United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
PAULA L. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
MEGAN J. BRENNAN, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION AND MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
DENNIS SAYLOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a workplace discrimination action. Plaintiff Paula Young was
formerly a temporary employee of the United States Postal
Service. In the fall of 2010, Young was involved in a minor
automobile accident, after which she took leave from work for
almost eight weeks. The Postal Service did not approve that
period of leave, and subsequently declined to renew her
temporary appointment. She has brought this action against
the Postmaster General, alleging that the Postal Service
violated the Family Medical Leave Act; unlawfully retaliated
against her for engaging in protected conduct; and
discriminated against her on the basis of race, sex, and
disability. She is proceeding pro se.
Court granted defendant's motion to dismiss in part,
dismissing all claims except plaintiff's claims for race
and gender discrimination in violation of Title VII.
Defendant has now moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment on the remaining claims. For the following
reasons, the motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction will be denied, and the motion for summary
judgment will be granted.
following facts are as set forth in record and are undisputed
except as noted.
Young is an African-American woman and a former Postal
Service employee. (Compl. at 1). Megan Brennan is the
Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service.
began working for the Postal Service in 2008. (Porfert Decl.
¶ 2). She was employed as a transitional employee letter
carrier (“TE”), which was a temporary appointment
for one year. (Id.). TEs are paid hourly and do not
have set work schedules. (Id. ¶ 5). However,
they are expected to work at least 40 hours per week, and are
permitted to work up to 56 hours per week. (Id.).
The Postal Service hires TEs to save costs, namely to
minimize overtime wages for career letter carriers.
(Id.). If a TE does not work 40 hours per week, his
or her work would have to be handled by another TE or a
career letter carrier. (Id.). The one-year
appointment can be renewed, but under the governing
collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), the
Postal Service has discretion in deciding whether to rehire a
TE. (Id. ¶ 2).
appears that Young's one-year appointment was renewed in
June 2009. In March 2010, she was transferred to the Waltham
Annex Post Office. (Id. ¶ 3). Her immediate
supervisors in Waltham were Mark Boyden and Lisa Maydoney.
(Boyden Decl. ¶ 2; Maydoney Decl. ¶ 2). Her
second-level supervisor was Christopher Porfert, the Waltham
Post Office manager. (Porfert Decl. ¶ 3). In June 2010,
before her one-year appointment as a TE expired on June 30,
2010, Porfert rehired her for another one-year term.
(Id. ¶ 4).
late June and mid-October 2010, Young worked an average of 31
hours per week, 9 hours below the expected 40-hour minimum
for a TE. (Id. ¶ 6).
October 8, 2010, Young was delivering mail in her Postal
Service truck. (Young Dep. at 24-25). When she was stopped at
a stop sign, an automobile struck the rear of the truck.
(Id. at 26-27) (“I felt a push, a jerk, a
shove.”). There was no damage done to either vehicle.
(Id. at 35).
called Porfert, who immediately visited the accident site
accompanied by a repairman. (Id. at 36-38; Porfert
Decl. ¶ 7). Porfert noted that neither Young nor the
other driver appeared to be injured. (Porfert Decl. ¶
7). However, Young told him that she had a headache, and that
“I wouldn't feel any real pain until
tomorrow.” (Young Dep. at 38). Porfert confirmed that
there was no damage done to either vehicle and concluded that
the sedan had merely tapped into the truck at low speed.
(Porfert Decl. ¶ 8). Afterwards, Young completed her
postal route for the day and returned to the Waltham
facility. (Young Dep. at 39-40). Porfert did not report any
injuries to the Postal Service. (Pl.'s Opp. at
she arrived back at the Waltham facility, Young spoke with
Maydoney. (Maydoney Decl. ¶ 3). Young did not mention
the accident or any injuries to her. She then worked five
consecutive days the following week. (Boyden Decl.
¶¶ 3-4). During that time, she did not state she
had been injured on October 8, 2010, to any of her
supervisors. (Porfert Decl. ¶ 9; Boyden Decl. ¶ 4;
Maydoney Decl. ¶ 3).
November 1, 2010, Young's health-care provider faxed a
document to the Waltham Post Office stating that she had
suffered “multiple injuries” stemming from a
“MVA.” (Maydoney Decl. ¶ 5). The fax was the
first time the Postal Service had learned that Young
complained of an injury. (Porfert Decl. ¶¶ 9, 11;
Boyden Decl. ¶ 4; Maydoney Decl. ¶¶ 3, 5).
receiving the fax, Maydoney called Porfert, who instructed
her to ask Young for an explanation. (Porfert Decl. ¶
11; Maydoney Decl. ¶ 5). That evening, Young told
Maydoney that she had injured her lower back and neck in the
car accident and had sought medical treatment at a hospital.
(Maydoney Decl. ¶ 5). According to Maydoney, Young also
stated she would need physical therapy and that the accident
“worked out great” because she was in the process
of moving and could use the time to address some personal
November 2, 2010, at approximately 2:00 p.m., Porfert called
Young, with Boyden and Maydoney listening in. (Porfert Decl.
¶ 12). According to the supervisors, Young brought up
her history of childbirth as an explanation for why she
suffered from back pain. (Id.; Boyden Decl. ¶
5; Maydoney Decl. ¶ 6). However, Young testified at her
deposition that Porfert suggested that her pain was due to
pregnancy. (Young Dep. at 61).
that same November 2 call, Porfert told Young to come into
the office the next day and fill out the required paperwork
to report an injury. (Porfert Decl. ¶ 12). The parties
agreed that she would come in at 1:00 p.m. the following day,
which was November 3. (Id.).
did not report for work on November 3. At approximately 5:00
p.m. that day, a woman identifying herself as Young's
daughter stated that Young was sick and could not attend that
day. (Pl. Ex. 3).
did not come into the Post Office anytime during the
following week. (Maydoney Decl. ¶ 7). According to
Porfert, around that time, he decided that he would ...