Title VII Retaliation Claim, Based on Internal/Informal Complaint, Survives Dismissal

In Falcon v. City University of New York, 15-cv-3421, 2017 WL 2982980, (E.D.N.Y. July 10, 2017), the court held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged a claim of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to survive 12(b)(6) scrutiny regarding retaliation against her internal complaint filed on December 4, 2014. The law [] does not require that the employee file a formal complaint when opposing the discriminatory practices—an informal complaint is sufficient. []

The Plaintiff alleges that in early December 2014, CUNY transferred the majority of her responsibilities to a male co-worker. A significant loss of material responsibilities can constitute a materially adverse employment action. [] While it is possible that this occurred in the three days in December before the Plaintiff filed her internal complaint on December 4, 2014, the Court will construe [plaintiff’s complaint] liberally and interpret early December to mean the first half of the month.

The Court notes that the [complaint] states that the Plaintiff “complained to the Defendants on several occasions regarding CUNY’s failure to promote her in favor of younger male candidates.” [] However, as the complaint does not allege when these complaints were made, the Court cannot analyze whether they were sufficiently proximate in time to any materially adverse employment actions.

Accordingly, CUNY’s motion for a judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) dismissing the Plaintiff’s retaliation claim is denied, as the Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts as to her internal December 4, 2014 complaint.

The court also held that plaintiff alleged enough facts to survive dismissal on her gender discrimination claim, but not her hostile work environment claim.

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