time period, a qualified black woman was rejected for the job because she was "overqualified."
Heritage attempts to defeat plaintiff's claim of discrimination by asserting that Heritage hired two black individuals during the same time period. Heritage claims that on July 31, 1994, it hired Missprecious Patrick, a black female, as a full-time resident counselor. Although Patrick did not have any prior experience, Heritage maintains that it hired her because she displayed compassion, patience, commitment, and excellent listening skills. Heritage claims that on August 21, 1994, it hired Cameron Bailey, a black male, as a part-time resident counselor. Although Bailey also did not have any prior experience, Heritage alleges that it hired him because he exhibited patience, understanding, commitment, and excellent communication skills. While I find that this is evidence that the jury may consider in evaluating plaintiff's discrimination claim, I do not find it dispositive. "Title VII does not permit the victim of a facially discriminatory policy to be told that he has not been wronged because other persons of his or her race . . . were hired." Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U.S. 440, 456, 73 L. Ed. 2d 130, 102 S. Ct. 2525 (1982); Meiri v. Dacon, 759 F.2d 989, 996 n.9 (2d Cir. 1985).
All the above facts are sufficient to create an issue for the jury as to whether plaintiff's race was the true reason for his rejection. The proof certainly is not conclusive and the employer may have explanations for this conduct that dissuade the jury that race was a motivating factor. But, the facts are sufficient for a reasonable jury to determine otherwise. The Second Circuit has admonished district courts to exercise caution in discrimination cases where the employer's intent is at issue. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994). I find that this admonition is particularly appropriate here. These matters are not for the Court to resolve on this motion, but for the jury at trial.
B. Plaintiff's Title VII Claim Against Turnquist
To the extent that plaintiff's complaint asserts a claim against Turnquist in her individual capacity under Title VII, this claim fails as a matter of law and is dismissed. Tomka v. Seiler Corp., 66 F.3d 1295, 1317 (2d Cir. 1995) (holding that "an employer's agent may not be held individually liable under Title VII").
For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied in part and granted in part.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DAVID G. LARIMER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Dated: Rochester, New York
September 15, 1997.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.