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Case Name Newsome v. Philadelphia EE-PA-0253
Docket / Court 2:19-cv-05590-MMB ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
This is a case about the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) failing to provide accommodations for nursing employees. On November 26, 2019, a female PPD employee filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the ... read more >
This is a case about the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) failing to provide accommodations for nursing employees. On November 26, 2019, a female PPD employee filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the City of Philadelphia under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief, damages, and attorneys' fees. She sought a proposed class of all female police officers who had worked for the Philadelphia Police Department during the preceding three years.

The plaintiff claimed that the PPD had failed to provide nursing female police officers with appropriate accommodations and had engaged in sex and pregnancy discrimination. Specifically, she alleged that the PPD had failed to comply with the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not providing break times or a private location for expressing breast milk (collecting and storing breast milk for use later). The plaintiff also alleged that the PPD had violated the Equal Protection Clause in creating a hostile work environment where the plaintiff class suffered from disparate treatment as a result of their sex and pregnancy status, and the PPD had violated the plaintiff class's First Amendment right to petition by retaliating against them when they tried to assert their rights.

The case was assigned to Judge Michael M. Baylson. On February 3, 2020, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on February 17, 2020. The changes included explaining more specifically why declaratory and injunctive relief would be appropriate through adding new sections and more citations to case law. The amended complaint also highlighted more explicitly that the plaintiff had to pump at irregular times and in unsanitary bathrooms, or sometimes not at all, as a result of the defendant's actions. More details about the defendant's retaliatory actions were added, including dates that the plaintiff had been forced to work from home without pay. Information about the benefits of breastfeeding infants and statistics regarding breastfeeding mothers in the U.S. was also added to the factual background.

On March 2, 2020, the court denied the initial motion to dismiss as moot, and the defendant filed a new motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On March 16, the plaintiff moved to file a supplemental complaint, and the court granted this motion on March 25. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the court also granted additional briefing time.

On August 21, 2020, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for the supplemental complaint. On November 12, 2020, the court denied the motion to dismiss for two counts: the violations of FLSA protection and Title VII disparate treatment claims. For the other six counts, the court granted the motion to dismiss. In its opinion, the court explained that the plaintiff did not establish enough of a causal connection between the plaintiff's conduct and the defendant's adverse action for FLSA and Title VII retaliation claims. For the Title VII and § 1983 hostile work environment claims, the plaintiff did not establish "severe or pervasive conduct" or "intentional discrimination." For the § 1983 disparate treatment claim, the plaintiff did not sufficiently allege any policy or custom that caused the disparate treatment. Lastly, for the First Amendment claim regarding the right to petition, the court held that the plaintiff was not speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern, so the First Amendment did not apply.

The plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on December 12, 2020. The amended complaint added Pennsylvania state law to the causes of action. It added four new counts under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance; it also removed four of the six counts that the court had dismissed: Title VII hostile work environment, § 1983 hostile work environment, § 1983 disparate treatment, and First Amendment right to petition. For the other two dismissed counts, FLSA and Title VII retaliation, specific acts from the defendant were added to the claims to establish more of a causal connection.

On December 24, 2020, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint. As of March 13, 2021, this case is ongoing.

Lauren Yu - 03/06/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Petitions clause
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Training
Discrimination-basis
Pregnancy discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
State Anti-Discrimination Law
State law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) City of Philadelphia
Plaintiff Description All female police officers who have worked for the Philadelphia Police Department during the preceding three years.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 11/26/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
E.D. Pa.
01/07/2021
2:19-cv-05590-MMB
EE-PA-0253-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Pa.
11/26/2019
Collective Action Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 1]
EE-PA-0253-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Pa.
02/17/2020
First Amended Collective Action Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 6]
EE-PA-0253-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Pa.
11/12/2020
Memorandum [ECF# 17] (500 F.Supp.3d 336)
EE-PA-0253-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Pa.
12/12/2020
Second Amended Collective Action Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Injunctive Relief and Damages [ECF# 19]
EE-PA-0253-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baylson, Michael M. (E.D. Pa.) show/hide docs
EE-PA-0253-0002 | EE-PA-0253-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bryson, Ian M (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-PA-0253-0001 | EE-PA-0253-0003 | EE-PA-0253-0004 | EE-PA-0253-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Unterburger, Daniel R (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-PA-0253-9000

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