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ANDERSON v. S.U.N.Y. HEALTH SCI. CTR. AT SYRACUSE

July 10, 1993

LONELL ANDERSON, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
S.U.N.Y. HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AT SYRACUSE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS J. MCAVOY

 MEMORANDUM - DECISION and ORDER

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff's complaint asserted numerous claims arising under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 & 2000e et seq. and 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. These claims sounded in discrimination based on age, race, sex, and his status as a Vietnam veteran. The claims arising from his status as a Vietnam veteran and his age were dismissed at the time of trial and proof was heard only on the Section 1981 and Title VII race/sexual harassment claims. The matter was tried in Watertown, New York commencing February 10, 1992 and liability and damages were bifurcated.

 The matter was submitted to the jury on the Section 1981 claims under two theories. The first theory was that plaintiff was discharged from his position as assistant affirmative action coordinator by the defendant because of his race. The second was that plaintiff was fired from his position in retaliation for having submitted claims of racial discrimination by defendant's employees. The jury found that both of these claims were without merit and judgment was entered for the defendant thereon.

 The Title VII claims were tried to the bench simultaneously with the Section 1981 case. The plaintiff proceeded on the Title VII claim on a number of distinct theories. The first was a "quid pro quo" sexual harassment theory by which he alleged that his immediate supervisor, Althea DeGraft-Johnson, took specific disciplinary action against him because he refused her sexual advances.

 The second was a "hostile word environment" sexual harassment theory by which the plaintiff contended that an atmosphere of sexual harassment, perpetuated by DeGraft-Johnson and others, permeated his working environment.

 The third was a discriminatory discharge theory under which he alleges that he was discharged because of his race and gender.

 The fourth was a retaliatory discharge theory, alleging that he was retaliated against for filing an earlier sexual harassment claim against the defendant with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR"). See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). *fn1"

 The following constitutes the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to the Title VII claims. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a).

 II. FINDINGS OF FACT

 With regard to the Title VII claims, the following facts were developed at trial. Prior to commencing his employment with defendant, plaintiff received a doctorate degree in education and administration from Knoxville College in Knoxville, TN. He asserted that while pursuing his graduate career he was involved in a love affair with Althea DeGraft-Johnson, a woman who thereafter became his supervisor at the defendant S.U.N.Y. Health Science Center ("defendant" or "Center") in 1988.

 Ms. DeGraft-Johnson testified that she believed, prior to hiring the plaintiff as an Assistant Affirmative Action Officer with the defendant Center, that Mr. Anderson was well-qualified for such a position. Based upon this belief, she contacted him regarding employment while serving in her capacity as Interim Affirmative Action Officer for defendant. Plaintiff was eventually hired with the approval of the president of defendant Center on September 9, 1988. His claims of sex discrimination are founded on his belief that Ms. DeGraft-Johnson wanted to resume the affair they had enjoyed in graduate school and that he refused. ...


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