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Heywood v. Buckley

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

March 24, 2017

Daralyn Heywood
v.
Kevin Buckley et al. [1] No. 136613

          Filed March 28, 2017

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          Edward P. Leibensperger, Justice of the Superior Court.

         Plaintiff, Daralyn Heywood, files this action against defendants, Kevin Buckley and the Massachusetts State Police (MSP), claiming sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of G.L.c. 151B, § 4. Buckley and MSP separately move to dismiss Heywood's Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, defendants' motions to dismiss are denied.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts as alleged in the Complaint are as follows.

         Heywood is a female Sergeant with MSP. Heywood has worked for MSP for twenty-three years. She received outstanding observation reports and employment evaluations. Buckley is a male Lieutenant with MSP, commander of the Yarmouth barracks (beginning in September 2014), and Heywood's direct supervisor.

         Heywood worked closely with Buckley at MSP, handled the daily tasks of administration within the barracks, and supervised the day shift. In 2014, Buckley gave Heywood an outstanding employment evaluation.

         Soon after arriving at the Yarmouth barracks, Buckley began to initiate personal and highly inappropriate conversations with Heywood during work hours. Buckley told Heywood that he was having an extramarital affair with another female MSP Sergeant. On several occasions, Buckley discussed explicit details of his sexual encounters with his mistress. He also told Heywood about the intimate sexual deficiencies in his marriage. These conversations made Heywood extremely uncomfortable.

         Heywood experienced Buckley's continuous attempts to talk about his sexual endeavors as a sexual advance towards her. Heywood initially attempted to end the sexual conversations by simply telling Buckley that the subject matter was inappropriate. The offensive conversations continued.

         Sometime in May 2015, Buckley told Heywood that he planned to end his affair with the other female MSP Sergeant. Buckley also told Heywood that his mistress was jealous of Heywood and she threatened to disclose the details of his affair to his wife. At this point, Heywood informed Buckley that she did not want to get involved with his personal problems and she would no longer tolerate discussions concerning his sex life or his affair.

         Shortly thereafter, Heywood began to suffer adverse employment actions in retaliation for rejecting Buckley's sexual conduct. Buckley began to unfairly and openly criticize Heywood's work and to overturn her supervisory decisions, which caused tension within the barracks. Buckley's conduct created an intimidating and hostile work environment for Heywood and interfered with her ability to do her job.

         In August 2015, as an alleged act of retaliation, Buckley transferred Heywood from the day shift, where she worked for approximately one year, to the midnight shift. Thereafter, Buckley began to openly criticize the midnight shift via e-mail. The open criticism of the shift, which Heywood supervised, caused junior officers under her supervision to question Buckley's motivations and to undermine her authority as a supervisor. Buckley cancelled days off for officers under Heywood's supervision that she previously approved, undermining Heywood's authority. In addition, Buckley denied Heywood opportunities to attend training.

         On December 16, 2015, Buckley and Heywood met with a MSP Captain, where to Heywood's surprise, Buckley aggressively criticized her work. Heywood did not have prior notice of the meeting and thus, did not have a union representative present. At the meeting, Heywood requested an immediate transfer out of the Yarmouth barracks to remove herself from Buckley's supervision. Heywood's request was denied. She was told that she would have to remain at the Yarmouth barracks for an additional sixty days. In fact, however, Heywood was never transferred from the Yarmouth barracks.

         On December 28, 2015, Heywood filed a formal internal complaint alleging sexual harassment and retaliation even though she ...


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