Title VII Retaliation Claim Dismissal Affirmed; Argument That Reassignment Was Made For “Improper” Reasons Held Insufficient

In D’Amore v. City of New York, 19-2217-cv (2d Cir. June 4, 2020) (Summary Order), the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim (on summary judgment) asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

In 2016 the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) hired 18 D’Amore to join one of its investigative teams responsible for reviewing allegations of sexual assault made against inmates or DOC staff members. To ensure that its investigative teams “had some balance of male and female investigators,” DOC stationed D’Amore at the George R. Vierno Center (GRVC) on Rikers Island. Shortly after D’Amore learned of his assignment to the GRVC, he complained to his superiors that he believed that the assignment was made for “improper” reasons. Hours later, D’Amore was fired. D’Amore filed this suit, alleging that DOC’s decision to fire him violated the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII. The District Court rejected D’Amore’s claim, concluding that “no reasonable jury could find that” (1) D’Amore “engaged in protected activity” or that (2) DOC “was aware of that activity.” D’Amore challenges both conclusions on appeal. Based upon our review of the record, we conclude that D’Amore failed to establish a prima facie case of unlawful retaliation, and we accordingly reject D’Amore’s argument to the contrary. [Citations omitted.]

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