United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
CORRECTED MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION TO
Dennis Saylor IV Chief United States District Judge.
a case of alleged employment discrimination. Plaintiff Brenda
James is an African-American woman and a former Boston police
officer. She has filed suit against the Boston Police
Department, the City of Boston, Captain Paul Russell, Captain
Mark Hayes, Detective Daniel Humphries, and Zelma Greenstein
for discrimination on the basis of race and gender. The
complaint alleges that defendants violated her rights under
Title VII, the Massachusetts Equal Rights Act, the
Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and Massachusetts General
Laws Chapter 151B.
James initially brought this claim with the assistance of
counsel, she is now proceeding pro se. Defendants
have moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted in
part and denied in part.
otherwise noted, the following facts are as alleged in the
James is a resident of Boston, Massachusetts. (Compl. ¶
1). From 1994 until March 2015, she worked in various
capacities as a police officer with the Boston Police
Department. (Id. ¶ 5-6). Before the events at
issue, she had no disciplinary history with her employer.
point in 2010, James was required to submit to an annual drug
test. (Id. ¶ 8-11). She attempted to reschedule
the test on the ground that she had braided her hair and it
required special attention to unbraid. (Id.). The
Department allegedly refused to reschedule the test, and she
was detained for more than two hours by the Boston Police
medical unit while she tried to have it rescheduled.
(Id. ¶ 9, 10).
same year, James was injured while on duty and placed on
leave. (Id. ¶ 13-17). According to the
complaint, at some point afterward, she was “falsely
cleared” for duty without notice. (Id. ¶
13-14). Only after contesting the clearance was she again
placed on “injured on duty” leave. (Id.
complaint alleges that James was mistreated by Zelma
Greenstein, a nurse practitioner with the medical unit.
(Id. ¶ 13, 17). She alleges that Greenstein was
the source of her false clearance for duty and that, even
once the mistake was rectified, Greenstein wrote a letter
stating that she was not complying with her physical-therapy
2011, James returned to full duty. When she did so, her time
records allegedly indicated that she had been docked leave to
which she was entitled. (Id. ¶ 18). Somewhat
confusingly, she also alleges that she was falsely cleared
for work in 2011, once again without notice. (Id.
¶ 19). That clearance allegedly occurred in
contravention to department policies. (Id. ¶
24-25). She further alleges that the clearance occurred when
Director Mullan-whose exact role in these events is not
otherwise clear-informed Captain Paul Russell that she was
cleared to work on November 21, 2011. (Id. ¶
November 21, 2011, Russell directed the department to treat
her as absent without leave (AWOL), including the termination
of her pay and benefits. (Id. ¶ 22). Shortly
thereafter she returned to full duty. (Id. ¶
26). Around that time, Captain Mark Hayes, who had never
worked with her, allegedly called Russell to identify her as
a “problem” and that she was
“disrespectful” and “not
cooperative.” (Id. ¶ 26-27). According to
the complaint, Hayes “never worked with or met”
James and “has long harbored a dislike for [her] based
on her race and gender.” (Id. ¶ 27-28).
December 14, 2011, James reported for a scheduled appointment
with Greenstein and the department physician, who cleared her
to return to duty on January 2, 2012. (Id. ¶
30). Upon her return, according to the complaint, Russell
filed charges against her with the internal affairs division
for her AWOL status. (Id. ¶ 31). Furthermore,
the clerk delayed scheduling time for her on the shooting
range to have her service weapon ...