrell, Hayter filed two DFEH complaints. Hayter's first DFEH complaint, filed
25 on November 18, 2010, alleges only discrimination on the basis of race due to: (1) the denial of 26
Hayter's December 2005 application for reallocation (Hayter's "December 2005 application"); (2) 27 the denial of her January 2007 application for reclassification ("January 2007 application"); and (3) 28 B. Plaintiff Hayter's Disparate Treatment and Retaliation Claims under FEHA
The Amended Complaint alleges retaliation against Plaintiff Hayter for filing a DFEH
AC ¶ 95.
the denial of her December 2007 application for reallocation (Hayter's "December 2007 1 2 application"). MK Decl., Ex. H. The DFEH issued a right-to-sue notice on or about July 14, 2011.
See id. 4
Hayter filed a second DFEH complaint on August 23, 2011. In this second complaint,
Hayter checked the boxes for the following conduct: (1) denial of promotion; (2) retaliation; and 6
(3) denial of pregnancy accommodation. Hayter further checked the following boxes as the bases 7 for adverse employment actions: (1) sex;*fn17 (2) race/color; and (3) retaliation for engaging in 8 9 protected activity or requesting a protected leave or accommodation. Hayter alleges that all of
these acts of discrimination occurred "on about or before" April 21, 2010. See MK Decl. at Ex. *fn18 H. The DFEH issued a right-to-sue notice for this complaint on August 23, 2011. Id.
The Court first addresses Defendants' contentions that Hayter's claims are barred by
FEHA's exhaustion requirement and statute of limitations. The Court then addresses Hayter's 14 disparate treatment allegations, which appear to refer to Hayter's December 2005 reallocation 15 application, her January 2007 reclassification application, and her December 2007 reallocation 16 17 application. *fn19
1. Defendants' FEHA Administrative Exhaustion and Statute of Limitations Challenges Defendants argue that FEHA's administrative exhaustion and time requirements bar several 4 of Hayter's claims. The Court finds that the statute of limitations bars Hayter's 2005 and 2007 5 claims and pregnancy accommodation claim, and that her only properly pleaded retaliation claim is 6 not ripe for adjudication.
a.Statute of Limitations Bars Hayter's 2005 and 2007 Claims 8 Like Burrell, Hayter alleges that she "was repeatedly passed over for promotion" over the 9 course of several years, including in 2005 and 2007. AC ¶ 95. However, in order for the Court to 10 have jurisdiction to review Hayter's claims, Hayter must have filed a DFEH complaint within one 11 year of each alleged violation. See Cal. Govt. Code § 12960(d). As stated previously, Hayter filedher complaints in 2010 and 2011. See MK Decl., Ex. H. Despite the one-year bar, Hayter 13 contends that her 2005 and 2007 claims are timely because of the continuing violation doctrine.
As noted above, if an adverse employment action is deemed permanent, the continuing 15 violation doctrine does not apply. Yanowitz v. L'Oreal USA, Inc., 36 Cal. 4th 1028, 1057-59 16 (2005). The Court finds a discrete application for reclassification or reallocation to be similar to an 17 application for promotion, the denial of which carries a degree of permanency. See Maridon, 2013 18 WL 1786592, at *13 (finding that a plaintiff's "failure to secure past promotions in a number of
19 specific, discrete instances" was final as to each incident, even if the plaintiff was not convinced 20 that the employer would never promote her in the future). Here, Hayter's 2005 application for 21 reallocation and her 2007 application for reclassification are each discrete processes which 22 obtained a degree of permanence when Hayter was informed of the adverse decisions and did not 23 pursue any grievance procedure. See Morgan, 88 Cal. App. 4th at 67; Maridon, 2013 WL
24 1786592, at *9-11; see supra Part V.A.1.b. Accordingly, the continuing violations doctrine does 25 not apply to the denials of Hayter's December 2005 and January 2007 applications. 26 Consequently, the Court finds these claims time-barred, and GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to these claims.
b. Statute of Limitations Bars Hayter's Pregnancy Accommodation Claim The Amended Complaint does not reference any claim for the absence of pregnancy 3 accommodation. However, the Amended Complaint's statement of facts alleges that, after 4 5 contacted Kathy Buchanan, Human Resources Analyst, about arbitrating the decision. Buchanan allegedly asked if Hayter had just had a baby and was on maternity leave, and allegedly told 8 Hayter's December 2005 reallocation application was denied in February of 2006, Hayter pregnancy accommodation." MK Decl., Ex. H. Thus, it appears that Hayter's alleged denial of 12 13 pregnancy accommodation relates to the allegation that, in 2006, she was not allowed to participate
Hayter, "this is probably not a good time for you." AC ¶ 44. When Hayter asked if there was 9 anything else she could do about arbitrating, she was allegedly told there was not. Id. This same 10 incident is referenced in Hayter's 2011 DFEH complaint, which "checks the box" for "denial of 11
in pre-arbitration because she was on maternity leave, and PHD was unwilling to engage in further 15 arbitration after her maternity leave ended. Based on this allegation, particularly in light of the fact 16 that Hayter was explicitly told that there was nothing further that she could do to arbitrate, a 17 reasonable employee would have believed that this decision was final. Consequently, the Court 18 finds that this alleged adverse employment action was sufficiently permanent, such that the 19 continuing violations doctrine does not apply. See Yanowitz, 36 Cal. 4th at 1057-59; Richards v. 20 21 a denial of a pregnancy accommodation occurred in February of 2006, but Hayter did not file a 23 14 CH2M Hill, Inc., 26 Cal. 4th 798, 823 (2001). As the event giving rise to Hayter's claim based on 22 DFEH complaint related to this event until August of 2011, the Court finds this claim to be time-24 barred. Thus, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to this claim. 25
c.Hayter's Retaliation Claim is Not Ripe for Adjudication Defendants also challenge Hayter's retaliation claim as improperly exhausted. See Reply at 9. As stated above, all three Plaintiffs allege retaliation as their first cause of action. AC ¶ 81. 36
However, the Amended Complaint does not reference any specific acts of retaliation against Hayter 1 2 other than the "prospective pleading" of retaliation for filing DFEH complaints. Because Hayter
has not alleged any acts of retaliation for filing DFEH complaints and the Court does not find 4 prospective pleading claims ripe for adjudication, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for 5
Summary Judgment as to this claim.*fn20 6
December 13, 2011. See Hayter Dep. 84:1-10; Pineda Decl. ¶¶ 4-7. Defendants acknowledge that 14 pursuit of an administrative remedy tolls the statute of limitations. See Mot. at 18 (citing 15 2. Plaintiff Hayter's Surviving Disparate Treatment Claim under FEHA In contrast, Hayter's FEHA disparate treatment claim based on the denial of her December 2007 application for reallocation is not barred for lack of exhaustion of administrative remedies or timeliness, and is properly before the Court. Defendants concede that Hayter's claim for the denial of her December 2007 application for reallocation was timely filed because Hayter filed a grievance pertaining to this denial on May 6, 2008, which the union pursued on her behalf until 13 McDonald v. Antelope Valley Cmty. Coll. Dist., 45 Cal. 4th 88, 108 (2008)). Moreover, both the 16 17 adverse employment action and the alleged discriminatory cause of the alleged adverse employment action appear to be contained in the DFEH complaints.*fn21
Pickern, 457 F.3d at 969 (holding that plaintiff cannot raise new factual allegations of which defendant had no prior notice at summary judgment).
Hayter appears to suggest two potential grounds for disparate treatment related to this
December 2007 reallocation request. First, Hayter points to the denial of the December 2007 reallocation request itself, followed by the elimination of four of Hayter's duties: (1) researching 4 grants; (2) preparing grant applications; (3) preparing contracts; and (4) preparing budgets 5
(Hayter's "additional duties"). See Cox Decl. ¶ 17. Second, Hayter alleges that Defendants' 6 decision to pay her 70 days for "working out of class" was an incident of disparate treatment. The 7
Court addresses each in turn. 8 9
a.Denial of Hayter's December 2007 Reallocation Request and Elimination of Some of Hayter's Additional Duties
In December of 2007, Hayter applied for "reallocation" from PHN II to PHN III, a request which the County ultimately denied. Hayter Dep. at 65:5-11. In the course of evaluating Hayter's 12 13 recommended granting Hayter's application for reallocation, finding that Hayter was performing 15 duties outside of the PHN II level. Cox Decl. ¶ 16, Ex. O. In making this assessment, Buchanan 16 noted that the "[t]he PHN II is distinguished from the PHN III in that the PHN II 'normally carries 17 a full case load' and the PHN III performs 'special assignments requiring more sophisticated health 18 assessment and evaluation techniques and frequently acts in a consulting capacity.'" Cox Decl., 19
Ex. O. Buchanan's report also noted that PHD administration did not believe that Hayter should be 20 21 reclassified because she was performing PHN II level duties. Id. Upon reviewing Buchanan's report, Human Resources Director Joanne Cox determined that Hayter should not be reclassified, 23 and that certain additional duties that Hayter was performing should be removed because they were 24 outside the scope of PHN II duties. Cox Decl. ¶ 17. This determination was consistent with 25
Defendants' contention that "[t]he program where Hayter worked as a PHN II (the BIH program) 26 did not have, and did not require, nurses at the PNH III level." Mot. at 21 (citing Hayter Dep. at December 2007 application, however, Human Resources Analyst Kathy Buchanan initially
63:15-64:6; Burrell Dep. at 200:9-21; MK Decl, Ex. F, Dep. of Marty Fenstersheib ("Fenstersheib 1 2
Hayter argues that she was subjected to disparate treatment because Wedel and Alvarado
4 removed Hayter's additional duties "in order to defeat Hayter's application for promotion." Opp'n 5 at 7. According to Hayter, "[t]here did not appear to be any legitimate reason to refuse to allow 6
Ms. Hayter to continue doing the 4 duties." Opp'n at 7. Hayter further alleges that, "[i]t was clear 7 not [sic] one wanted Hayter's duties removed except Wedel who directed Alvarado to direct Burell 8 9 to remove Hayter's duties." Opp'n at 7-8. Moreover, Hayter argues, "[i]t is clear Wedel and
Alvarado are more interested in preventing [Hayter] from promoting [sic] than ensuring that the
BIH program is properly staffed." Opp'n at 8.*fn22
Defendants do not address whether Hayter has established a prima facie case for disparate 13 treatment. However, unlike Defendants' failure to respond to Burrell's allegations, Defendants 14 squarely address their non-discriminatory reasons for denying Hayter's reallocation application and 15 removing her additional duties. 16 17 department and ESA about whether an employee is doing work authorized by his or her job code, 19 an ESA Human Resources employee conducts an independent investigation to determine whether 20 the duties are within the authorized job code's responsibilities. See Cox Decl. ¶ 17. In this case, 21
Program." Opp'n at 7. As discussed above, Burrell's 2008 retaliation allegation is the only 24 retaliation claim discussed in the Amended Complaint; other retaliation allegations are not properly before the Court. See Coleman, 232 F.3d at 1292 (complaint guides the parties discovery and puts 25 defendant on notice of evidence needed for its defense); see also Pickern, 457 F.3d at 969 (holding that plaintiff cannot raise new factual allegations of which defendant had no prior notice at 26 summary judgment). Moreover, Hayter has not identified further information about when she allegedly made complaints prior to the removal of her duties, to whom she complained, or any 27 other information about the relationship between such unidentified complaints and the removal of 28 her additional duties.
Dep.") at 58:5-18; 61:14-62:10).
Defendants explain that, pursuant to ESA policy, if there is a dispute between the Human Resources Director Joanne Cox conducted the investigation, taking Buchanan's report into 1 2 consideration. Id. ¶¶ 16-17.According to Defendants, Cox carried out her evaluation of Hayter's
job duties and reached her ultimate conclusion to remove some of Hayter's job duties in a manner 4 that was entirely consistent with ESA policy and the County's collective bargaining agreement 5 with Hayter's union. Cox determined that Hayter "may have been performing some duties that 6 were not PHN II duties, and that the assignment of these duties was inconsistent with the ESA 7 policy that employees should not work out of class unless there was a reason as outlined in the 8 9 policy." Id. ¶ 17. Cox explained that, "[b]ecause the assignment of the [sic] Ms. Hayter's job description was inconsistent with the ESA policy that would allow such a reclassification to be implemented, such duties were removed on April 9, 2008." Id. According to Cox, "[m]y objective in removing these duties was to ensure that Ms. Hayter was properly classified and that she was 13 performing primarily case management duties." Id. 14 15 than to reallocate her position was not motivated by discriminatory animus because, at the time 16 17 Decl. ¶ 17 ("At the time I made my decision to remove duties from Ms. Hayter I did not know her 19 race and I did not make any effort to access information about her race."). 20 21 nondiscriminatory reasons for their employment actions. See Reid v. Google, Inc., 50 Cal. 4th 512, 22 520 n.2 (2010) (holding that a legitimate reason is one that is "facially unrelated to prohibited bias, 23 and which if true, would thus preclude a finding of discrimination.") (internal citations omitted); 24 25 either that Defendants' showing is insufficient or that there is a triable issue of fact material to the 27 defendant's showing. See Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d at 746. To do so, Hayter must "'produc[e] 28
Defendants further assert that the decision to remove some of Hayter's job duties rather Cox made the decision to remove Hayter's additional duties, she did not know Hayter's race. CoX 18 The Court finds that Defendants have satisfied their burden of showing legitimate, Guz v. Bechtel Nat. Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 317, 355-56 (2000). Consequently, Hayter must demonstrate substantial responsive evidence that the employer's showing was untrue or pretextual.'" Id. 1 2 The Court finds that Hayter has failed to produce either direct evidence or "specific" and "substantial" circumstantial evidence to create a triable issue of pretext. See Earl,658 F.3d at 5 1113; see also Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d at 746 (holding that, to create a triable issue of pretext, 6 evidence cannot "simply show the employer's decision was wrong, mistaken or unwise," but must 7
"demonstrate such weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherencies or contradictions in 8 9 the employer's proffered legitimate reasons for its action that a reasonable factfinder could rationally find them unworthy of credence . . . and hence infer that the employer did not act for the . . . non-[discriminatory] reasons.").
As a preliminary matter, Hayter offers no specific or substantial evidence that Cox's 13 decision to remove Hayter's job responsibilities was either contrary to ESA policy or in any way 14 related to Hayter's race. Indeed, Hayter offers no evidence at all to refute Cox's statement that 15 Cox did not know Hayter's race at the time Cox made the decision. Hayter does allege that Cox 16 17 denials of promotion were "based on racial discrimination." Hayter Decl. ¶ 6; Opp'n at 9. 19 (quoting Hanson, 74 Cal. App. 4th at 225).
"should have known" Hayter's race because Hayter previously protested that her "numerous" However, Hayter does not specify to whom Hayter made these protests, when she made these 20 protests, whether any protests were made prior to Cox's decision, or why Cox should have known 21 about them. As a result, Hayter has not rebutted Defendants' contention that Cox made the 22 employment decision based on criteria unrelated to racial bias.*fn23 Moreover, contrary to Hayter's 23 assertion that "[t]here did not appear to be any legitimate reason to refuse to allow Ms. Hayter to 24 25 continue doing the 4 duties," Opp'n at 7, the "reason" set forth by Cox was to ensure that Hayter's 1 2 job duties were consistent with the ESA policy for the PHN II class, and the needs of the PHD. Id.
¶ 17. PHD administration determined that the program required a PHN II rather than a PHN III. 4 See Fenstersheib Dep. at 61:14-62:10. While Hayter may think this reasoning is "wrong, mistaken, 5 or unwise," Hayter has not demonstrated any basis for finding that Cox's explanation is unworthy 6 of credence. See Lucent Techs., Inc.,642 F.3d at 746. 7 8 9 removed Hayter's duties in order to defeat Hayter's application for a promotion. Rather, the evidence indicates that these responsibilities were removed at the direction of Cox, the Human Resources Director. See Cox Decl. ¶¶ 16-18. Further, Hayter provides no support for her allegation that "it was clear not [sic] one wanted Hayter's duties removed except Wedel . . . ." 13
Opp'n at 7-8. While Plaintiffs cite to paragraph 14 of Hayter's declaration to support this point, 14 nothing in this paragraph provides evidence for this proposition. See Hayter Decl. ¶ 14 (making 15 an unsupported allegation that "Cox has not been involved in this matter until her declaration in 16 17 this case"). Indeed, Hayter's insistence that some ambiguity previously existed about the proper classification of Hayter's additional duties is precisely why Cox was consulted and asked to make 19 an independent assessment of Hayter's job responsibilities, which she subsequently determined 20 should be removed. Hayter has not provided any evidence that Wedel or Alvarado, rather than 21 Cox, decided that Hayter's additional duties should be removed. See Cox Decl. ¶ 18 ("On April 22 10, 2008, Ms. Buchanan, pursuant to my direction, provided Ms. Hayter written notice that her 23 position would not be reallocated . . ."). 24 25 Alvarado are more interested in preventing Ms. Hayter from promoting than ensuring that the BIH 27 program is properly staffed." Opp'n at 8 (emphasis added). As her best evidence of this 28
In addition, Hayter offers no evidence to support her allegation that Wedel and Alvarado Finally, Hayter sets forth no evidence to support her assertion that, "[i]t is clear Wedel and proposition, Plaintiff references an email exchange in which, when asked whether it would be 1 2 possible to remove some of Hayter's duties, Wedel responded by saying, "absolutely." See Opp'n at 19.*fn24 Even if admissible, this exchange does not rise to the level of "substantial" evidence from 4 which a reasonable fact finder could conclude that the basis for removing Hayter's duties was 5 discriminatory intent. 6 7 do not ultimately create a triable issue of pretext. First, Hayter alleges that, on April 21, 2008, 8 9 3 The statement of facts in Plaintiffs' Opposition references two additional incidents which Burrell's manager, Dolores Alvarado, pointed her finger in Hayter's face and said, "'don't you smirk at me' young lady." Hayter Decl. ¶ 12. Hayter adds that an SEIU Contracts Enforcement 10
Specialist who was present told Alvarado that Hayter was merely smiling. Id. See id.; Opp'n at 9- 10. However, Plaintiffs do not identify the relative age of Hayter or Alvarado, or the racial 13 implications of the comment. In light of Plaintiffs' failure to elaborate on this statement, the Court 14 declines to speculate as to its racial implications. See United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 15 (7th Cir. 1991). Additionally, Hayter references Wedel's 2010 comment about the size of the 16 17 does not provide evidence or analysis tying this comment to Cox's decision in 2008 to remove African American community of Santa Clara County. See Hayter Decl. ¶ 11. However, Hayter 18 Hayter's duties. Without further explanation, these comments, at most, constitute evidence of the 20 possibility of discrimination "in the air," rather than discrimination connected to employment 21 decision making. See Harris, 56 Cal. 4th at 231; Pottenger v. Potlatch Corp., 329 F.3d 740, 747 22 (9th Cir. 2003) (finding isolated or ambivalent remarks insufficient to defeat an employer's 1 2 summary judgment motion); Nesbit v. Pepsico, Inc., 994 F.2d 703, 705 (9th Cir. 1993) (finding the comment "we don't necessarily like grey hair" was "at best weak circumstantial evidence" of age 4 discrimination). Because Hayter has not identified evidence or factual disputes to tie these 5 incidents to Cox's decision, these incidents are insufficient to rebut Defendants' proffered 6 explanation. 7
In sum, the Court finds that, unlike Burrell, Hayter has failed to identify an insufficiency in Defendants' showing of a non-discriminatory reason, or evidence of a triable issue of fact with respect to that showing. In reaching such a conclusion, the Court does not ask whether Defendants' decision was "mistaken or unwise," but rather must inquire whether Hayter has presented such "specific and substantial evidence" that a reasonable factfinder could find the 13 proffered reasons "unworthy of credence" and infer that the employer did not act for the alleged 14 non-discriminatory reason. See Lucent Techs., Inc., 642 F.3d at 746 (citing Morgan, 88 15
Cal.App.4th 52). Based on Plaintiffs' presentation of the evidence, the Court finds that Hayter has 16 17 failed to meet her burden, and this claim cannot survive Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
for working out of class. Although Hayter's reimbursement for working out of class is referenced 23 in the Amended Complaint, Hayter's disparate treatment cause of action only explicitly references 24 her denial of a promotion. Compare AC ¶ 46, with AC ¶ 95. Even assuming that Hayter's 25 reimbursement claim was sufficiently alleged in the Amended Complaint to put Defendants on 26 notice of the allegation, the Court finds that Defendants have presented a legitimate reason for their 27 28 decision, which Hayter has failed to rebut.
Hayter also alleges disparate treatment based on Defendants' decision to pay her 70 days 1 2 the County had the right to remove Hayter's duties within 20 working days after the receipt of her reallocation request. Cox Decl. ¶ 18. Because the County did not timely respond to the request 4 within 20 days, Cox determined that Hayter should be paid for working out of class for 70 days, 5 "the number of work days from when Ms. Hayter submitted her Position Classification 6 Questionnaire to her supervisor to the date of the County's response on April 10, 2008." Id. 7
b. Defendants' Decision to Pay Hayter 70 Days for "Working Out of Class"
Defendants contend that Hayter did not have a right to arbitrate because she was paid for working 8 9 out of class. Id. At the time that Cox made this decision, she did not know Hayter's race. Id. Hayter does not dispute these facts. Rather, she alleges that Wedel suggested paying a non- African American employee a year's salary for working out of class. See Hayter Decl. ¶ 10 (citing Wedel Dep. Vol. III 457:4-461:1). The statement of facts in Plaintiffs' Opposition specifically 13 alleges that, on August 10, 2010, Wedel sent an email inquiring about paying a non-African 14 American woman for a full year of working out of class. Opp'n at 9 (citing Hayter Decl. ¶ 18). 15 16 17 non-African American employee for a full year of working out of class. The email stated that this employee had been on special assignment in the Public Health Preparedness department for about a 19 year, in a job that had been determined to be a PHN II job. Wedel Dep. Vol. III 457:16-20. Wedel 20 wrote, "However, during the past year, with increased level of involvement in the H1N1 response, 21 I believe this PHN was functioning more as a PHN III." Wedel Dep. Vol. III 457:20-23. Wedel 22 inquired: 23
At Wedel's deposition, Wedel read from this email in which she inquired about paying a 18 Is there a mechanism [sic] we can pay her a full year of retro pay to the higher level? The nurse was formerly a 521 steward, and although she's been very gracious about helping, she's also mentioned to several people that she is doing PHN III work.
Wedel Dep. Vol. III 457:4-461:12. 28
decision to pay Hayter for only 70 days. First, there is no evidence
that this other employee 3 actually received any payment that differed
from that which Hayter received, or any other evidence 4 of
differential treatment. In fact, Plaintiffs' counsel confirmed this
lack of evidence at the May 2 5 pre-trial conference. Second, there is
no evidence tying Wedel's inquiry to Cox's decision to pay 6
Hayter for the 70 days between the time that Hayter submitted her request for reallocation and the 7 time that her duties were removed. Consequently, this evidence is also insufficient to raise a triable 8 question of fact with respect to pretext. 9
10 to Hayter's disparate treatment claim.
13 disability, AC ¶ 98, and retaliation for filing a DFEH complaint, AC ¶ 81.*fn25 Although the factual 14 bases for this claim are not specifically identified, the allegation appears to arise out of Headd's 15 contention that, between 2009 and 2011, she was not hired, transferred, or promoted into certain 16 positions. Opp'n at 10-12. 17 18 on June 7, 2011, alleging that she was denied promotions in August of 2010, February of 2011, and 19 Plaintiff Headd alleges disparate treatment on the basis of race, gender, age, and medical The instant suit followed two DFEH complaints. Headd first filed a complaint with DFEH April of 2011, due to discrimination based on her race, age, and medical condition. MK Decl., Ex. 20
This email does not sufficiently rebut the legitimate reasons that Defendants assert for the Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment with respect C. Plaintiff Headd's Disparate Treatment and Retaliation Claims under FEHA
C, Dep. of Margaret Headd ("Headd Dep.") 348:6-349:21 & Ex. 4. She filed an amended DFEH 2 complaint on June 28, 2011, discussing the same incidents and bases for discrimination, but adding 3 a claim of disability discrimination. See Headd Dep. at 348:6-349:21 & Ex. 4. The DFEH issued 4 right-to-sue notices on June 7, 2011, and August 29, 2011. MK Decl., Ex. I. 5 claims that are predicated on incidents that occurred over a year before her June 7, 2011 DFEH 7 complaint. Mot. at 19. Defendants further contend that Headd failed to exhaust her retaliation 8 claim. Mot. at 26. For Headd's remaining allegations, Defendants contend that Headd has not 9 rebutted Defendants' legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. The Court addresses each in turn. 14 complaint, Headd's Amended Complaint appears to base her federal claims on additional adverse 15 employment actions. See AC ¶¶ 58-78. Specifically, it appears from the Amended Complaint and 16 Plaintiffs' Opposition to Summary Judgment that Headd is also challenging: (1) her 2009 lay-off; 17 (2) her 2009 placements into two different Management Aide positions; and (3) the February 2010 18 denial of her application for a Health Program Specialist position. See Mot. at 19-20; Opp'n at 13.
However, because Headd did not file her first DFEH complaint until June 7, 2011, these claims are 20 barred by FEHA's one year statute of limitations. See Cal. Govt. Code § 12960(d). 21
22 to FEHA's statute of limitations. Opp'n at 22. As explained previously, the continuing violations 23 doctrine requires that: "(1) the actions are sufficiently similar in kind; (2) they occur with sufficient 24 frequency; and (3) they have not acquired a degree of 'permanence' so that employees are on 25 notice that further efforts at informal conciliation with the employer to obtain accommodation or 26 end harassment would be futile." Richards, 26 Cal. 4th at 823. In this case, Headd's claims 27 acquired a degree of permanence over a year before she filed her complaint. Specifically, Headd's 28 Defendants contend that FEHA's statute of limitations bars Headd's disparate treatment
1. Defendants' FEHA Administrative Exhaustion and Statute of
a. FEHA Statute of Limitations Bars Headd's Claims that Arose Over One Year Before Her June 7, 2011 DFEH Complaint Despite the fact that Headd alleged only three adverse employment actions in her DFEH Like Burrell and Hayter, Headd relies on the continuing violations doctrine as an exception 2009 lay-off and 2009 placements in Management Aide positions became final at the time the 2 employment actions occurred, even if the actions were not necessarily permanent in the sense that 3 Headd could still be re-hired or transferred to another position in the future. See Gardner v. City of 4 Berkeley, 838 F. Supp. 2d 910, 920 (N.D. Cal. 2012). If Headd believed she was wrongly laid off 5 or improperly placed, she could have pursued these claims at the time. Similarly, Headd's 6 February 2010 denial of her application for a Health Program Specialist position became 7 permanent at the time of Headd's denial. See Morgan, 88 Cal. App. 4th at 67; Maridon, 2013 WL 8
Because the Court finds that these new adverse employment actions acquired a degree of 10 permanence over a year before Headd filed her first DFEH complaint, the continuing violations doctrine does not save these claims from FEHA's statute of limitations, and the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to these claims. 13 Defendants also challenge Headd's retaliation claim as improperly exhausted. See Mot. at 26; Reply at 10. However, the Court need not reach the exhaustion issue, because the Amended 16 1786592 at *9-11. 9
b. Headd's Retaliation Claim is Not Ripe for Adjudication
Complaint does not allege any acts of retaliation against Headd. Rather, the only basis for Headd's 17 retaliation claim is the Amended Complaint's allegation that Defendant County retaliated against 18
Court does not find this claim ripe for adjudication, and the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion 22 for Summary Judgment as to this claim. 23 25 treatment claims. As with Burrell and Hayter, the Amended Complaint does not clearly identify 26 the factual basis of Headd's disparate treatment allegations, stating only that Headd was 27 2. Plaintiff Headd's Surviving Disparate Treatment Claims Under FEHA Defendants also move for summary judgment on the remainder of Headd's disparate "repeatedly passed over for promotion," and required "to re-apply for each job and was not promoted," "[e]ven though she was on a promotional list." AC ¶ 98. Nevertheless, the adverse 2 employment actions on which Headd appears to rely for this claim include Headd's: (1) August 3 November or December 2010 application for a Senior Health Care Program Analyst transfer 5 position for which she was not referred for an interview; (3) January 2011 application for a HPS 6 "promotional recruitment"; and (4) July 2011 application for a Health Planning Specialist II 7 transfer opportunity and a Health Care Program Analyst II transfer opportunity. Headd alleges that 8 the discrimination she encountered relating to each incident "was motivated by [P]laintiff's race -- 9 2010 application for a Health Program Specialist ("HPS") position with PHD Administration; (2) 4
Plaintiffs for filing DFEH complaints. AC ¶ 81. At the April 4 hearing, Plaintiffs' counsel 19 conceded that the allegation of retaliation for filing DFEH complaints was not supported by any 20 facts, but rather was "prospectively" pleaded in the event of future retaliation. Accordingly, the 21
African-American, [P]laintiff's gender -- female, [P]laintiff's age-over 40 and Plaintiff's medical 10 disability." AC ¶ 98.
The County does not address Headd's prima facie case of disparate treatment. Assuming without deciding that Headd presents a prima facie case, the Court finds that the County has set 13 forth legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for each employment action taken during the statutory 14 period. Headd does not identify any specific evidence, let alone substantial evidence, that rebuts 15
Defendants' explanations. Therefore, Headd fails to raise a triable question of fact regarding 16 whether Defendants' proffered explanations are pretextual. Accordingly, the Court finds that, on 17 this record, a reasonable jury could not "conclude by a preponderance of the evidence that the 18 defendant undertook the challenged employment action because of [Headd's] race [or gender, age, 19 or medical disability]." Cornwell v. Electra Cent. Credit Union, 439 F.3d 1018, 1037 (9th Cir. 20 2006) (internal citation omitted). 21
a. August 2010 Application
In August of 2010, Headd applied for a HPS position with PHD Administration. Headd
Dep. at 109:9-11; Moresco Decl. ¶ 16. Defendants allege that they did not hire Headd for this 24 position because she: (1) lacked the requisite knowledge of Santa Clara County government 25 processes; (2) submitted application materials containing multiple spelling, grammatical, and 26 formatting errors; and (3) failed to submit a writing sample as requested. Moresco Decl. ¶ 16. 27 28 Moreover, no candidate was ultimately hired for the position because the County deleted the 2 position. Id. 3
4 for not promoting her to the HPS position in August of 2010. First, Headd challenges the veracity 5 of Defendants' assertion that she lacked the requisite knowledge of Santa Clara government 6 processes. Headd Decl. ¶ 8. However, Headd provides no evidence beyond her assertion, made in 7 her declaration, that the "County's position is false and disputed" to demonstrate why the County's 8 position was wrong. See id. Second, Headd does not dispute that her application contained 9 multiple errors. Third, while Headd disputes that she was instructed to submit a writing sample as 10 part of her application, she acknowledges that she was instructed to bring "a sample of [her] most Headd fails to set forth significant and substantial evidence rebutting Defendants' rationale
recent administrative (versus program planning) complex[,] high-level project you have managed."
United States District Court
For the Northern District of California
See Headd Decl. ¶¶ 7-8; Moresco Decl. at ¶ 16. Headd does not indicate that she complied with 13 the request for a project sample. Most importantly, Headd does not dispute that the HPS position 14 was deleted, and in fact nobody was hired for the job. Thus, even taking the disputed facts in the 15 light most favorable to the non-moving party, Headd fails to present a triable issue of pretext. 16
In November or December of 2010, Headd also applied for a Senior Health Care Program
Analyst transfer position but was not referred for an interview. See Moresco Decl. ¶ 17 (stating 19
Moresco Decl. as stating that the application was submitted in December of 2010). Defendants 21 assert that Headd lacked the experience required under the County Employment Standards, which 22 required four years of professional level analytical and administrative experience, two of which 23 must have been in a health care setting. Moresco Decl. ¶ 17 (reviewing records related to the 24 recruitment process). In response, Headd alleges that she "did not lack sufficient experience as 25
Santa Clara County employee." Headd Decl. ¶ 12. However, Headd does not provide any 27 evidence that she had "four years of professional level analytical and administrative experience," as
b. November or December 2010 Application
Hayter's application was submitted in November of 2010); Headd Decl. ¶ 12 (mistakenly quoting 20 [she] had been performing in a lead position role and coordinating programs since [she] became a 26 required by the position. She also fails to provide any indication of pretext. Consequently, Headd 2 fails to present significant and substantial evidence rebutting Defendants' proffered reason for not 3 referring her for an interview for the SHCPA position. 4
c. January 2011 Application
In January of 2011, Headd applied for an HPS "promotional recruitment." Moresco Decl.
¶ 18. According to the County records, the hiring manager, Barbara Broderick, stated that Headd 7 was not selected because, among other reasons, Headd "'did not show breadth [of] knowledge and 8 skills' relevant to the program; had not worked on policy systems and environmental change 9 strategies; and had '[l]imited experience in management and team building.'" Id. (quoting records 10 kept by the County); Broderick Decl. ¶¶ 4, 6. Headd does not dispute these reasons or offer any 11 evidence that would indicate that her race, gender, age, or medical disability were actually motivating reasons for the County's decision. She simply states that, "Broderick was aware of my 13 skills and my eagerness to grow and develop new skills." Headd Decl. ¶ 14. Headd provides no 14 evidence that Broderick's stated reasons were pretextual. 15
In July of 2011, Headd applied for a Health Planning Specialist II transfer opportunity and a
Health Care Program Analyst II transfer opportunity. Moresco Decl. ¶ 19. The Health Planning 18
With respect to the Health Care Program Analyst II position, ESA informed Headd that
"she did not have the depth and scope of analytical and administrative experience required for the 21 classification." Id. Headd neither contests this, nor offers any significant or substantial evidence 22 that would indicate that the County's motivation for denying her application was based on her race, 23 gender, age, or medical disability. Consequently, Headd provides no evidence that the reason she 24 was not granted the Health Planning Specialist II job was pretextual. 25 27 positions" for which she alleges that she was qualified. Opp'n at 12; Headd Decl. ¶ 6, 19. 28
Case No.: 11-CV-04569-LHK
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
d. July 2011 Application
Specialist II job was deleted before any interviews took place. 19
e. Comparable Positions
Headd also contends that from October 2009 until 2012, PHD created 10 "comparable However, she does not offer any evidence demonstrating her qualifications for the positions, 2 whether the positions were vacant, or whether they were filled. The Court does not find this 3 allegation indicative of disparate treatment. 4
f. Additional Allegations
Finally, Headd also sets forth additional allegations related to her time-barred claims.
Although Headd may include time-barred allegations for evidentiary purposes, Defendants have 7 provided specific explanations for each of their previous decisions, which Headd's unsupported 8 claims fail to rebut. For example, Headd alleges that other employees, R.G. and C.V., were laid off 9 at the same time that she was in 2009, but were subsequently re-hired to higher level positions than 10
Headd. Headd Decl. ¶ 4; Headd Dep. at 97:7-15; 98:5-9. However, Defendants explain that both
R.G. and C.V. were assigned to these positions because, unlike Headd, they held underlying permanent status in these positions. See Cox Decl. ¶ 36. Headd does not provide any evidence to 13 contest this. 14
15 deposition testimony, alleging that her deposition "reflects that I did feel I was discriminated 16 against based on my medical history, race and age." Headd Decl. ¶ 10 (citing Headd Dep. at 17
262:10-263:8). While it is undisputed that Headd felt discriminated against, she has not identified 18 sufficient facts to demonstrate that Defendants' explanations for their employment actions were 19 pretextual. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to Headd's 20 remaining disparate treatment claims. 21
In lieu of providing factual evidence of discrimination, Headd's declaration cites her own
D. Disparate Impact (Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Causes of Action)
Each of the three Plaintiffs also bring FEHA claims of disparate impact, alleging that the
County's policies had a disparate impact on African Americans. AC ¶¶ 100-113. A disparate 24 impact claim is a claim that "a facially neutral employer practice or policy, bearing no manifest 25 relationship to job requirements, . . . ha[s] a disproportionate adverse effect on members of the 26 protected class [regardless of motive]." Guz, 24 Cal. 4th at 354 n.20 (citing Griggs v. Duke Power 27 Co., 402 U.S. 424, 431 (1971)); Raytheon Co. v. Hernandez, 540 US. 44, 52-53 (2003). To prevail on a disparate impact claim, a plaintiff must identify a specific employment practice that is 2 challenged, and must then present statistical evidence showing that that practice has caused an 3 adverse impact on members of a protected class. See Carter v. CB Richard Ellis, Inc.,122 Cal. 4
App. 4th 1313, 1323-34 (2004). "The proper comparison is between the racial composition of the 5 at-issue jobs and the racial composition of the qualified . . . population in the relevant labor 6 market." Wards Cove Packing Co., Inc., 490 U.S. at 650. 7
Here, Plaintiffs neither identify a specific employment practice nor present competent
8 statistical evidence comparing the racial composition of the relevant market to the workers in the 9 jobs at issue. Plaintiffs quote precedent that "[a]n employer's facially neutral practice of 10 committing employment decisions to the subjective discretion of supervisory employees [is] a specific employment practice properly subject to a disparate impact analysis." Opp'n at (quoting Rose v. Wells Fargo & Co., 902 F.2d 1417, 1424 (9th Cir. 1990)). Plaintiffs do not, 13 however, specify which of the County's employment practices involve this kind of delegated 14 discretion. Plaintiffs also do not present any evidence of the kind of criteria the County uses in 15 establishing eligibility for the various positions at issue in this lawsuit. In fact, Plaintiffs have 16 made no statement at all about the particular practice to which they object. 17
18 stymied by the glass ceiling." Id. Plaintiffs cite, without
explanation, portions of the testimony of 19 their expert Amy
Oppenheimer regarding her untimely amended report.*fn26
However, the Court 20 notes that the amended report did not
contain any evidence of the type courts have held is required 21 for
establishing disparate impact claims. Even considering Oppenheimer's
amended report and 22 testimony, Plaintiffs have failed to raise a
genuine disputed issue of material fact. Rather, 23
Oppenheimer's amended report merely suggests that Defendants could have been clearer in 24 delineating the promotion process and could have investigated more. See Decl. of Charles Bonner, 25
ECF No. 52, Ex. 9, Dep. of Amy Oppenheimer ("Oppenheimer Dep.") at 100:9-101:11. The cited 26 testimony does not, however, identify any particular employment practice to which Plaintiffs take 27
Plaintiffs do refer vaguely to a failure to "take action to insure that Plaintiffs were not issue. See id. at 100:16-101:1(stating that the County "did not provide guidance and mentoring, . . 2
. failed to make the procedures clear and, for lack of a better term, user friendly[, and]. . . failed to 3 consistently communicate and support [plaintiffs] in terms of their desires to be promoted.") These 4 vague allegations concerning how the situation could have been better do not constitute 5 identification of a specific employment practice for disparate impact purposes. 6
Plaintiffs also fail to provide any statistical evidence of disparate
7 recognizing the need for comparative statistics in order to prevail on a disparate impact claim. See 8
Opp'n at 28 ("The first step in a statistical analysis is to identify the base population for 9 comparison.") (citing Stout v. Potter, 276 F.3d 1118, 1123 (9th Cir. 2002), and Wards Cove 10
Counties [sic] actions and inaction were inconsistent with a real commitment to diversity." Id. at 14 29. In so claiming, Plaintiffs cite to several passages from Oppenheimer's deposition. Again, even 15 if admissible, Oppenheimer's testimony does not include any analysis of the racial makeup of 16 either the applicant pool or the current workforce. See Oppenheimer Dep. at 101:12-15 ("Q: Have 17 you done any statistical analysis in this case? A: No, they did not provide any statistics. I would 18 like to see them."). Oppenheimer's testimony concerning glass ceilings is general in nature, and 19 does not address the situation in the PHD. See, e.g., Oppenheimer Dep. at 99:20-100:1 ("Q: So 20 what is the underlying basis for your assertion that there are few groups of employees impacted by 21 glass ceilings as much as African Americans?" A: Studies I've read, the implicit bias test I 22 mentioned earlier, statistics of African-Americans as opposed to women as partners in law firms, as 23
CEO's and, you know, different roles in our society."). Testimony about the general challenges 24 faced by a minority group, without more, does not constitute evidence that any particular 25 employer's practices had a disparate impact on that group. 26
27 a disputed triable issue of fact as to whether County's promotions policies have a disparate impact Packing, 490 U.S. at 650-51). Plaintiffs do not attempt to provide any statistical analysis.
Plaintiffs state only that, "[b]ased on the implicit bias test studies, there are few groups of employees as impacted by the glass ceilings as much as African Americans. . . . Further, the 13 Plaintiffs also claim that, "[t]he declarations of African-Americans in the PHD creates [sic] on African-Americans." Opp'n at 29. These three declarations, which are from PHD employees 2
Terry Pryor, Michael Bradford, and Mary Azah, state the approximate number of African 3
Americans in the PHD, but do not identify "the racial composition of the qualified . . . population 4 in the relevant labor market." Wards Cove Packing, 490 U.S. at 650-51.*fn27 the County's PHD has a disparate impact on African Americans, both because they have failed to 7 identify the specific employment practice at issue and because they have presented no evidence 8 about the relevant labor market. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is 9
In sum, Plaintiffs have not presented any evidence that a specific employment practice in GRANTED as to Plaintiffs' claims of disparate impact. 10
E. All Plaintiffs' Failure to Protect Claim under FEHA
In addition to prohibiting discrimination, FEHA also makes it illegal for "an employer, labor organization, employment agency, apprenticeship training program, or any training program 13 leading to employment, to fail to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and 14 harassment from occurring." Cal. Gov't Code § 12940(k). "One such reasonable step, and one 15 that is required in order to ensure a discrimination-free work environment, is a prompt 16 investigation of [a] discrimination claim." Cal. Fair Emp't & Housing Comm'n v. Gemini 17
Aluminum Corp., 122 Cal. App. 4th 1004, 1024 (2004) (citing Northrop Grumman Corp. v. 18
Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., 103 Cal. App. 4th 1021, 1035 (2002)). "Other reasonable steps an 19 employer might take include the establishment and promulgation of antidiscrimination policies and 20 the implementation of effective procedures to handle complaints and grievances regarding 21 discrimination." Id. at 1025. However, such a claim requires identification of actionable 22 discrimination. The California Court of Appeal has explained that it does"not believe the statutory 23 language supports recovery on such a private right of action where there has been a specific factual 24 finding that no such discrimin tion or harassment actually occurred at the plaintiffs's [sic] 25 workplace." Trujillo v. N. County Transit Dist., 63 Cal. App. 4th 280, 288-89 (1998) (affirming 2 trial court's grant of judgment as a matter of law for defendants where jury found that there had 3 been a failure to protect but there had been no discrimination). 4
Defendants' only stated basis for objecting to Plaintiffs' claims of failure to prevent 5 discrimination is the assertion that "there is no evidence that any employment action at issue was 6 based on discrimination." Mot. at 25; Reply at 17. The Court agrees with respect to Plaintiffs 7
GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to these Plaintiffs. 9
10 judgment, Defendants have failed to carry their initial burden of "identifying the portions of the
Hayter and Headd, who have failed to allege actionable claims of discrimination, and therefore 8
However, because Plaintiff Burrell's disparate treatment claim has survived summary
declarations, pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a genuine issue of material fact" with respect to this claim. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Plaintiff Burrell has alleged 13 that she repeatedly raised concerns of discrimination to Alvarado and Peddycord, and that no 14 investigation followed. See Burrell ¶¶ 6-9;*fn28 Gemini Aluminum Corp., 122 Cal. App. 4th at 1024 15
(finding investigation of discrimination claims to be a "required"). Defendants have failed to 16 introduce evidence that this fact is undisputed. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants' 17
Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to Plaintiff Burrell. 18
F. All Plaintiffs' 1983 Causes of Action
Defendants also move for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' two remaining claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983: (1) retaliation for exercising free speech, and (2) negligent hiring, training, and 21 supervision. The Court addresses each in turn. 22 23 24
3 of freedom of speech, Plaintiffs must prove: (1) "the violation of a right secured by the 4 Constitution or laws of the United States"; and (2) "that the alleged deprivation was committed by 5 a person acting under color of law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Here, the 6 The Ninth Circuit has established a five-part test to determine whether a public employee 8 has been retaliated against for exercising free speech rights: "(1) whether the plaintiff spoke on a 9 matter of public concern; (2) whether the plaintiff spoke as a private citizen or public employee; (3) 10 whether the plaintiff's protected speech was a substantial or motivating factor in the adverse employment action; (4) whether the state had an adequate justification for treating the employee differently from other members of the general public; and (5) whether the state would have taken 13 the adverse employment action even absent the protected speech." Eng v. Cooley, 552 F.3d 1062, 14 568 (1968)). 16
17 employment action against Plaintiffs in violation of FEHA by retaliating against Plaintiffs for 18 participating in statutorily protected activity and speech. Plaintiffs' complaints to the [DFEH] and 19 [EEOC] were all protected activities. Defendant's adverse employment action against Plaintiffs as 20 herein alleged was unprivileged, unlawful, and without business purpose." AC at ¶¶ 117-118.*fn29
1. Retaliation for Exercising Free Speech (Tenth Cause of Action) To state a claim under Section 1983, including a claim for retaliation based on the exercise Constitutional right at issue is the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. 7
1070 (9th Cir. 2009) (interpreting the "tangled history" of Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563, 15 Plaintiffs allege in their Amended Complaint that "Defendant County took adverse Based on this Amended Complaint, Defendants were properly on notice that Plaintiffs were 22 alleging retaliation for the filing of DFEH complaints. See also Mot. at 27 (moving for summary 23 judgment on Plaintiffs' claims of first amendment retaliation for filing charges with the DFEH). 24 However, no facts have been alleged to support these claims, as the alleged discriminatory actions 25 all took place prior to the filing of the DFEH complaints. 26 27
As a concerned private citizens [sic], Burrell and Hayter advocated with speech for more resources for the BIH program, repeatedly explaining to my [sic] managers, Alvarado, Charis Subil, and Ira Schwartz, that we needed a PHN III to assist our efforts in effectively serving the African-American community . . . Burrell and Hayter also spoke out as private citizens about the discrimination in PHD. . . . Protesting discrimination in the PHD is protected speech . . . Here, the genuine material disputed facts is [sic] whether Defendants retaliated against Burrell and Hayter for their public speech against discrimination in PHD and for more resources for the BIH program. Opp'n at 27. See Burrell Decl. ¶¶ 34-39 (discussing her own and Hayter's requests for promotion); 10
2 retaliation that were not raised in the Amended Complaint. Specifically, Plaintiffs' Opposition 3 alleges:
As discussed above, Plaintiffs' Opposition attempts to include entirely new claims of Hayter Decl. ¶¶ 4-24 (describing complaints limited to her own employment).
However, the Amended Complaint's First Amendment claim (Plaintiffs' tenth cause of action) only identified EEOC complaints as the protected activity and did not discuss advocacy on 13 behalf of the BIH program. See AC at ¶¶ 117-118. As explained above, such claims cannot be 14 raised for the first time on summary judgment. See Coleman, 232 F.3d at 1292 (complaint guides 15 the parties discovery and puts defendant on notice of evidence needed for its defense); see also 16
Pickern, 457 F.3d at 969 (holding that plaintiff cannot raise new factual allegations of which 17 defendant had no prior notice at summary judgment). The prejudice to Defendants of raising such 18 claims at summary judgment is evidenced in Defendants' summary judgment motion, which is 19 premised on the assumption that "Plaintiffs claim that Defendants retaliated against them for filing 20 charges with DFEH." Mot. at 27 (citing AC ¶ 117). Defendants were not sufficiently on notice 21 regarding what speech Plaintiffs alleged took place in Plaintiffs' capacity as private citizens, nor 22 which alleged employment actions were purportedly in retaliation for such speech. Accordingly, 23 the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' tenth cause of 24 action for First Amendment retaliation. 25
27 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention. This claim 28
2. Negligent Hiring, Training, and Supervision (Ninth Cause of Action)
Lastly, Defendants have moved for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' ninth cause of action, requires a showing that Plaintiffs' constitutional rights have been violated, and also requires a 2 showing that the negligent hiring, training, or supervision policies directly caused the plaintiff's 3 constitutional injury. See City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989) ("[A] 4 municipality can be found liable under § 1983 only where the municipality itself causes [a] 5 constitutional violation at issue.") (citing Monell v. New York City Dep't. of Soc. Services, 436 U.S. 6 658, 694-95 (1978)). Plaintiffs failed to present any evidence or argument opposing summary 7 judgment on this claim. 8
Because the Court has granted summary judgment for Defendants on Plaintiffs' First Amendment claim-Plaintiffs' only allegation of a constitutional violation-Plaintiffs cannot 10 establish the prerequisite constitutional violation to sustain a Section 1983 claim, much less that the County's policies caused such a violation. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' ninth cause of action is GRANTED.
For the reasons explained above, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment as to the third cause of action by Plaintiff Burrell, "Discrimination-Disparate Treatment," 16 and as to Plaintiff Burrell's second cause of action, "Failure to Protect from Discrimination under 17
FEHA." The Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to all remaining 18 causes of action. Accordingly, Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to all 19 claims by Plaintiffs Hayter and Headd, and as to all claims again individual Defendants Dan 20
Peddycord, Rae Wedel, and Marty Fenstersheib. Defendants' Motion to Sever is DENIED as 21 moot. 22
United States District Court For the Northern District of California
IT IS SO ORDERED.