Court Dismisses Race Discrimination Claim; Adverse Action, Inference of Discrimination Insufficiently Alleged

In Carrington v. Mota & City of New York, 2017 WL 3835883 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2017), the court recommended the dismissal of plaintiff’s race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (but gave her an opportunity to amend her complaint).

As to plaintiff’s race discrimination claim, the court initially noted that plaintiff failed to plausibly allege an “adverse employment action.” From the decision:

Carrington alleges that Mota “reprimanded” her, spoke to her with a “hostile” tone, “screamed” at a client in front of her and then relocated her to another desk, denied her requests for blocked time, and would repeatedly check up on the status of her work. Id. at 19–21. Carrington also describes receiving a written warning from Norman without being afforded a chance to explain the incident in an informal conference. Id. at 14. Additionally, Carrington offers a litany of instances, ranging from her pen being taken from her signature pad, to not receiving a response to an email inquiry about overtime she is allegedly owed, as other examples of mistreatment. Id. at 23–24. Whether individually or taken together, these incidents do not constitute adverse employment actions, because at no point does Carrington allege that she was subject to “a materially adverse change in the terms and conditions of [her] employment.”

Next, the court held that plaintiff did not plausibly allege that her treatment “occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.” While defendant Mota called plaintiff a “black bitch” in passing, this “comment was at most a ‘stray remark,’ because [plaintiff] has not described a ‘causal nexus’ between the comment and any adverse employment action that followed.”

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