Aspiring Graduate Student’s Title VII, ADA Discrimination Claims Dismissed

From Bussa v. St. John’s University, 2019 WL 136641, at *3–4 (E.D.N.Y., 2019):

Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that the defendant discriminated against him in violation of Title VII or the ADA. As a general matter, the complaint suggests that the plaintiff did not actually apply for a specific position, although he expressed an interest to defendants’ employees. The plaintiff alleges that he “applied to graduate school … with a graduate assistantship,” but also that he sought “information about the process” and information “regarding how to apply.” (Compl. at 5-6.) Absent an allegation that plaintiff actually applied for a specific position, the court has no basis for determining that he was rejected from a position for which he was qualified.4 The plaintiff also has not provided any facts implicating an exception to the specific application rule. Furthermore, the plaintiff has not alleged any facts regarding whether the graduate assistantship positions remain open or have been filled by people outside of his protected class.
Even if the court found that plaintiff’s requests for information regarding graduate assistantships constituted specific applications, the facts alleged by the plaintiff still would not give “plausible support to a minimal inference of discriminatory motivation.” Littlejohn, 795 F.3d at 311. Plaintiff does not provide any facts to suggest that any of defendant’s employees took action (or inaction) regarding the plaintiff because of his sex or disability status.
Regarding the sex discrimination claim, plaintiff only states that the offices he visited had “female graduate assistantships.” (Compl. at 5.) He does not state that there were only female graduate assistantships or that anyone indicated to him that men would be disfavored for these positions. The plaintiff does not allege that the positions he was interested in were later filled by women either—the only female employees referred to in the complaint were the ones who were already employed during the time the plaintiff was investigating the positions.
*4 As to disability status, the plaintiff states that he told the director of graduate admissions, during their one conversation, that he has a disability. (Compl. at 6.) The plaintiff does not provide any explanation regarding why he shared this information, including whether it was to ask for an accommodation, or how the director responded to this information. He also does not suggest that anyone else he spoke with commented on or took notice of his disability.
Plaintiff has established that he is a male with a disability who sought a job or admission to a graduate program, but was not successful. The plaintiff has not connected these facts in a way that establishes a viable claim, or otherwise provided additional facts that would do so. For these reasons, plaintiff’s claims for employment discrimination are dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.