Failure-to-Hire Discrimination Claim Dismissed; Alleged “Contradiction” on Website Insufficient

In Benedith v. White Plains Hospital, 2021 WL 4555192 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 4, 2021), the court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint, which asserted claims of race, color, and national origin discrimination (in the form of a failure to hire him as a physician).

The court explained:

At the pleading stage in an employment discrimination action, a plaintiff must plausibly allege that (1) the employer took adverse employment action against him, and (2) his race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor in the employment decision. Vega v. Hempstead Union Free Sch. Dist., 801 F.3d 72, 86 (2d Cir. 2015). The plaintiff may do so by alleging facts that directly show discrimination or facts that indirectly show discrimination by giving rise to a plausible inference of discrimination.

Plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient to state a claim under Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] or [42 U.S.C.] § 1981. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him by not hiring him, but he does not allege facts suggesting that his race, color, or national origin played any role in Defendant’s decision not to hire him. Rather, his only allegation is that the failure to hire him “contradicts” a policy statement on Defendant’s website. Plaintiff makes a legal conclusion that Defendant discriminated against him but does not show a causal connection between Plaintiff’s race, color, or national origin and any adverse employment action taken by Defendant. In short, nothing in the complaint suggests that one of Plaintiff’s protected characteristics motivated Defendant not to hire him, Plaintiff seems to rely on the fallacy that because he is a member of a protected class, it is plausible that any adverse employment action directed at him was because of his membership in that class, but it is well settled that such reasoning does not suffice to state a claim.

[Internal quotation marks omitted.]

The court did, however, grant plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint that complies with the appropriate legal standards.

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