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WILLIAMS v. STATE UNIV. OF NEW YORK

May 15, 1986

MARGARITA WILLIAMS, Plaintiff, against STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, and STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTER at Brooklyn a/k/a S.U.N.Y. DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER a/k/a/ STATE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT

THOMAS C. PLATT, D. J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 NATURE OF THE CASE

 This case arises under the nineteenth-century civil rights statutes, codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 (1982), which were enacted to enforce the guarantees of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Jurisdiction is conferred upon this Court by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343(a)(3) and (4) (1982).

 The Costa Rican born plaintiff, Margarita Williams (Williams), is a black Hispanic woman currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is a registered nurse and was awarded a master's degree in community health administration in 1974. From April 4, 1980 until April 2, 1986 she was employed as the associate director of nursing at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center (the Hospital). She brings this lawsuit against her former employer on the grounds that her discharge was an act of intentional discrimination based on her color, sex and national origin.

 Plaintiff primarily seeks equitable relief. The complaint requests both a preliminary and permanent injunction compelling defendants to reinstate her to her former job and grant her employment tenure and enjoining defendants from refusing to do so solely because of her race, color and national origin. The case is currently before the Court on plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction.

 BACKGROUND

 A recitation of the factual and procedural history of this case is warranted because they factor heavily in the Court's decision on plaintiff's application.

 A. The Facts of the Case

 Plaintiff was initially hired as the associate director of nursing for staffing at the Hospital in April 1980. Her managerial responsibilities included supervising the staffing of 800 nurses and hospital attendants, directing the "float staff," conducting certain training activities and performing labor relations liaison work. Pl's Aff. at P2.

 Plaintiff was hired for a term appointment pursuant to Article XI, Section D, of the Policies of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York (the Policies). A term appointment is one "for a specified period of not more than three years which shall automatically expire at the end of that period unless terminated earlier because of resignation, retirement, or termination." *fn1" Goldwasser Aff. at P5 (quoting Section D(1) of the Policies). A term appointment, of itself, shall not be "deemed to create any manner of legal right, interest or expectancy in any other appointment or renewal." Id. at P6 (quoting Title D, Section (4), of the Policies).

 For the first three years of her employment Williams received favorable job evaluations. Then, commencing in January 1983, plaintiff's white supervisor allegedly began to criticize plaintiff's performance and undermine her authority. Pl's Aff. at P5.

 In April 1984 plaintiff applied for the newly created position of deputy director of nursing. Her application, according to Williams, was utterly ignored -- the Hospital failed to even acknowledge receipt of her papers. On the heels of this incident plaintiff states that her supervisor subjected her to increased harassment and a second negative performance evaluation. Id. at P13.

 Plaintiff asserts that she requested that the Committee on Professional Evaluation review the unsatisfactory report according to guidelines established in a "Memorandum of Understanding Between S.U.N.Y. and United University Professions Relating to a System of Evaluation for Professional Employees." The Committee met in response to plaintiff's request, but a quorum was not present, nor were any third parties called and questioned to substantiate the unfavorable evaluation. In plaintiff's words the session merely applied a "rubber stamp" to her supervisor's report. Id. at PP19-20.

 On January 18, 1985 the Hospital president informed Williams that her employment would be terminated on April 2, 1986. Three months later Williams filed a racial discrimination in employment complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. That agency failed to undertake an investigation and ultimately surrendered its jurisdiction to the EEOC, before which the complaint is presently pending. Plaintiff did not seek judicial intervention until April 1986, purportedly because her union representative ...


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