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Mary E. Webb v. Niagara County

November 10, 2012

MARY E. WEBB, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NIAGARA COUNTY, DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Mary Webb, is a licensed clinical social worker currently employed by Defendant, Niagara County, New York. Webb alleges that her employer, Niagara County's Department of Mental Health, retaliated against her for filing discrimination charges with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("Human Rights Division"). She brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 ("Title VII"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. ("ADEA"). Presently before this Court is Niagara County's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, that motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts*fn1

In 2002, Mary Webb began work with Niagara County as a staff social worker in its Department of Mental of Health ("DOMH"). (Def.'s State., ¶ 5; Docket No. 13-1.) The DOMH, which offers various treatment programs to residents of the County, has two locations: Niagara Falls, New York and Lockport, New York. (Id., ¶ 3.) Webb began in the Niagara Falls office, but was aware that her location could change depending on the needs of the patients. (Id., ¶ 9.) Further, as part of her duties as a staff social worker, she was required to be "on-call" in case of emergencies. (Id., ¶ 16.)

In 2005, Webb became the coordinator of the Rape Crisis Services program. Although she still served in other capacities, she allocated between 50 and 80 percent of her time this program. (Id., ¶ 15; Pl.'s State., ¶ 15; Docket No. 20-1.) As the coordinator, she was required to be on-call at all times. (Def.'s State., ¶ 16.) In March of 2009, however, Webb learned that Niagara County would be transferring the Rape Crisis Services program to another agency. (Id., ¶ 22.)

According to Michael White, the Deputy Director of the DOMH, he and Carol Ross, the Supervising Social Director at DOMH, evaluated the staffing needs at the two locations and determinated that there was a vacancy at the Lockport office. (Id., ¶¶ 24--26.) Although Webb disputes the motivation, White contends that due to this staffing situation, and because Webb's role as the coordinator of the Rape Crisis Services program was now eliminated, he amended Webb's work schedule. She was now to work at the Lockport office three days per week, with the remaining days to be served at the Niagara Falls office. (Id., ¶¶ 27--29.)

At some point around this time, Webb did not receive a desired promotion.*fn2 This prompted her to file a complaint with the Human Rights Division on July 30, 2009. (Ex. 3 of Pl.'s Resp.; Docket No. 20-3.) Therein, she alleged that she was passed over for the promotion because of her age and race. (Id.) After the reassignment, Webb filed another complaint with the Human Rights Division. (Ex. 8 of Pl.'s Resp.; Docket No. 20-3.) This time, she alleged that her reassignment constituted a retaliation for her first complaint. (Id.) The Human Rights Division denied both claims. (Exs. F & H of Swift Aff.; Docket No. 13-5.)

Also after the reassignment, Webb was denied overtime (Def.'s State., ¶ 41), required to be on-call (Id., ¶ 39), assigned a new supervisor (Id., ¶ 45), and assigned to supervise another employee, Theresa Ackerman (Id., ¶ 44). Webb contends these acts were in response to her complaints with the Human Rights Division.

B. Procedural History

Webb filed a complaint in this Court on March 7, 2011. (Docket No. 1.) On April 5, 2011, Niagara County filed its answer to Webb's complaint. (Docket No. 3.) After discovery, on May 18, 2012, Niagara County filed this motion for summary judgment. (Docket No. 13.) Briefing concluded on July 23, 2012, at which time this Court took the motion under advisement.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment ...


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