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Friday, August 07, 2015

Court dismissed discrimination complaint for failure to allege discriminatory intent and for failure to exhaust administrative remedies


Court dismissed discrimination complaint for failure to allege discriminatory intent and for failure to exhaust administrative remedies
Burgis v New York City Department of Sanitation, USCA, Second Circuit, Docket #14-14-1640 cv

In this class action lawsuit the plaintiffs alleged that they suffered unlawful discrimination on the basis of race and/or national origin in the New York City Department of Sanitation’s promotional practices, relying on statistics that they claim demonstrate disparities in the composition of various supervisory positions within the department.

The federal district court dismissed the Equal Protection and §1981 claims filed by the plaintiffs “for failure to allege discriminatory intent”, and dismissed their Title VII claim  alleging disparate impact “for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.”

The Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, sustained the district court’s ruling, explaining that although statistics alone may be sufficient in some circumstances to show discriminatory intent in an Equal Protection or §1981 class claim, “the statistics here alleged in the complaint were insufficient for this purpose” and, further, the plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies prior to filing the Title VII disparate impact claim.

As to the statistics presented by the plaintiffs, the Circuit Court said the plaintiff’s bare allegations do not present circumstances that “give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.” Without any specificity as to the qualifications considered for each position and without any reference to specific statements or individual circumstances that suggest discriminatory treatment, plaintiffs’ allegations do not support a finding that the Department of Sanitation acted with a discriminatory purpose.

Addressing the plaintiffs’ Title VII claim, the court said that discriminatory intent need not be alleged in a case based on so-called “disparate impact." In this instance, however, the plaintiffs’ Title VII claim must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

To bring a claim under Title VII, explained the court, a plaintiff must first have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or a state equivalent - here, the New York State Division of Human Rights - as Courts may only hear claims “reasonably related” to allegations set forth in the administrative complaint.

Accordingly, said the court, the judgment of the United States District Court is affirmed.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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