Failure to Allege Discriminatory Motivation Results in Dismissal of Complaint

In Busby v. Syracuse City Sch. Dist., No. 5:15-CV-1007 LEK/ATB, 2015 WL 5820972 (N.D.N.Y. Oct. 5, 2015), the court adopted the Magistrate Judge’s Report and dismissed plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims as insufficiently pled.

There, plaintiff alleged that she was dismissed from her employment as a “School Monitor” at the McKinley–Brighton School in Syracuse after twenty five years because, according to her, “the Vice Principal did not like me, and told lies to have me fired.”

This case reiterates that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “does not include claims based on general animus or hostility.”

The court explained why plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed:

Plaintiff has alleged that she suffered an adverse employment action, but she has failed to allege facts that would establish that her termination occurred under circumstances giving rise to even an inference of discriminatory intent based on race or gender. Although she has alleged “unequal treatment,” plaintiff has failed to allege that anyone of a different sex or race than she is was treated differently under similar circumstances.

Both plaintiff and the supervisor that she claims caused her termination are female. More importantly, plaintiff alleges that she was fired “because the Vice Principal did not like me, and told lies to have me fired.” [H]ostility alone is not a basis for employment discrimination, even if that hostility causes the individual to tell “lies” about the plaintiff. The rest of plaintiff’s facts attempt to justify why she should not have been held responsible for a student leaving school-the apparent reason that she was fired from her school monitor position. There are no actions that plaintiff alleges were motivated by sex or race. To interpret plaintiff’s facts as alleging such discrimination would be speculative at best[.] (Emphasis added by court.)

The court also dismissed plaintiff’s retaliation claim, finding “no indication in [plaintiff’s] complaint that plaintiff took any ‘protected action’ prior to her termination, or that any such protected action was the motivation for her termination.”

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