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Haley v. The Aroostook Medical Center

Superior Court of Maine, Sagadahoc

September 19, 2017

KARY HALEY, Plaintiff
v.
THE AROOSTOOK MEDICAL CENTER Defendant,

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          DANIEL I. BILLINGS, JUSTICE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         I. Background

         The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant, The Aroostook Medical Center ("TAMC"), beginning in December 2010, through February and March 2013. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 1-6). During the same time period, Barry Campbell was also employed by TAMC and worked in the same office and space as the Plaintiff in late 2012 and early 2013. (Id. at ¶¶ 2-4). Mr. Campbell never had the authority to hire, fire, demote, transfer, or discipline any employees. (Id. at ¶ 5).

         On Thursday, February 7, 2013, the Plaintiff observed Mr. Campbell pull a co-worker's ID badge that was attached to her chest in a manner that both the Plaintiff and her co-worker believed was inappropriate. (Id. at ¶ 13). Both Plaintiff and her co-worker reported the incident to the co-worker's supervisor that same day. (Id. at ¶ 14). During this meeting, the Plaintiff reported two incidents regarding Mr. Campbell's prior behavior towards herself: (1) that Mr. Campbell "stands too close to the back of her chair" and once asked "why is your chair so low?" and (2) that "he was sitting on the side of her desk one day and she felt like he was brushing his genital area with his hand" in a way that was "more than an adjustment." (Id. at ¶ 17; Pl Dep. Ex. 4). The supervisor reported these complaints, and those reported by the Plaintiff's co-worker, to human resources the same day. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 19-21).

         On either the next day, Friday, February 8, or the following Monday, February 11, 2013, the co-worker's supervisor and Mr. Campbell's supervisor met with Mr. Campbell to discuss the complaints, and inform him that there would be further investigation and that no retaliation would be tolerated. (Id. at ¶¶ 22-23). Whether Mr. Campbell took this warning seriously is a matter of dispute. (Pl's Opp. S.M.F. ¶ 23).

         On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 12 and 13, 2013, the co-worker's supervisor interviewed three more of the Plaintiff's co-workers. (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 24-28). Each reported incidents of alleged sexually harassing behavior by Mr. Campbell. (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 26-28).

         On Friday, February 15, 2013, Mr. Campbell was placed on administrative leave beginning Monday, February 18, 3013 for a comment he made that led TAMC to believe he was not taking the situation seriously. (Id. at ¶ 31).

         The following week, Mr. Campbell's supervisor attempted to arrange a meeting with him to further investigate the February 7, 2013 reports by the Plaintiff and her co-worker. (Id. at 33). Mr. Campbell refused to meet without an attorney, but was told by TAMC that he could not have an attorney present, and therefore the meeting was never scheduled. (Id. at ¶¶ 34-36).

         On Thursday, February 28, 2013, Mr. Campbell met with TAMC's Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Thomas Umphrey. (Id. at ¶ 37). At this meeting, Mr. Umphrey discussed the investigation, the circumstances surrounding Mr. Campbell's return to employment with TAMC, and his findings: (a) that Mr. Campbell engaged in unwelcome comments and physical acts, (b) that he made light of the situation and suggest retaliatory behavior, and (c) that he should have known that his actions were contrary to TAMC's policies. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-38; Umphrey Aff. Ex. 5). The next day, Friday, March 1, 2013, Mr. Umphrey and Mr. Campbell met again to review a letter describing Mr. Umphrey's findings, listed above, and issue a Final Written Warning that "any future behavior of a similar nature, including any retaliatory actions, will result in immediate termination." (Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 41-43; Umphrey Aff. Ex. 5).

         Also, on Friday, March 1, 2013, Mr. Umphrey, along with Mr. Campbell's supervisor and the Plaintiff's co-worker's supervisor, told the Plaintiff and her co-worker that Mr. Campbell would be returning to work on Monday, March 4, 2013. (Id. at ¶ 44). At this time, the Plaintiff claimed that she had not been fully heard, and was told that she could file a grievance concerning the handling of her complaint. (Id. at ¶ 47-48). The Plaintiff met with TAMC supervisors to discuss such a grievance on Monday, March 4, 2013, and she prepared a written statement in support of that grievance on March 5, 2013. (Id. at ¶¶ 51, 53). In this statement, the Plaintiff repeated the allegations of her original February 7, 2013 report in more detail and also described an additional incident in the fall of 2012 when Mr. Campbell put his arm around her and let his hand fall atop her breast. (Id. at ¶¶ 54-56).

         When Mr. Campbell returned to work on Monday, March 4, 2013, the Plaintiff was out of the office on administrative leave for that week, and she was out on vacation the following week. (Id. at ¶¶ 49-50). During the week Plaintiff was on administrative leave, Mr. Campbell went to the area where the Plaintiff's co-worker who also reported him was stationed. TAMC terminated Mr. Campbell on Friday, March 8, 2013 after Mr. Umphrey determined that Mr. Campbell could not follow the conditions placed on his employment. (Id. at ¶¶ 58-60). Between when the Plaintiff reported Mr. Campbell's conduct on February 7, 2013 and when he was terminated on March 8, 2013, the Plaintiff did not experience any further unwelcome sexual conduct from Mr. Campbell. (Id. at ¶ 64).

         II. Discussion

         A. ...


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