United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
CHARLES J. MARTINELLI, Plaintiff,
THE BANCROFT CHOPHOUSE, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge
case arises from federal and state employment discrimination
claims brought by Charles Martinelli
(“Martinelli” or “plaintiff”), a
former employee of the defendant, The Bancroft Chophouse, LLC
(“The Bancroft” or “defendant”).
Martinelli alleges that the managers of The Bancroft
subjected him to sexual harassment and retaliation which
ultimately caused him to terminate his employment with
defendant. He now brings claims for 1) hostile work
environment, 2) quid pro quo sexual harassment and 3)
retaliation pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., and M.G.L. c. 151B,
the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment
(Docket No. 22). For the reasons that follow, that motion
will be allowed.
lives in North Reading, Massachusetts. The Bancroft is a
steakhouse restaurant located in Burlington, Massachusetts.
In May, 2014, plaintiff began working as a server at The
Bancroft and he worked there for approximately five months
before terminating his employment in early October, 2014.
relevant times, Martinelli worked as a server at the
restaurant. On occasion, he was assigned to work as a
“closing server”. Closing servers are responsible
for attending to the customers who come in near closing time
and after the other servers go home for the evening. They are
also responsible for confirming that the other servers have
completed all their work and have reset their tables.
Saturday, September 13, 2014, Martinelli was scheduled to
work as a closing server along with one of his co-workers,
Angela Michaels. Colleen Seznec, plaintiff's manager, was
also working that day. At some point early in
Martinelli's shift, he observed Seznec and Michaels
having a conversation in the dining room. Shortly thereafter,
plaintiff alleges that Seznec approached him and told him
that she and Michaels had been discussing which employee they
would like to sleep with. She then told Martinelli that he
would be her choice. Martinelli responded that he was
“gay and, basically, you have a better chance of seeing
a unicorn than that ever happening” and she just
laughed it off. Plaintiff concedes that 1) he did not
consider Seznec's comment to be offensive at the time or
think about it too much and 2) Seznec never said anything
else that day or on any other occasion that he considered to
in the shift, Seznec spoke to Martinelli about his failure to
perform all of his work responsibilities and his
over-concentration on music. Martinelli characterizes those
interactions as uncharacteristically aggressive on the part
of Seznec. Finally, Seznec asked Martinelli to come into work
the next day, Sunday, which was not his regular day.
Martinelli took that request as a reprimand.
that night, both plaintiff and Michaels left the restaurant
early without checking out the other servers. There is a
dispute between the parties as to whether the closing manager
knew about plaintiff's early departure but Martinelli
concedes that 1) he left early, 2) he could not remember
specifically whether he had asked permission to do so and 3)
he could not remember who he had asked to take over for him.
following morning, September 14, 2014, Martinelli reported to
the restaurant for the brunch shift. He was immediately told
by the manager that he was suspended from work for leaving
early the previous evening without completing his closing
duties. He was also informed that he would not be allowed to
return to work until he spoke with Richard Brackett, the
General Manager of The Bancroft. Michaels was also suspended
for leaving the restaurant early without completing her
met with Brackett and Laura Ferry, the Human Resources
Manager, on September 18, 2014, to discuss his suspension.
During that meeting, Brackett told plaintiff that he was
being held responsible for not finishing his closing shift on
September 13 and that his discipline was suspension for one
shift which had been served. Martinelli signed a document
reflecting that he had left the restaurant early without
completing his closing duties.
that meeting, Martinelli told Brackett and Ferry about the
sexual comment that Seznec had made to him on September 13.
The Bancroft immediately initiated an investigation into
plaintiff's allegations. That same day, Brackett met with
Seznec who told him a different version of the subject
conversation. According to Seznec, she had only told Michaels
that she thought Martinelli was handsome and it was Michaels
who had relayed that comment to plaintiff.
next day, on September 19, 2014, Martinelli met with Seznec,
Brackett and Ferry. At that meeting, Seznec apologized to
Martinelli for the inappropriate remark and told him that it
would not happen again. Martinelli accepted her apology and
did not ask The Bancroft to take any further action with
respect to his complaint. The Bancroft concluded that the
situation had been resolved and informed plaintiff that he
should contact Human Resources immediately if any subsequent
incidents of alleged harassment or retaliation were to arise.
alleges that he was thereafter subjected to “an overall
uncomfortable feeling” when he would walk into the
restaurant and felt as though he was being ostracized by The
Bancroft management. The only specific incident that
Martinelli can recall, however, involved his request of
another manager to help him find a particular wine. The
Manager acted annoyed and told him that it was located in the