IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
JENNIFER J. LONG
ROBERT E. RUBIN, Secretary of
The Treasury, and
DEBORA KELLOUGH, An Individual,
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-97-3239
A Jury Is Requested
PLAINTIFF LONG'S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT
Jennifer J. Long, plaintiff, files this original complaint, stating claims for relief as follows.
Jurisdiction and Venue
1.1 This is an action arising under the laws of the United States of America, in particular Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. õ 2000e-16, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. õ 1981a.
1.2 The jurisdiction of this court is invoked pursuant to the provisions of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. õõ 2000e-5 and 2000e-16(c), and the general civil rights jurisdictional provisions of 28 U.S.C. õ 1343(a)(4).
1.3 Claims also are stated under the common law of the State of Texas against the individual defendant.
1.4 The supplemental jurisdiction of this court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. õ 1367 over the State law claims which are so related to federal claims in the action that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Nature of the Action and Relief Sought
2.1 This is an employment discrimination case by a federal employee alleging a continuing series of discriminatory conduct against her because of her race and age and because of her having complained about unlawful discrimination and participated in formal proceedings to protest such unlawful discrimination.
2.2 This also is an action under the common law of the State of Texas for assault, invasion of privacy, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
2.3 Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the acts of the defendant agency intentionally and unlawfully discriminated against her because of her race and age and in retaliation for opposing such discrimination, appropriate injunctive relief, lost pay, compensatory and punitive damages.
2.4 Plaintiff additionally, and independent of the claims against the government agency, seeks appropriate injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages against the individual defendant.
3.1 Jennifer J. Long, plaintiff, is an adult female citizen of the United States and the State of Texas, who is more than 40 years of age, a resident of Houston, Texas, and at all times material to this action and at the present time was and is an employee in Houston, Texas, of the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Department of the Treasury.
3.2 Robert E. Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury, is the head of the Department of the Treasury, an agency of the United States of America. Service upon him may be had by serving Gaynelle G. Jones, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, 910 Travis Street - Suite 1500, Houston, Texas, by serving by certified United States mail Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, 5111 Main Justice Building, Tenth Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530, and by serving Secretary Rubin by certified United States mail at Department of the Treasury, 3330 Main Treasury Building, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20220.
3.3 Debora Kellough is an African-American citizen of the United States, residing in Houston, Texas, and at times material to this action and at the present time Manager of Group 1603, Examination Division, Houston District Office, Internal Revenue Service, and, as such, the immediate supervisor of Ms. Long, the plaintiff. Ms. Kellough, who is sued herein in her individual capacity, may be served at her office, Suite 1724, Leland Federal Building, 1919 Smith Street, Houston, Texas 77002.
4.1 Defendant has maintained, acquiesced in the maintaining of, or failed to take appropriate required action to eliminate a general and consistent pattern and practice of racial discrimination by African-American managers and supervisors against White employees in the Houston offices of the Internal Revenue Service.
4.2 Such pattern and practice has been consistently manifested for at least the two years preceding the filing of plaintiff's administrative complaint by the following acts and others:
4.2.1 White employees being subjected to unwarranted criticism and disparagement of their work by African-American supervisors.
4.2.2 African-American supervisors subjecting White employees to harsh and unreasonable performance standards not generally applied and not consistent with applicable personnel practices and regulations.
4.2.3 White employees being subjected to threats and harassment at work by their African-American supervisors.
4.2.4 Abuse of authority by African-American supervisors to subject White employees to humiliation, embarrassment and invasion of their privacy.
4.2.5 African-American supervisors subjecting White employees to harsher discipline than accorded African-American employees for the same or comparable alleged misconduct.
4.2.6 Subjecting older White employees to pressure and coercion to abandon employment with the agency.
4.3 Consistent with and pursuant to that general policy and practice, plaintiff was discriminated against because of her race and age in the following respects, as characterized by defendant in a letter dated July 2, 1997, responding to plaintiff's administrative complaint of discrimination and retaliation:
4.3.1 On May 24, 1996, she was verbally harassed by her supervisor and told that a Grade 11 Agent would be accompanying her on her next audit appointment.
4.3.2 On June 12, 1996, her supervisor notified her that she was giving her a rating of "2" on a case review.
4.3.3 On June 17, 1996, her supervisor contacted her twice by telephone for information to pass along to another Agent, that was never passed along.
4.3.4 On June 20, 1996, she was notified by her supervisor that her evaluation narrative would be bad.
4.3.5 On June 26, 1996, she was out on sick leave and her supervisor "messed with" her.
4.3.6 On July 18, 1996, her supervisor screamed at her and called her a lazy stupid liar.
4.3.7 On August 9, 1996, plaintiff was refused union representation by her supervisor during a meeting regarding her evaluation.
4.3.8 On August 29, 1996, her supervisor entered into a screaming match during a workload review. The supervisor was keeping a secret Employee File on plaintiff and refused to share it with her.
4.3.9 On August 30, 1996, plaintiff was denied union representation by the Assistant District Director during a workload review meeting.
4.3.10 On October 16, 1996, her supervisor stated she would reaudit one of the plaintiff's cases and prepare a review.
4.3.11 On October 22, 1996, her supervisor threatened to use a bargaining unit reviewers' comments in the plaintiff's evaluation.
4.3.12 On October 23, 1996, plaintiff received "1's, 2's and a 3" on a review.
4.3.13 On October 24, 1996, her supervisor called her union representative and asked him not to say anything bad about her to the Assistant Chief, Examination.
4.3.14 On October 31, 1996, her supervisor called four times regarding travel vouchers.
4.3.15 On November 1, 1996, her supervisor harassed her while on sick leave, and sent an inspector to her residence.
4.3.16 On December 18, 1996, plaintiff received a disciplinary action letter and was removed from flexiplace.
4.3.17 On February 13, 1997, plaintiff received a letter of reprimand.
4.4 The above specified acts and others constituted a continuing pattern of conduct which created an offensive and hostile working environment and interfered with the plaintiff's ability to perform her assigned duties.
4.5 Plaintiff complained of the acts against her, but could obtain no relief.
4.6 Based on additional information and counsel obtained by the plaintiff, plaintiff reasonably concluded in February, 1997, that the conduct constituted a continuing violation of her rights to be free from discrimination in the terms and conditions of her employment because of her race and age.
4.7 On or about February 11, 1997, plaintiff sought counseling from an agency-designated equal employment opportunity counselor, in accordance with the applicable regulations.
4.8 After the counselor was unable to resolve her concerns, plaintiff filed a formal complaint of race and age discrimination and retaliation on or about April 4, 1997, within the time provided by applicable law and regulations.
4.9 On or about July 2, 1997, defendant notified plaintiff that although one aspect of her complaint had been accepted for further processing the defendant was dismissing the complaint insofar as the conduct set forth above in paragraph 4.3 and the subparagraphs following.
4.10 The dismissal of the complaint insofar as the conduct set forth above in paragraph 4.3 and the subparagraphs following constituted the final agency administrative action on that part of the plaintiff's complaint.
4.11 This suit is being brought within 90 days of the receipt by plaintiff of notice of such final agency administrative action on that part of her formal complaint.
4.12 The continuing course of plaintiff's conduct as set forth in part in ô 4.3, above, proximately has damaged plaintiff by increased inconvenience and expense in performing her assigned duties, by depriving plaintiff of opportunities for professional advancement and higher pay, by subjecting the plaintiff to humiliation and emotional distress, by damaging plaintiff's personal reputation, by damaging plaintiff's professional reputation, and by adversely affecting plaintiff's earning capacity.
4.13 Defendant has acted and continues to discriminate and retaliate against the plaintiff because of plaintiff's race and age and plaintiff's opposition to such discrimination and participation in the administrative process to end such discrimination, with malicious intent and in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights.
4.14 Plaintiff was required to obtain the services of the undersigned attorney and his law firm to protect and vindicate the rights to equal employment opportunity secured to plaintiff by law.
4.15 Within the two years immediately preceding the filing of this complaint, Debora Kellough intentionally, maliciously and in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights and welfare:
4.15.1 Has attempted to provoke a physical confrontation and placed plaintiff in fear of imminent physical danger.
4.15.2 Has subjected plaintiff to extreme emotional distress by conduct which was unreasonable, unwarranted and outrageous, and in no way related to any discretionary authority of Ms. Kellough's or to any purpose or objective of the Internal Revenue Service.
4.15.3 Has without cause or justification invaded and caused to be invaded the seclusion and solitude of plaintiff's residence by an unannounced and unwarranted demand of access to plaintiff's residence by agency personnel.
4.15.4 Has caused plaintiff to be falsely considered as criminal, dishonest, lazy and incompetent by general dissemination of allegations involving the plaintiff to individuals who had no need or justification to know of the allegations, and with the knowledge that the allegations were false.
4.16 The acts of Debora Kellough proximately have caused substantial loss, suffering, humiliation, emotional distress and other damages to plaintiff in the past and in the future.
4.17 Because the conduct of Ms. Kellough was accomplished with malicious intent and in reckless disregard of plaintiff's rights, plaintiff should recover punitive damages from Ms. Kellough.
First Claim for Relief
Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991
5.1 Defendant has discriminated against plaintiff in the terms and conditions of plaintiff's employment because of plaintiff's race and age, because plaintiff opposed unlawful discrimination by defendant, and because plaintiff participated in the administrative process of enforcing the prohibitions against employment discrimination, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
Second Claim for Relief
Texas Law - Assault
6.1 By intentional conduct placing plaintiff in fear of imminent physical harm, Ms. Kellough assaulted plaintiff, for which Ms. Kellough is liable for damages under Texas law, and plaintiff has no means of relief for such damages under federal law.
Third Claim for Relief
Texas Law - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
7.1 By intentional outrageous conduct with the intent to cause plaintiff extreme emotional distress, which conduct did cause extreme emotional distress, to plaintiff's substantial damage, Ms. Kellough tortiously intentionally inflicted emotional distress on plaintiff, for which Ms. Kellough is liable for damages under Texas law, and plaintiff has no means of relief for such damages under federal law.
Fourth Claim for Relief
Texas Law - Invasion of Privacy
8.1 By demanding access to plaintiff's residence, without announcement or justification, and with the specific intent to disturb, threaten and scare plaintiff and invade the seclusion and solitude of plaintiff's residence, Ms. Kellough tortiously invaded the privacy of plaintiff, for which Ms. Kellough is liable for damages under Texas law, and plaintiff has no means of relief for such damages under federal law.
Fifth Claim for Relief
Texas Law - False Light
9.1 By intentionally and recklessly disseminating or allowing to be disseminated allegations about plaintiff to individuals with no reason to know of such statements, and with the knowledge that the statements untruthfully suggested that plaintiff had engaged in acts constituting criminal conduct, or that plaintiff is not an honest and truthful person, or that plaintiff is lazy, or that plaintiff has demonstrated an inability to adequately perform the duties of her position and is incompetent, Ms. Kellough tortiously placed plaintiff in a false light, for which Ms. Kellough is liable in damages under Texas law, and plaintiff has no means of relief for such damages under federal law.
Accordingly, plaintiff prays that defendants be cited to appear and answer in this action, and that upon the evidence, finding of the jury and applicable law, the court enter judgment:
1. Declaring that the defendant agency has maintained and maintains in the Houston offices of the Internal Revenue Service a policy and practice of racial discrimination by African-American managers and supervisors against White employees.
2. Directing the agency by appropriate injunctive orders to eliminate such policy and practice.
3. Directing the agency to take specific corrective action for the discrimination and retaliation of plaintiff in the past and protecting plaintiff from further acts of discrimination and retaliation in the future.
4. Awarding plaintiff back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages against the agency.
5. Awarding plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages against Ms. Kellough.
6. Determining and awarding a reasonable attorney's fee and the costs and expenses of this action to plaintiff and her counsel against the agency, and providing for interim payment in the case of an appeal of the judgment by the agency.
7. Including prejudgment and postjudgment interest as provided by law.
8. All other relief to which plaintiff shows herself entitled at law or in equity.
David T. Lopez
Texas Bar No. 12563000
Attorney-in-Charge for Plaintiff
3900 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77006-4959
Demand for Jury
Jennifer J. Long, plaintiff, exercises her right under the United States Constitution and applicable statutes and rules and requests that all issues of fact in this action be determined by a jury.