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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
December 6, 2010, Argued; June 17, 2011, Decided
[*409] [**88] Griffith, Circuit Judge: Appellant Nicholas Geleta alleges he was transferred to a position of less responsibility within the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health in retaliation for his statements corroborating a claim of racial discrimination against a Department official. The district court granted summary judgment for the District on the ground that Geleta failed to show that his transfer was a materially adverse employment action. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings.
In 2001, appellant Nicholas Geleta [***2] helped the Department of Mental Health obtain a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a citywide mental health initiative for children with serious emotional disorders and their families. The project, known as D.C. Children Inspired Now Gain Strength (DC CINGS), sought to unite various children's mental health programs throughout the District into a single system of care. In April 2002, Geleta became DC CINGS's Project Director, a position that involved supervising approximately twenty employees and overseeing the planning, implementation, and evaluation of DC CINGS operations.
In June 2004, as part of its annual grant reauthorization process, HHS identified several terms and conditions DC CINGS needed to satisfy to ensure continued funding. These involved housekeeping matters such as submitting quarterly reports, creating communications and sustainability plans, and filling a particular position by a certain date. Four months later, in October 2004, representatives from HHS visited DC CINGS to assess the program's progress and compliance with grant conditions. The site visitors issued a report on November 15, 2004, discussing the project's [***3] strengths and offering various recommendations for improvement. The report singled out Geleta's "dedicated leadership" as one of the project's strengths, Def. Ex. B, at 14, and recommended, among other things, targeting services to particular subgroups, expanding outreach efforts, and increasing community involvement in program decisionmaking, id. at 3-5. The report also announced that a follow-up visit would occur in six months to review progress on the recommendations, id. at 5, and reiterated that failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the reauthorization "may result in . . . suspension of funding," id. at 6.
On October 12, 2004, about a month before HHS issued its report, Geleta attended a meeting with several other senior Department of Mental Health officials, including Velva Spriggs, Geleta's direct supervisor; Ella Thomas, the Director of Policy and Planning and Spriggs's supervisor; and Mary Phillips, the Director of the Department's Juvenile Assessment Center. At the meeting, Spriggs, a black woman, and Phillips, a white woman, had a heated [*410] [**89] argument over whether Phillips reported to Spriggs. According to Spriggs, Phillips called her a "***" and said, "My mother [***4] told me not to deal with people of your kind."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
645 F.3d 408 *; 396 U.S. App. D.C. 87 **; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 12398 ***; 112 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 981
NICHOLAS GELETA, APPELLANT v. VINCENT GRAY, MAYOR, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, APPELLEES
Prior History: [***1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:06-cv-01822).
Geleta v. Fenty, 685 F. Supp. 2d 99, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15360 (D.D.C., 2010)
transferred, summary judgment, adverse employment action, reasonable jury, retaliation, mental health, terms and conditions, funding, reasons, district court, supervisory, employees, proffered, pretext, treatment center, federal funding, nondiscriminatory, Monitoring, supervised
Labor & Employment Law, Retaliation, Elements, General Overview, Title VII Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Civil Procedure, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Evidentiary Considerations, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Discrimination, Burdens of Proof, Adverse Employment Actions, Supporting Materials, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Burden Shifting, Employment Practices, Adverse Employment Actions, Disparate Treatment, Circumstantial & Direct Evidence, Evidence, Statements as Evidence, Hearsay, Exemptions, Statements by Party Opponents, Vicarious Statements