FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. John A. Woodcock, Jr., U.S. District Judge]
A. Clifford, with whom Andrew P. Cotter and Clifford &
Clifford, LLC, were on brief, for appellants.
Barbara Archer Hirsch for Maine Human Rights Commission,
Katharine I. Rand, with whom James R. Erwin, Michelle Y.
Bush, and Pierce Atwood LLP were on brief, for appellee.
Noel Occhialino, Attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, P. David Lopez, General Counsel, Jennifer S.
Goldstein, Associate General Counsel, and Lorraine C. Davis,
Assistant General Counsel, on brief for Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, amicus curiae.
Torruella and Barron, Circuit Judges, and Lisi, [*] District Judge.
BARRON, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Brenda Pippin and Grace Parker are former employees of the
Boulevard Motel Corporation ("Boulevard"). They
filed complaints that alleged that Boulevard fired them in
violation of the Maine Whistleblowers' Protection Act
("MWPA") and the Maine Human Rights Act
("MHRA"). The District Court granted summary
judgment for Boulevard, relying on a purported "job
duties exception" to both statutes. On appeal, the
parties agree that our intervening decision in Harrison
v. Granite Bay Care, Inc., 811 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2016),
made clear that no "job duties exception" exists
under either the MWPA or, by implication, the MHRA. But
Boulevard argues that we nonetheless can affirm the District
Court's ruling because it is supportable on other
grounds. Because we disagree that other grounds support the
order granting summary judgment, we reverse.
review of an order granting summary judgment, we recite the
facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
part[ies]." Walsh v. TelTech Sys., Inc., 821
F.3d 155, 157-58 (1st Cir. 2016). Thus, we present the facts
in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs.
case concerns an incident of sexual harassment that occurred
at the Comfort Inn Hotel in South Portland, Maine. The hotel
is owned by the defendant, Boulevard. The plaintiffs are
Pippin, the hotel's former executive housekeeper, and
Parker, the hotel's former assistant executive
incident involved a maintenance worker at the hotel making
graphic, sexual comments to a female housekeeper about her
body. The victim -- along with Pippin and Parker -- made the
initial report of the incident to the defendant. The three
women made that report to the hotel's general manager,
Beth Landergren. At that initial meeting on April 27, 2010,
Pippin told Landergren: "[the victim] needs to talk to
you. . . . she has gone through some incidents with [the
maintenance worker] . . . and it's not pleasant."
The victim then proceeded to describe the incident to
course of the defendant's resulting investigation of the
incident, the plaintiffs each also made oral and written
statements about it to Ignacio Mello, the defendant's
human resources manager. On May 11, 2010, after the
investigation had come to a close, the defendant sent a
written reprimand to the maintenance worker. No further
disciplinary action was taken against him.
than three weeks later, on June 2, 2010, each plaintiff sent
another written statement to Mello. Parker's statement
described a conversation with a co-worker, Veronica Connolly,
in which Connolly had reported feeling pressured by
Landergren to protect the accused harasser during the
investigation. Pippin's statement recounted a meeting
that she had with the victim and Landergren the day before,
during which the victim had accused Landergren of, among
other things, only caring about "saving [the accused
2011, both plaintiffs were terminated from their employment
by the defendant. On March 21, 2014, each plaintiff brought
suit, in two separate complaints, in Maine Superior Court.
Each plaintiff alleged that her termination violated both the
MWPA, which protects an employee who, in good faith,
"reports orally or in writing to [her] employer or a
public body what the employee has reasonable cause to believe
is a violation of  law" by her employer, Me. Rev.
Stat. tit. 26, § 833; Costain v. Sunbury Primary
Care, P.A., 954 A.2d 1051, 1054 (Me. 2008), and the
antiretaliation provision of the MHRA, which prohibits