JENNIFER RASPARDO, NEEDASABRINA RUSSELL, GINA SPRING, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
JOHN CARLONE, WILLIAM GAGLIARDI, THOMAS STECK, KENNETH PANETTA, ANTHONY PAVENTI, Defendants-Appellants, CITY OF NEW BRITAIN, NEW BRITAIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants. [*]
Argued: June 28, 2013.
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Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. No. 9-CV-1321 -- Alvin W. Thompson, Judge.
Appeal from orders of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Alvin W. Thompson, Judge) denying the defendant police supervisors' motions for summary judgment in the plaintiffs' employment discrimination action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We agree with the district court tat Defendant Carlone is not entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiff Raspardo's hostile work environment claim. We conclude, however, that the defendants are protected by qualified immunity in all other respects. Accordingly, we AFFIRM in part, REVERSE in part, and REMAND.
ALEXANDRIA L. VOCCIO, Howd & Ludorf, LLC, Hartford, Connecticut, for Defendant-Appellant John Carlone.
JOSEPH W. MCQUADE, Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C., Hartford, Connecticut, for Defendant-Appellant Anthony Paventi.
IRENA J. URBANIAK (Joseph E. Skelly, Jr., on the brief), Office of the Corporation Counsel, City of New Britain, New Britain, Connecticut, for Defendants-Appellants.
NORMAN A. PATTIS, The Pattis Law Firm, LLC, Bethany, Connecticut, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.
Before: WINTER, LYNCH, and DRONEY, Circuit Judges.
DRONEY, Circuit Judge :
Plaintiffs-Appellees (the " plaintiffs" ), two former and one current female New Britain police officers, brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut against the City of New Britain, its police department, the police union, and five individual police supervisors under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and other federal and state laws. The plaintiffs alleged that the five supervisors discriminated against them on the basis of sex by creating a hostile work environment and disparate treatment. Those individual defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, but the district court (Alvin W. Thompson, J.), denied their motions. The five individual defendants contend here, as they did before the district court, that they are entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons that follow, we AFFIRM in part and REVERSE in part the district court's denial of the individual defendants' motions for summary judgment and REMAND for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
I. The Plaintiffs' Claims of Sexual Harassment and Disparate Treatment
The New Britain Police Department (" NBPD" or the " department" ) hired Plaintiff Gina Spring on January 28, 2005, and Plaintiffs Jennifer Raspardo and Needasabrina Russell in August of 2006. Spring resigned from the NBPD on August 21, 2008, when she accepted a position
with the City of Torrington Police Department. Russell went on Family and Medical Leave Act (" FMLA" ) leave in 2008 and never returned to active duty, ultimately leaving the NBPD permanently in 2010. Raspardo remained an NBPD officer at the time of the filing of this suit. The five defendants in this appeal were at all times supervisory police officers in the NBPD.
The plaintiffs' claims against these defendants are best understood by dividing them into two categories. First, each of the plaintiffs alleges that John Carlone, a sergeant in the NBPD and their direct supervisor, sexually harassed them through inappropriate jokes, comments, and other behavior, including unwanted physical contact with Raspardo and Russell, which created a hostile work environment. Second, the plaintiffs allege that the four other individual defendants created a hostile work environment and subjected them to disparate treatment by making inappropriate comments, failing to adequately report or investigate Carlone's harassing behavior, and disciplining the plaintiffs more harshly for violations of NBPD policies than male officers. Most of the events occurred between early 2007 and early 2008.
We first address the claims against Carlone before turning to the claims against the four other defendants.
A. The Plaintiffs' Claims Regarding ...