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Court Dismisses Mexican-American Professor’s Title VII National Origin Discrimination (Failure to Promote) Claim

by mjpospis on August 13, 2017

in Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, National Origin Discrimination

In Sosa v. Rockland County Community College, 2017 WL 3105872 (SDNY July 20, 2017), the court dismissed plaintiff’s national origin discrimination (failure to promote) claim.

“To establish a prima facie case of race or national origin discrimination under Title VII, a plaintiff must show that: (1) [s]he belonged to a protected class; (2) [s]he was qualified for the position [s]he held; (3) [s]he suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) that the adverse employment action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discriminatory intent.”

Here, the court held that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of discrimination:

Plaintiff’s conclusory assertions that she was not promoted because she is of Mexican descent do not support an inference of discrimination. The only colorable evidence submitted by Plaintiff that speaks of discrimination is her own self-serving deposition testimony. Plaintiff does not, with competent evidence, identify a single administrator or decision maker at RCC who harbors a discriminatory animus against Americans of Mexican ancestry. Further, Plaintiff’s allegation that the FSCRTP discriminated against her in denying the Exception Application is not supported by the evidence. (Pl. Opp. at 16). Indeed, a colleague with whom Plaintiff had an adverse relationship, and who Plaintiff believed discriminated against her during her time at RCC, (Ex. GG), recused himself from participation in the review of Plaintiff’s Exception Application to avoid any appearance of impropriety, (Baker Aff. at ¶ 9). Plaintiff’s bald allegations that the FSCRTP discriminated against her on the basis of national origin—and that those who recused themselves from the FSCRTP influenced the outcome—are not supported by admissible evidence and, thus, are insufficient to state a claim of Title VII discrimination. …

In sum, Plaintiff’s claim rests on nothing more than her subjective belief that she was the victim of discrimination because she is of Hispanic descent. An employee cannot defeat summary judgment by restating the conclusory allegations contained in her complaint.

Even though the court found that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of discrimination, it went on to determine that defendant presented a “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason” for the denial, and that plaintiff “failed to demonstrate that Defendants’ explanations are pretextual.”

Categories: Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, National Origin Discrimination

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