Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SIMONTON v. RUNYON

May 26, 1999

DWAYNE SIMONTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARVIN T. RUNYON, POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a former employee of the United States Postal Service, commenced this case alleging discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e ("Title VII"). Plaintiff's claim of a hostile work environment stems from treatment he allegedly received from co-workers and supervisors based upon the fact that plaintiff is a homosexual. Defendants move to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Title VII does not prevent harassment or discrimination based upon sexual orientation. According to defendants, discrimination based upon sexual orientation is not discrimination "based upon sex," and therefore, does not state a claim under Title VII.

While the court finds that the conduct alleged, if true, is offensive and unsuitable for any workplace, the court is constrained by precedent on this issue. That precedent refuses to extend the protection of Title VII to the circumstances present here. Accordingly, for the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendants' motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

I. The Allegations Of The Complaint

Plaintiff is a male homosexual who was employed as a postal worker at the Farmingdale, New York, Post Office from approximately 1984 until 1995. Plaintiff alleges that beginning in 1987, he became subject to ridicule, harassment and disparate treatment based upon his sexual orientation. Plaintiff alleges, inter alia, that he was targeted for fictitious infractions and exposed to incessant threats, obscenity and nasty letters that referred to plaintiff's sexual homosexuality. Plaintiff also alleges that he was subject to physical assaults between July of 1994 and May of 1995. This abusive and hostile work environment is alleged to have caused plaintiff to suffer a heart attack and mental distress.

II. Defendants' Motion

As noted above, defendants move to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. Defendants argue that discrimination based upon sexual orientation is not discrimination "based upon sex" and therefore does not state a claim pursuant to Title VII. This motion was originally presented prior to the decision of the Supreme Court in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 118 S.Ct. 998, 140 L.Ed.2d 201 (1998). After an attempt at mediation of this matter failed, the motion was renewed. With the principles announced in Oncale in mind, the court turns to the merits of defendants' motion.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

Defendants' motion is made in the context of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A motion to dismiss is properly granted only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); Harsco v. Segui, 91 F.3d 337, 341 (2d Cir. 1996); Bernheim v. Litt, 79 F.3d 318, 321 (2d Cir. 1996). When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court can consider only the facts as set forth in the complaint or documents attached thereto. When considering the facts pled, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint. All reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Hamilton Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, Inc. v. Hamilton College, 128 F.3d 59, 62 (2d Cir. 1997). A complaint should not be dismissed "simply because a plaintiff is unlikely to succeed on the merits." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974).

II. Title VII and Claims of Discrimination Based Upon Sexual
    Orientation

Title VII prohibits both "quid pro quo" and "hostile environment" sexual harassment. The former occurs when an employee refuses to submit to an employer's sexual demands. The latter exists when an employer's conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an "intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment." Carrero v. New York City Housing Authority, 890 F.2d 569, 577 (2d Cir. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.