Patricia P. Campbell, Plaintiff-Appellant,
State of Hawaii Department of Education; Patricia Hamamoto, Superintendent of Public Schools, sued in her official capacity; Bruce Anderson, Maui Complex Area Superintendent, sued in his individual and official capacities; Susan Scofield, Principal of King Kekaulike High School, sued in her individual and official capacities; Anthony Jones, Vice Principal of King Kekaulike High School, sued in his individual and official capacities; Robyn Honda, Personnel Regional Officer, sued in her individual and official capacities; Barbara Oura, Vice Principal of King Kekaulike High School, sued in her individual and official capacities; Kurtis Saiki, Athletic Director of King Kekaulike High School, sued in his individual and official capacities, Defendants-Appellees.
and Submitted February 12, 2018 Honolulu, Hawaii
from the United States District Court for the District of
Hawaii Derrick Kahala Watson, District Judge, Presiding D.C.
E. Barbree (argued), Law Office of Daphne Barbee, Honolulu,
Hawaii, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
P. Loui (argued) and James E. Halvorson, Deputy Attorneys
General; Douglas S. Chin, Attorney General; Department of the
Attorney General, Honolulu, Hawaii; for Defendants-Appellees.
Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Richard R. Clifton, and
Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary
judgment in favor of the defendants on employment
discrimination claims brought by a public high school teacher
who was verbally harassed by her students.
the district court's grant of summary judgment on the
teacher's Title VII claims of disparate treatment based
on her sex and race, the panel held that the teacher failed
to establish a prima facie case because she did not show that
she was subject to an adverse employment action or that
similarly situated individuals outside her protected class
were treated more favorably.
panel also affirmed the district court's grant of summary
judgment on the teacher's Title VII hostile work
environment claim. The panel held that the defendant public
school system could be held liable for students'
harassing conduct only to the extent that it failed
reasonably to respond to the conduct or ratified or
acquiesced in the conduct.
teacher's Title VII retaliation claim, the panel held
that she failed to establish that the defendants'
asserted rationale for its actions was mere pretext.
the panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary
judgment on the teacher's Title IX claims for intentional
O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge
decide whether a high school teacher who was verbally
harassed by her students has identified sufficient evidence
to support claims for violations of her federal civil rights
against the public school system that employed her.
Campbell was employed by the Hawaii Department of Education
(DOE) from 2000 until she resigned in July 2009. From 2004
through 2007, Campbell taught music and band at King
Kekaulike High School (KKHS) on the island of Maui.
Unfortunately, Campbell's experience at KKHS was hardly
pleasant. Instead, her tenure at the school was marred by
numerous accusations of misconduct perpetrated against, and
alleges that, throughout her time at KKHS, she was frequently
harassed and degraded by students on the basis of her race
(white) and her sex (female). She alleges that students
called her a slew of offensive names, including "fucking
weirdo, " "cunt, " "bitch, " and
"fucking haole."According to Campbell, she was even
physically threatened by one student who claimed to have a
routinely reported the students' misconduct to DOE
administration during the 2006-2007 school year. In response,
Vice Principals Barbara Oura and Anthony Jones investigated
Campbell's many complaints and imposed a variety of
disciplinary measures against those students who were found
to have misbehaved. The punishments ranged in severity based
on both the nature of the misconduct and the student's
past disciplinary history. Some students were given formal
warnings or disciplinary counseling, others were placed in
detention, and some were suspended from school for up to
three days. Four students were even transferred out of
Campbell's classes at her request. Although Campbell has
no reason to doubt that these disciplinary measures took
place, she claims that the school never informed her of them
at the time.
Campbell herself was the subject of numerous complaints.
During the 2006-2007 school year, Vice Principal Oura
investigated complaints which the DOE had received from
students, parents, and at least one other teacher, accusing
Campbell of a variety of misconduct, including physical and
verbal abuse of students, discrimination against students,
and failure to maintain a safe classroom environment. Because
the DOE determined that Campbell's presence on campus
would not interfere with the investigation or present a
threat to students, she was allowed to continue working
during the investigation. On March 22, 2007, Oura concluded
her investigation and found that Campbell had intimidated and
discriminated against students, physically grabbed and
verbally abused students, failed adequately to supervise
students at school-sanctioned activities, and harassed a
colleague. Despite Oura's findings, the DOE took no
action against Campbell, who was allowed to keep her position
at the school.
7, 2007, Campbell reportedly stormed into the office of Vice
Principal Jones as he was meeting with a student. It is not
entirely clear why Campbell confronted Jones, but she
allegedly yelled at Jones and others in the office and
refused to leave when asked. Two days later, Jones held a
counseling meeting with Campbell to discuss the incident, and
he later gave Campbell a memorandum documenting that meeting.
Among other things, Jones's memorandum stated that
Campbell had "verbally ragged at" a security
officer, and it directed Campbell not to "address adults
or students on campus in a yelling or ragging manner."
took offense to the memo and in particular to Jones's use
of the words "ragged" and "ragging, "
which she believed to be a reference to her menstrual cycle.
The same day she received the memo, Campbell complained to
the DOE Superintendent's office about the incident and
claimed that Jones had stalked and sexually harassed her.
Within a week, the DOE initiated an investigation into
Campbell's allegations, which concluded roughly two
months later. The investigator ultimately found that there
was not enough evidence to sustain Campbell's
allegations. In particular, the investigator found that
Jones's use of the words "ragged" and
"ragging" was not derogatory, but rather was used
to mean that Campbell "railed at" or
"scolded" others. No further action was taken
against Jones as a result of the investigation.
point before the 2007-2008 school year, Campbell requested a
transfer to teach elsewhere on Maui- specifically, to serve
as the band director at Iao or Kalama Intermediate Schools or
to teach kindergarten at Haiku School. Campbell alleges that
she personally knew that the band teacher at Iao retired in
June 2007 and that the band director at Kalama also
"retired in 2007, " though she does not specify
when. She further alleges that she "was aware there was
a kindergarten teaching position open at Haiku, " but
she again does not provide any further detail about when that
position became open.
Campbell's transfer requests was granted. With respect to
the band teaching position at Iao, the DOE submitted evidence
indicating that Campbell's request was denied because
such position was not open during the school's annual
transfer period in the Spring of 2007 and Campbell failed to
provide any information that would qualify for an emergency
transfer outside the normal transfer window. Evidence in the
record suggests that Campbell's requests to transfer to
the other schools were also untimely, and she has not argued
to transfer, in August 2007 Campbell requested and was
granted a 12-month leave of absence without pay due to
work-related stress. Before the next school year, Campbell
requested and was granted a second year of unpaid leave. In
July 2009, as her second period of leave was coming to an
end, Campbell learned that, because there were not enough
students to support a full slate of music classes, she had
been assigned to teach three remedial math classes and one or
two music classes for the upcoming year. Campbell told
Principal Susan Scofield that she wouldn't teach remedial
math (a subject for which she was not certified), but
Scofield insisted that Campbell would need to teach such
classes in order to complete her schedule. Campbell never
reported back to work after her leave expired. After being
told that she would be fired if she did not return to work,
Campbell resigned. Her resignation indicated that she had
left the school because of a hostile work environment, fear
for her safety, and her desire not to teach remedial math.
February 19, 2013, Campbell filed this suit against the DOE
and various administrators (defendants collectively referred
to as "the DOE"), alleging violations of her
federal and state civil rights. In particular, Campbell
alleged that she had been subjected to several acts of
discriminatory treatment and a hostile work environment
because of her race and her sex and that she had been
retaliated against for complaining of harassment at the
district court granted partial judgment on the pleadings to
the DOE and dismissed several of Campbell's claims. The
court later granted summary judgment for the DOE on
Campbell's remaining claims of disparate treatment,
hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sex discrimination under
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Campbell timely
appealed but she challenges only the district court's
order granting summary judgment on these four categories of
claims. She does not challenge the court's earlier
dismissal of her other claims.
first consider Campbell's argument that the district
court erred in granting summary judgment to the DOE on her
Title VII disparate treatment claims.
VII forbids certain employers from "discriminat[ing]
against any individual with respect to his compensation,
terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Campbell argues
that the DOE violated this provision by subjecting her to
disparate treatment because of her sex and race. To prevail,
Campbell must first establish a prima facie case by showing
that: (1) she belongs to a protected class, (2) she was
qualified for the position in question, (3) she was subject
to an adverse employment action, and (4) similarly situated
individuals outside her protected class were treated more
favorably. Chuang v. Univ. of Cal. Davis, 225 F.3d
1115, 1123 (9th Cir. 2000).
does, the familiar McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting
framework applies. See id. at 1123-24. Under such
framework, if Campbell establishes a prima facie case, the
burden of production shifts to the DOE to articulate a
legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged
conduct. Id. If the DOE does so, the burden then
shifts back to Campbell to show that the reason offered is
pretextual. Id. at 1124.
concedes that Campbell can establish the first two elements
of her prima facie case. The DOE argues, however, that the
record does not contain sufficient evidence to establish the
remaining elements of her claim. We agree.
claims of disparate treatment under Title VII, an adverse
employment action is one that "materially affects the
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of
employment." Davis v. Team Elec. Co., 520 F.3d
1080, 1089 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and
alterations omitted). Although ...