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Bettah v. State of Ohio Dep't of Rehabilitation and Correction

March 21, 2007

LORETTA BETTAH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Algenon L. Marbley

Magistrate Judge Kemp

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's ("Defendant") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court RENDERS MOOT Defendant's Motion with respect to Counts I, II, III (Title VII race and sex discrimination claims), IV, V and VI because Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed these counts. This Court, because it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's Title VII color claim, hereby DISMISSES it. Thus, Plaintiff's only remaining claim is the Title VII national origin claim.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Because the matter before the Court is Defendants' Motion for a Judgment on the Pleadings, the Court will consider the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant Plaintiff. Ziegler v. IBP Hog Mkt., 249 F.3d 509, 512 (6th Cir. 2001).

Plaintiff Loretta Bettah ("Bettah") is a Black female, born in Cameroon, and is of African descent. Defendant hired Plaintiff as the Food Service Coordinator at its Correctional Medical Center ("CMC") located in Columbus, Ohio on December 1, 1998. Reginald Wilkinson ("Wilkinson") was the chief administrative officer and Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Tammy Hartzler ("Hartzler"), a White female, American born, was the chief administrative officer and warden of CMC. Plaintiff alleges that Hartzler was her immediate supervisor. Wilkinson and Hartzler were agents and employees of Defendant.

On January 20, 2004, Hartzler placed Plaintiff on administrative leave pending an investigation of an alleged violation of Defendant's Standards of Employee Conduct Rule #46a, which prohibits the "unauthorized relationship with an inmate"and Rule #46e, which prohibits "committing sexual acts with any individual under Defendant's supervision." Hartzler conducted an investigation into the alleged rule violations. Hartzler interviewed the inmate with whom Plaintiff allegedly had a relationship, Kimothy Jones ("Jones"). When interviewed, Jones told Hartzler that he had an association with another corrections officer and that he was aslo Plaintiff's boyfriend. When interviewed by Hartzler, Plaintiff denied that Jones was her boyfriend.

On March 11, 2004, Hartzler and Wilkinson discharged Plaintiff for her alleged violation of Defendant's Standards of Employee Conduct Rule #46a. Defendant based its discharge of Plaintiff on her alleged "unauthorized relationship" with Jones. Plaintiff claims that she did not have an unauthorized relationship, sexual or otherwise, with Jones.

Plaintiff asserts that other employees of Defendant, who have been accused of violations of Defendant's Standards of Employee Conduct Rule #46a, have not been as severely disciplined when no prior discipline exists for the employee. Plaintiff contends that she does not have a discipline history. Plaintiff contends that she has been singled out for disparate and unfair treatment. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant intentionally failed to conduct a fair, impartial, complete and/or meaningful investigation of the allegations against Plaintiff and accord her due process. Plaintiff asserts that failure to do so was a discriminatory practice, which had the effect of denying female, non-American born persons, including persons from Cameroon, equal employment opportunities. In addition, Plaintiff claims that the practice adversely affected her as an employee because of her race, color, national origin and sex.

Defendant contends that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any alleged discriminatory acts or behavior on the part of its employees. Defendant also alleges that it had a non-pretextual, legitimate reason for its actions.

B. Procedural History

On May 13, 2004, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission ("OCRC") and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In her charge, Plaintiff alleged that she was discharged from ...


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