CHRO: DeBarros v. Htfd Roofing - Final Decision Hearing in Damages

DeBarros v. Htfd Roofing - Final Decision Hearing in Damages
DeBarros v. Htfd Roofing - Final Decision Hearing in Damages

CHRO No. 0430162

Fed No. 16aa400012

Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities ex rel.
Paula DeBarros, Complainant

v.

The Hartford Roofing Company, Inc., Respondent

May 10, 2005

FINAL DECISION HEARING IN DAMAGES

1. The Parties

The complainant resides at 28 Great Oak Road, Northford, CT 06472. She was represented by Atty. Earle Giovanniello, 59 Elm Street, Suite 215, New Haven, CT 06510. The Commission was represented by C. Joan Parker, Esq., Asst. Commission Counsel II. The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is located at 21 Grand Street, Hartford, CT 06106. The respondent was not represented by counsel and did not appear at the Hearing in Damages.

2. Procedural History

The complainant filed her complaint with the Commission on September 12, 2003. The Commission entered an order of default by the Executive Director's Designee, Donald E. Newton, on December 15, 2004. The Notice of the Hearing in Damages was dated December 21, 2004 and was signed by Chief Human Rights Referee, David S. Knishkowy. The Hearing in Damages was held on February 24, 2005 with the complainant, her counsel and the Commission were all present but neither the respondent nor its counsel was present at the hearing. The Commission introduced exhibits CHRO-1 through CHRO-19 to show the Commission's unsuccessful efforts to contact the respondent.

3. Findings of Fact

The following facts are found pursuant to the transcript and the exhibits:

1. The complainant worked for Hartford Roofing Co., as an Administrative Assistant for the Vice-President of the West Haven Division beginning on June 25, 2001, Comp. Pg. 2 para. 4, Tr. 9, 10.

2. She earned a salary of $880.00 per week, Tr. 10.

3. After the complainant filed a complaint of sexual harassment, she asked to be transferred to the Glastonbury Division where she had previously worked as Administrative Assistant to the owner, Tr. 10.

4. The complainant rate of pay was reduced to $19.00 per hour or $760.00 per week, Tr. 10.

5. The complainant terminated her employment with the respondent on July 26, 2003, Comp. pg. 5 para. 21, Tr. 10.

6. The complainant found a job at Star Auto in West Haven working as a bookkeeper and store manager at $17.00 per hour, Tr. 11.

7. The complainant left Star Auto in August of 2004, Tr. 11.

8. The complainant started work at the State of Connecticut, in September 2004 as an Administrative Assistant at $557.25 per week, Tr. 9, 11.

9. The complainant sought medical care related to the sexual harassment by the respondent, Tr. 12.

10. The complainant's total earnings in 2003 from the respondent were 26,056.14, C-1, Tr. 13.

11. The complainant W-2 shows total earnings from Star Auto for 2003 to be $9,494.64, C-2, Tr. 13, 14.

12. Total benefits for the year 2003 from unemployment compensation from the State of Connecticut was $2,394.00, C-3, Tr. 14.

13. The total compensation to the complainant from Star Auto for 2004 was $29,653.76, C-4, Tr. 15.

14. The deductions for health insurance from the complainant's pay for 2003 totaled $186.00 at Star Auto per week and the payment she had made at the respondent was $56.46 which, equals $129.54 times 8 weeks equals $1,036.32. The COBRA was $1,783.26 for a total added health insurance cost for 2003 of $2,819.58, C-4, Tr. 15.

15. The total added health insurance cost for 2004 was calculated as follows. She was paying $186.00 for healthcare at Star Auto. She had been paying $56.46 at Hartford Roofing Company, the difference being $129.54 per week. The added cost was $129.54 times 29 weeks to subtotal $3,756.66. She also paid an additional amount for COBRA in 2004 of $1,678.58 which totals $5,435.24 for 2004, C-4, C-7, C-8, C-9, Tr. 15, 18, 19.

16. The W-2 from the State of Connecticut for the complainant shows earnings for the year 2004 was $5,781.40, C-6, Tr. 15, 16.

17. The complainant's gross weekly earnings for 2005 from the State of Connecticut was $557.25 per week, C-6, Tr. 16, 17.

18. The complainant earned $209.10 total from 2005 overtime pay from the State of Connecticut in 2005, Tr. 16, 17.

19. The complainant hired a mental health therapist from Atlantic Health Services, to help her cope with the emotional distress from the sexual harassment at Hartford Roofing Co. Co-payments paid by the complainant for this treatment between August 29, 2003 and August 17, 2004, totaled $310.00, C-10.

4. Analysis of Damages

2003    (A)    Back Pay
Projected Earnings - Hartford Roofing Co.

Terminated July 26, 2003 at $760.00 per week

July 26, 2003 through December 31, 2003

23 weeks x $760 week = $17,480.00.
Star Auto = $9,494.64 (Ex. C-2)
Total Lost Earnings Back Pay For 2003 = $7,985.36

2004
Projected Earnings - Hartford Roofing Co.

$760.00 per week x 52 weeks = $39,520.00

Actual Earnings

Star Auto = 29,653.76 (Ex. C-4)
State of CT = $5,512.65 (Ex. C-5)
Total actual earnings for 2004 = $35,166.41
Total lost back pay earnings for 2004 = $4,353.59

2005
Projected Earnings - Hartford Roofing Co.

January 1, 2004 - May 6, 2005
$760 per week x 18 weeks = $13,680.00

Actual Earnings

State of CT = $5,781.40 (Ex. C-6)

$557.25 per week x 9 weeks = $5,015.25
March 3, 2005 - May 6, 2005
Total = $10,796.65
Total Lost Earnings for 2005 = $2,883.35

Total Lost Earnings/Back Pay

2003 = $7,985.36
2004 = $4,353.59
2005 = $2,883.35
Total = $15,222.30

2003    (B)    Lost Benefits

Health Insurance

Hartford Roofing $56.46 per week (Ex. C-7)

Star Auto $186.00 per week (Ex. C-4)

$186.00 minus $56.46 = $129.54 per week

Added Cost

$129.54 x 8 weeks = $1,036.32

COBRA = 1,783.26 (Ex. C-8)

Total Added Health Insurance Costs = $2,819.58

2004

Hartford Roofing $56.46 per week (Ex. C-7)

Star Auto $186.00 per week (Ex. C-4)

$129.54 per week

Added Cost

$129.54 x 29 weeks = $3,756.66

COBRA = $1,678.58 (Ex. C-9)

Total Added Health Insurance Costs = $5,435,24

Total Added Health Insurance Costs for 2003 and 2004 = $8,254.82

Total Gross Back Pay and Health Insurance Benefits = $23,477.12

Unemployment Compensation from the State of CT = $2,394.00

5. Miscellaneous

A. Medical Insurance Benefits

I am awarding the difference between what the complainant was paying at the respondent versus what she was paying for medical insurance benefits for Star Auto and the State of Connecticut for the years 2003 and 2004. I am also awarding the complainant the cost of her COBRA medical benefits continuation of coverage for 2003 and 2004. This sum totals $8,254.82.

B. Unemployment Compensation Insurance

According to statutes any unemployment benefits the complainant receives, in this case, $2,394.00, must be paid to the Commission who will repay the Department of Labor of the State of Connecticut.

C. Emotional Distress Damages

The complainant is requesting that I have the respondent pay the $310.00 that represents her out of pocket co-pay for mental health treatment caused by the sexual harassment by the respondent. I am denying this request because such damages cannot be awarded by Human Rights Referees but must be obtained in other forums according to the Connecticut Supreme decision in Bridgeport Hospital v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, 232 Conn. 91, 653 A.2d 782, 1995 Conn.

D. Prejudgment Interest

Prejudgment interest runs from the date of the discriminatory act when the complainant was constructively discharged by the respondent on July 26, 2003 until the date of this decision. The awarding of prejudgment interest is totally within the discretion of the Human Rights Referee. Silhouette Optical Limited v. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, 10 Conn. L. Rptr No. 19, 599 604 (Feb. 28, 1994). Saulpaugh v. Monroe Community Hospital, 4 F.3d 134, 145 (2d Cir. 1993). Therefore, I am awarding interest at the rate of 10% per annum, compounded annually, from July 26, 2003 until the date of this decision.

E. Post Judgment Interest

According to General Statutes 37-3a the respondent shall pay 10% per annum, compounded annually, until full payment is made by the respondent.

6. Conclusions of Law

1. The respondent was provided with legally sufficient notice of its obligation to attend the hearing in damages.
2. The Commission had the authority to enter the order of default and send a notice of the hearing in damages.
3. The entry of the order of default established the respondent's liability for violations of General Statutes 46a-60(a)(1) and Title VII.
4. All of the allegations in the complaint are deemed admitted including the allegations that the complainant was harassed because of her sex (female).
5. The complainant is awarded net back pay in the amount of $15,222.30.
6. The complainant is awarded total health insurance benefits in the amount of $8,254.82.
7. The respondent must sign a check for $2,394.00 to the Commission. This is the amount that the complainant received as unemployment compensation from the State of Connecticut Department of Labor.
8. The total gross back pay award and medical insurance benefits owed by the respondent to the complainant is $23,477.12.

7. Order of Relief

1. The respondent is hereby ordered to cease and desist from any discriminatory acts and specifically sexually harassing its employees in violation of 46a-60(a)(1) and Title VII. The respondent shall place the posters supplied by the Commission in a public place.
2. The respondent shall pay gross back pay and medical insurance benefits to the complainant in the amount of $23,477.12.
3. The Commission shall collect $2,394.00 and reimburse the State of Connecticut Labor Department for the benefits the complainant received from unemployment compensation.
4. The complainant cannot collect the $310.00 for emotional distress damages from the Office of Public Hearings but must obtain these damages in another forum.
5. The respondent shall pay prejudgment interest in the amount of 10% per annum, compounded annually, from the date of the discriminatory act, July 26, 2003 until the date of this decision.
6. The respondent shall pay the complainant post judgment interest in the amount of 10% per annum, compounded annually, pursuant to General Statute 37a-3a.

It is so ordered this 10th day of May 2005.
________________________
Leonard E. Trojanowski
Presiding HRR

cc.
Paula DeBarros
Atty. Earle Giovanniello
Atty. C. Joan Parker





Content Last Modified on 6/7/2006 11:13:02 AM