Age/Race/Gender/Religious Discrimination Claims Dismissed Against NY and Presbyterian Hospital

In Boyce-Herbert v. New York and Presbyterian Hospital, 2020 WL 376788 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2020), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims.[1]Initially, the court held that plaintiff’s discrimination claims were time-barred, but addressed the merits of plaintiff’s claims in an “abundance of caution.”

The court listed the elements that a plaintiff must demonstrate in order to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, namely, that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she is qualified for the position; (3) she has suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) the circumstances give rise to an inference of discrimination.

Here, it was undisputed that plaintiff, an African-American woman, met elements 1, 2, and 3. Plaintiff’s claim faltered, as many do, on element 4:

The plaintiff has not established any inference of discrimination. She asserts in her declaration that her supervisors fabricated the complaints against her and that she was “treated differently” and “harass[ed]” as she became older, but she does not say that her supervisors or coworkers ever disparaged her because of her age, race, gender, or religious affiliation. In fact, in her deposition, the plaintiff agreed that neither her supervisors nor her coworkers disparaged her because of her age, race, gender, or religious affiliation. Rather, the plaintiff attributed her employer’s dislike of her to the fact that they did not view her as a “team player” because she “never came in and discussed any of [her] family doing what [they’re] going to do, where [they] went on vacation or whatever.” Thus, the plaintiff has failed to present even minimal proof that her suspension and termination were driven, even in part, by discrimination. Her allegations are not supported by a single piece of evidence other than [the plaintiff’s] own opinions and conjectures. Drawing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, no reasonable jury could infer that the defendant acted with a discriminatory motive. [Citations and internal quotation marks omitted.]

Having determined that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case, the court found it unnecessary to apply the burden-shifting analysis applicable to discrimination claims. That said, it found that defendant articulated legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for terminating plaintiff’s employment, such that plaintiff “was rude to coworkers and supervisors and refused to perform duties that were unquestionably part of her job, leading to suspensions, corrective actions and warnings.”

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1. Initially, the court held that plaintiff’s discrimination claims were time-barred, but addressed the merits of plaintiff’s claims in an “abundance of caution.”