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BECKER v. ULSTER COUNTY

October 9, 2001

GAIL BECKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ULSTER COUNTY (NEW YORK); THOMAS A. COSTELLO; WANDA PROWISOR; AND PAT VASELEWSKI, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R. Homer, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

  MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Gail Becker ("Becker") brings this action alleging sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.; the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1985; the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296; and New York State Civil Service Law, N.Y. Civ. Serv. § 75-b. Specifically, Becker alleges that her supervisors failed to take appropriate steps to protect her after she was assaulted by a co-worker. See Third Am. Compl. (Docket No. 19) at ¶¶ 21-47. Becker further alleges that she was terminated in retaliation for complaints lodged against her supervisors. Id.
Presently pending is defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(b). Docket Nos. 27 & 28. Becker opposes the motion. Docket Nos. 29 & 30. For the reasons which follow, the motion is denied in its entirety
I. Background
For purposes of this motion, the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Becker as the non-movant. See section II(A) infra.
On October 26, 1998, Becker began work with the Ulster County Golden Hill Health Care Center ("Golden Hill") as a probationary certified nurse's assistant. Docket No. 27, Ex. E. On December 22, 1998 at approximately 9:45 p.m., Becker was sexually assaulted by her co-worker, Bruce Broadhead ("Broadhead"), in a resident's bathroom. Becker Dep. (Docket No. 27, Ex. I0) at 39, 46, 51-53. Broadhead pinned Becker against the wall, groped her breasts and thighs, attempted to force his hands down her pants, exposed himself and demanded sexual intercourse. Id. at 54-62.
Following the sexual assault, Becker complained to the charge nurse, Linda MacDonald. Id. at 65. Becker was not allowed to telephone the police. Id. at 64-65. Becker completed her shift, id. at 64, and when she arrived at home, she left a message for Deputy Sheriff Weaver. Id. at 68. On December 23, 1998, Deputy Weaver returned Becker's call and told her to file an incident report with Golden Hill. Id. at 69. Becker went to Golden Hill to file and incident report and reported the incident to defendant Patricia Vaselewski ("Vaselewski"), Deputy Director of Clinical Services. Id. at 76. That same day, Broadhead was suspended pending an investigation. Id. at 86. Becker requested time off from work, but Vaselewski required Becker to report for her scheduled afternoon shift. Id. at 104.
On December 31, 1998, Vaselewski informed Becker that unless criminal action was taken against Broadhead, he would not be terminated from his position. Id. at 75, 86. On January 1, 1999, Becker filed a criminal complaint with Deputy Weaver. Id. at 71-73. However, formal charges, however, were not filed for several days. Id. at 76-77.
On January 8, 2000, Becker sent a letter to defendant Thomas Costello ("Costello"), Ulster County Personnel Officer, complaining about her supervisors' failure to take remedial action and Vaselewski's refusal to permit Becker time off to seek an order of protection. Docket No. 29, Ex. E. On January 12, 1999, Becker was ordered reinstated and was asked to meet with Prowisor to complete needed paperwork. Id. at Ex. G. During their meeting, Prowisor presented Becker with a written reprimand for failure to report to work on January 2, 1999. Id. at Ex. F. Prowisor also directed Becker to report for the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift. Id. at Ex. G. Becker attempted to find a baby-sitter for that night but was unable to do so on such short notice. Becker Dep.at 101. Becker immediately told Prowisor that she would be unable to work. Id.; see also Docket No. 29 at Ex. U. Prowisor informed Becker that if she failed to report to work, she would be terminated. Docket No. 29 at Ex. V. Becker did not report to work and her employment was terminated on January 13, 1999. Id. at Ex. G. This action followed.
II. Discussion
A. Summary Judgment Standard
"Summary judgment . . . is appropriate only where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Hunt v. Cromartie, 119 S.Ct. 1545, 1550 (1999) (citations omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Lee v. Sandberg, 136 F.3d 94, 102 (2d Cir. 1997). Once the movant has come forward with sufficient evidence in support of the motion for summary judgment, the opposing party must "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial" and cannot rest on "mere allegations of denials" of the facts asserted by the movant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Rexnord Holdings, Inc. v. Bidermann, 21 F.3d 522, 525-26 (2d Cir. 1994).
The trial court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Grain Traders, Inc. v. Citibank, N.A., 160 F.3d 97, 100 (2d Cir. 1998); see also Eastway Constr. Corp. v. City of New York, 762 F.2d 243, 249 (2d Cir. 1985). "Furthermore, the non-movant `will have his [or her] allegations taken as true, and will receive the benefit of the doubt when his [or her] assertions ...

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