Employment Discrimination & Retaliation Claims Dismissed Against NY State Insurance Fund; Pretext Not Shown

In Jordan v. Lisa Ellsworth, et al, 2020 WL 7398757 (W.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2020), the court granted summary judgment to defendants on plaintiff’s employment discrimination and retaliation claims.

In sum, plaintiff alleged that defendants denied her promotional opportunities due to her race and in order to retaliate against her for filing internal race discrimination complaints.

Specifically, the court held that plaintiff could not show that the proffered reasons for the adverse action(s) were a pretext for discrimination or retaliation.

From the decision:

Jordan only cites one consideration in an attempt to show that Defendants’ proffered reasons are “unworthy of belief.” Vohra v. Am. Integrated Sec. Grp., No. 16-CV-5374, 2019 WL 3288899, at *6 (E.D.N.Y. July 22, 2019). Jordan argues that Defendants’ claims that she engaged in workplace misconduct and had poor performance are inconsistent with her “long history of positive performance reviews.” ECF No. 48 at 7. This argument is not entirely clear. To the extent Jordan is merely arguing that Defendants should have given more weight to her positive performance reviews than to her misconduct at work or instances of poor performance, this Court may not “sit as a super-personnel department that reexamines an entity’s business decisions.” Delaney v. Bank of Am. Corp., 766 F.3d 163, 169 (2d Cir. 2014). To the extent Jordan is arguing that Defendants’ proffered reasons are inconsistent with her prior performance reviews, such that pretext may be inferred, see Pompey-Howard v. N.Y.S. Educ. Dep’t, 275 F. Supp. 3d 356, 367 (N.D.N.Y. 2017) (stating that a plaintiff may show pretext by showing “inconsistencies…in the employer’s proffered…reasons for its action”), the Court disagrees. The performance reviews are not inconsistent with Defendants’ claims of misconduct and poor performance, let alone so inconsistent as to permit an inference of discrimination or retaliation.

After enumerating the writeups and/or discipline plaintiff received, the court held that “no reasonable jury could discern an inconsistency between her write-ups and performance reviews so as to permit an inference of pretext.”

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