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Thompson v. Adams County School District 50

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 30, 2018

JANET THOMPSON and DEBORAH SOLIS Plaintiffs,
v.
ADAMS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT 50, a/k/a Westminster Public Schools, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          WILLIAM J. MARTINEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Janet Thompson and Deborah Solis (together, “Plaintiffs”) bring this suit against Westminster Public Schools (“Defendant”), alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and constructive discharge. (See ECF No. 22.) Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' constructive discharge claim pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         For purposes of this Motion the Court will take the following factual allegations, taken from Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, to be true:

Plaintiff Thompson was a bus driver with Westminster Public Schools from 1997 until 2015. (ECF No. 22 at 3, ¶¶ 9, 11.) Plaintiff Solis was a bus monitor from 1996 until 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 11.) Plaintiffs worked together on the same bus from 2013 until 2015. Plaintiff Thompson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and was placed on medication that caused frequent nausea and vomiting. (Id. at 3-4, ¶¶ 3, 18.) Plaintiff Solis was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at the age of ten. Her illness requires her to use a permanent urostomy appliance, which needed to be emptied four to six times a day-if she is unable to empty the appliance, it will leak, soiling her clothes. (Id. at 5, ¶ 30.) Thus, both Plaintiffs needed frequent access to a restroom facility.

         Plaintiffs were assigned to Route 22, which services students with special needs in two school districts. (Id. at 7, ¶¶ 41-43.) Therefore, Plaintiffs' route covered a longer distance than the District's other bus routes. (Id.) “[B]us drivers and school bus monitors were not allowed to use the restrooms in any of the schools they serviced.” (Id. ¶ 39.) Thus, Plaintiffs' conditions required them to deviate from their bus route to use other public restrooms, such as in convenience stores. According to Plaintiffs, Defendant was aware that the “Plaintiffs experienced significant physical disabilities which caused them to take frequent off route restroom breaks.” (Id. at 16, ¶ 113.) Between 2001 and 2010, Plaintiffs were each rated as proficient or higher in every category of their annual performance reviews. (Id. at 7-8, ¶¶ 46-50.)

         During the 2015-2016 school year, Plaintiffs were scheduled to work Monday through Friday 5:30 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., except on Wednesdays when the afternoon shift would be from 12:30 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. (Id. at 8, ¶¶ 52-53.) On Wednesdays, Plaintiffs were expected to arrive at Legacy High School in Adams County by 12:15 p.m. (Id. at 8, ¶ 55.) They approached their supervisor and asked to alter their schedules to begin at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon instead of 12:30 p.m., which would enable them to arrive at Legacy High School by 12:15 p.m., as required. (Id. at 9, ¶ 56.)

         Shortly after they made this request, Defendant began to scrutinize Plaintiffs' performance with a GPS tracker to identify their location. (Id. ¶ 58.) On August 25, 2015, Defendant learned that Plaintiffs had stopped at ¶ 7-Eleven convenience store from 7:58 a.m. until 8:20 a.m. (Id. ¶ 59.) Defendant interpreted this stop as evidence that Plaintiffs were wasting time. (Id.) However, Plaintiffs claim that they stopped at the 7-Eleven to use the restroom, because Plaintiff Thompson needed to vomit and Plaintiff Solis needed to empty her urostomy appliance. (Id. ¶ 60.) After the stop, Plaintiffs completed their route, reported back to the garage, and clocked out at 8:45 a.m. (Id. ¶ 61.) On September 2, 2015, an employee of the Defendant tailed the Plaintiffs to a 7-Eleven convenience store and stopped at the location from 8:05 a.m. until 8:22 a.m. (Id. ¶ 62.) Again, Plaintiffs reported back to the transportation garage and clocked out at 8:45 a.m. (Id. ¶ 63.)

         On September 11, 2015, the Plaintiffs were called into a meeting with Defendant's Human Resources Director Leday to discuss the “falsification of [their] time sheets.” (Id. at 10, ¶ 64, 66.) During this meeting, both Defendants were placed on investigatory leave with pay. (Id.) At this meeting, Plaintiff Thompson provided a doctor's note to Director Leday explaining her medical condition and need for frequent restroom trips. (Id. at 65.) At this meeting, Director Leday also asked Plaintiff Solis to provide him with a doctor's note regarding her health condition. (Id. ¶ 68.) She attempted to provide him with one on September 17, 2015, but he refused to read it. (Id. ¶ 69.) At the September 11, 2015 meeting, Plaintiffs were provided with a letter from Leday saying they were accused of falsifying their official time sheet records and leaving their duty assignment without authorization. (Id.¶ 67.)

         In 2015, Plaintiffs were represented by the Westminster Education Association (“Union”) and its President, Rosie Jaramillo. (Id. ¶ 70.) Jaramillo asked Leday to drop the charges against Plaintiffs since the Plaintiffs were able to provide doctor's notes explaining why they needed to use the restroom off route. (Id. at 11, ¶ 71.) In the same e-mail, Jaramillo notified Leday of past practices of other bus drivers of stopping off route to go to the restroom during their bus run, including a current supervisor who used to park the bus by her house to go to the restroom. (Id. ¶ 72.)

         On September 17, 2015, Leday had separate meetings with each Plaintiff and Jaramillo was present for both meetings. (Id. ¶ 74.) In his meeting with Solis, Leday showed them video footage of Plaintiffs driving around the 7-Eleven parking lot and purchasing items from the store. (Id. ¶ 75.) During this meeting, he told Plaintiff Solis that she could either resign or be terminated from her position. (Id. ¶ 76.) Shortly after this meeting, Plaintiff Solis tendered her letter of resignation and it was accepted by Defendant on September 22, 2015. (Id. ¶ 78.)

         During his meeting with Plaintiff Thompson and Jaramillo, Leday told Thompson that an investigation had been conducted and told her about the video. (Id. at 12, ¶ 79.) Plaintiff Thompson explained that she and Plaintiff Solis had to stop to use the restroom and that sometimes they purchased items because they felt obligated to do so. (Id., ¶ 80.) As with Plaintiff Solis, during this meeting, Leday told Plaintiff Thompson that she could either resign or be terminated from her position, and specifically told her that if she wanted unemployment benefits, she should resign. (Id. ¶¶ 81-82.) Shortly after this meeting, Plaintiff Thompson tendered her letter of resignation and it was accepted by Defendant on September 22, 2015.

         Plaintiffs seek relief for Defendant's alleged violation of the ADA and constructive discharge.

         II. ...


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