United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, plaintiff Marjorie Dunbar alleges that defendant Town
of Stratford discriminated against her based on her race or
color and retaliated against her in violation of Title VII.
has filed a motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's
complaint. For the following reasons, the motion for summary
judgment will be granted.
parties have submitted statements of undisputed facts,
exhibits and affidavits. Although plaintiff filed her Rule 56
statement late, the Court accepts the filing. These materials
reflect the following factual background.
is an African-American woman, who has been employed by
defendant since 2000. She holds a non-union, at-will position
of Finance Secretary, providing clerical and administrative
support to the Finance Director. According to plaintiff's
deposition testimony, plaintiff has had “pretty much
the same” job responsibilities since 2003. When she
performs additional duties, plaintiff receives extra pay or
“stipends.” Plaintiff received regular annual pay
increases from 2003 through fiscal year (“FY”)
2009. In FY 2010, then-Mayor James Miron sought raises for
the non-union, at-will employees. This request was rejected
by the Town Council.
2010, the non-union, at-will employees were required to
accept two furlough days and a wage freeze. All non-union,
at-will staff were required to sign letter agreements,
standardizing many of the terms and conditions of employment.
These agreements provided, in relevant part, that (1) raises
were at the Mayor's sole discretion and recommendation,
subject to the approval of the Town Council; and (2) that
at-will employees would receive limited sick leave and no pay
for longevity. The agreements contained no provision
conferring a benefit for an employee with perfect attendance.
received a raise of about $1, 200 on January 1, 2012,
bringing her annual salary to $57, 690. The raise, which
occurred during FY 2013, was recommended by plaintiff's
supervisor, Susan Collier, Director of Finance; it was
approved by Human Resources Director Ronald Ing, Chief
Administrative Officer Stephen Nocera, and Mayor John
Harkins. Later, in November 2012, plaintiff asked Collier and
Ing for another raise. Plaintiff also requested that she be
allowed to cash out her vacation days, although she
understood that non-union, at-will staff were not permitted
to do so.
requested a 2.5% raise for plaintiff at the end of 2012. She
knew that the proposal was not included in the Town budget;
however, she submitted the request because she thought that
money allocated for a vacant position could be directed
toward plaintiff's raise.
Harkins declined the request for the pay increase to
plaintiff's salary. He asserted that he based his
decision upon information that there would be a dramatic
increase in health insurance costs; consequently, he did not
want to ask the Council to approve a mid-year raise that had
not been previously included in the Town budget. Collier was
informed that the decision was due to budget constraints.
2013, plaintiff signed a revised employee agreement dated
March 26, 2013, which allowed her to carry over and to cash
out her vacation time for the first time.
April 29, 2013, plaintiff filed a complaint to the Commission
on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”),
alleging that she had been denied a raise and was earning a
different rate of pay due to a discriminatory animus.
1, 2014, plaintiff and other non-union, at-will employees
received raises. The raise for plaintiff's position had
been approved as part of the FY 2015 budget. According to
defendant, the raise was approved by Ing, Collier, Nocera,
and Mayor Harkins.
November 2015, plaintiff found heavy equipment blocking her
reserved handicapped parking space as well as those of other
employees. Plaintiff, who possesses a handicap tag, parked in
another handicap parking place. She asserts that members of
the Town administration saw her park in the handicap space
and called the police. Police Officer Donald Schuler called
her and questioned her about the validity of her handicap
tag. He did not give her a ticket.
claims that she was denied a copy of the incident report
regarding this situation and that the police have told her
such report does not exist.
asserts that a year prior to filing her 2013 CHRO claim, a
co-worker made a racial remarks to her. Plaintiff maintains
that the co-worker complimented her hairstyle and then
stated, “Black don't crack.” Additionally,
plaintiff asserts that on another occasion, the co-worker
said, “I am catching up to you, ” in reference to
the co-worker's tan. According to Ing, plaintiff asked
him what could be done about inappropriate comments from a
recalls inquiring whether she wanted to file a complaint, and
that she declined to do so at the time. ...