NYPD Officer’s Retaliation Claim Survives Dismissal, Court Rules

In Mitchell v. New York City, No. 161543/2018, 2020 WL 109664 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Jan. 09, 2020), the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s retaliation claim (though it dismissed plaintiff’s race/gender discrimination and hostile work environment claims.

From the decision:

Although the court finds plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case for discrimination, plaintiff has nevertheless met her burden under the McDonnell Douglas framework for a claim of retaliation. Plaintiff contends that the City retaliated against her resulting in disciplinary charges less than one month after she filed her April 5, 2018 complaint. Here, the City maintains that it had a legitimate reason for the disciplinary charges in that plaintiff failed to administer HGN, as required, during over one hundred (100) Intoxicated Driver Testing Unit examinations between April 1, 2017 and March 14, 2018. Plaintiff asserts that the City’s contention is merely a pretext due to the proximity of the charges to her complaint, the City’s failure to bring the charges at an earlier occasion, and the refusal to train/retrain plaintiff in the HGN. The court determines that the City’s decision to pursue disciplinary charges after a year as opposed to an earlier timeframe does not in and of itself denote retaliation. However, whether the time frame along with the purported refusal of the City to re-train plaintiff … in the very test it sought disciplinary action amounts to retaliation is an appropriate inquiry for a jury [to] consider.