Retaliation Claim Dismissal Affirmed; Exclusion From Meetings and Other Vaguely-Alleged Conduct Did Not Qualify as “Adverse Employment Actions”

In Hodge v. ABACO, LLC, 20-1186-cv (2d Cir. Oct. 9, 2020) (Summary Order), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, inter alia, affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Here, the bad things that plaintiff alleged happened to her did not amount to an actionable “adverse employment action” as that term has been defined and construed by the courts.

From the decision:

Finally, with respect to Rodriguez’s claim of retaliation against her for her filing of a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights and other complaints she made during her time at the Commission, we agree with the district court that she has failed to adduce sufficient evidence of an adverse employment action to survive summary judgment. The Supreme Court has defined an “adverse employment action” in the Title VII retaliation context to mean an action that is “materially adverse” and that “well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.” Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006) (quotation marks omitted). Here, Rodriguez makes only vague and conclusory allegations regarding negative impacts on training and supervisory responsibilities, as well as alleged exclusion from meetings. Her generalized statements about adverse actions were insufficient to create an issue of fact that precluded summary judgment on the retaliation claim. See Gorzynski v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 596 F.3d 93, 101 (2d Cir. 2010) (stating that “a plaintiff must provide more than conclusory allegations to resist a motion for summary judgment”). And at any rate, the record indicates that the only supervisory responsibility that Rodriguez claims to have lost was that of monitoring staff attendance, App’x at 196, and that she was never prevented from ultimately attending any training she requested to attend, App’x at 970, 1015.

Based on this, the court affirmed the lower court’s order dismissing, on summary judgment, plaintiff’s retaliation claim.

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