Court Dismisses Title VII Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Individual Defendants

In Chin v. Alejandro Torres et al, 2018 WL 6435898, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2018), the court dismissed plaintiff’s sexual harassment complaint, citing the well-established principle that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is not applicable against individual defendants.

As summarized by the court, plaintiff “alleges that she was employed in the Housekeeping Department at Hampton Inn in Oneonta, New York from the Winter of 2010 until her employment was constructively terminated in September of 2017 as a result of a long term pattern of sexual harassment by a male employee with whom she worked which, along with the failure of management to properly address the harassment, resulted in a hostile work environment, thereby forcing her to resign.”

From the decision:

Plaintiff has sued the individual by whom she claims to have been sexually harassed, two individuals holding management positions at the Oneonta Hampton Inn, and the owner of the management company alleged to have been overseeing the management of the Inn. (Dkt. No. 1.) The Second Circuit has held that “individuals are not subject to liability under Title VII.” Wrighten v. Glowski, 232 F.3d 119, 120 (2d Cir. 2000), abrogated on other grounds by Burlington v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998); see also Patterson v. Cnty. of Oneida, N.Y., 375 F.3d 206, 221 (2d Cir. 2004) (citing Tomka v. Seiler Corp., 66 F.3d 1295, 1313 (2d Cir. 1995) (“individuals with supervisory control over a plaintiff may not be held personally liable under Title VII”)); Bakal v. Ambassador Const., No. 94 CIV. 584 (JSM), 1995 WL 447784, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 1995)3 (finding Title VII remedies apply only to the employer and not the individuals who engaged in prohibited conduct); Harrison v. Lesort, No. 09 Civ. 10188 (SHS), 2011 WL 744670, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 1, 2011) (a defendant’s alleged ownership interest in employer does not change the fact that because defendant is an individual he cannot be held liable under Title VII). Therefore, the Court finds that none of the presently named Defendants are proper defendants in this Title VII action.

The court did, however, give plaintiff time to file an amended complaint naming her at the Hampton Inn.