Court Explains Reasons for Dismissing Race & National Origin Discrimination Claims Against Hospital

In Lee v. Winthrop University Hosp., 2015 WL 7161955 (E.D.N.Y.,2015), the Eastern District of New York explained its decision to grant defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismiss his employment discrimination complaint.

As to his race discrimination claims:

The Plaintiff attempts to create a genuine issue of material fact by asserting that the disciplinary warnings he received were without basis, and by denying that he engaged in any sort of misconduct.

However, courts in [the Second] Circuit have repeatedly found that the mere fact that an employee disagrees with her employer’s assessments of her work … cannot standing on its own show that her employer’s asserted reason for termination was pretextual. …

Rather, in order to show that discrimination was a determinative factor in an employee’s termination, he or she must show either … a discriminatory motive, more likely than not, motivated the defendants or by proving both that the reasons given by the defendants are not true and that discrimination is the real reason for the actions.

Here … the record is entirely bereft of any evidence probative of discrimination. Instead, what the Plaintiff has offered are a few vague references to alleged discriminatory comments made by his supervisors at unspecified times over a period of four years and unsupported allegations of disparate treatment. This falls far short of the evidence required to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Defendants’ well-supported rationale for firing him—namely, his documented history of insubordination and disruptive conduct—was pre-textual and instead, motivated by discrimination. (Emphasis added.)

The court also dismissed his national origin discrimination claim, finding the reference to plaintiff’s national origin in the complaint to be “entirely conclusory” and noting that there was “no evidence in the record as to what the Plaintiff’s national origin is, let alone suggesting any discriminatory conduct on the basis of his purported national origin.”

It also dismissed his hostile work environment claim:

The Plaintiff’s primary basis for his discrimination claims is his testimony that Vitale and Wirth made comments, such as “black son,” “faggot,” and “womanizer,” at unspecified times, as well as his unsupported assertions of disparate treatment. Although some of the comments are objectionable, they are insufficient to establish a hostile work environment claim, particularly in light of the lack of any other evidence of discrimination.

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