The opinion of the court was delivered by: McKENNA, District Judge.
Plaintiff Ricardo Arroyo ("Arroyo") brought this action against
defendants WestLB Administration, Inc. and Westdeutsche
Landesbank (collectively, the "Bank") alleging racial
discrimination and unlawful termination in violation of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq.
(Title VII), the New York State Human Rights Law ("State HRL"),
N YExec.Law § 290 et. seq. (McKinney 1986), and the New York
City Human Rights Law ("City HRL"), N.Y.C.Admin.Code § 8-101 et.
seq.*fn1 Arroyo also alleges that the Bank negligently caused
him to suffer emotional distress, and that it negligently
retained one of its employees. The Bank now moves for summary
judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure for an order dismissing the complaint. For the reasons
stated below, the Court grants the Bank's motion for summary
judgment, dismissing the complaint.
Arroyo, a Hispanic male, commenced employment with the Bank in
January 1990 as a money market foreign exchange clerk. (See
Defs.' Ex. 3 Arroyo Dep. at 5). During the summer of 1993, Arroyo
received a job offer from another firm and resigned from the
Bank. (See id. at 5-7). The Bank then offered Arroyo a position
as a money market trader's assistant to convince him to stay.
(See id.). Arroyo, whose goal was to become a trader's
assistant, and ultimately, a trader, accepted the position. (See
id. at 6-7). His new responsibilities included tracking the
deals made by the traders with whom he worked and then inputting
the trade tickets for those deals into a computer. (See Defs.'
Ex. 4 Barton Dep. at 21-22).
Arroyo's allegations of hostile work environment are based on
the following incidents.
In or about August or September 1993, Arroyo and Williamson had
an argument on the trading floor, witnessed by several employees.
(See Arroyo Dep. at 10, 14-16; Barton Dep. at 33). According to
Williamson, the day of the argument was unusually busy and he
claims to have asked Arroyo for help in entering the remaining
trade tickets into the computer. (See Williamson Dep. at
12-14). He contends that Arroyo refused, spurring their argument.
(See id. at 14). Arroyo testified at his deposition that during
the argument Williamson called him a "`fucking spic'" and
"`fucking asshole,'" and accused him of thinking only of himself.
(Arroyo Dep. at 10). Williamson denies using those epithets, but
admits that he said Arroyo had "moisture on his back," a
reference to Arroyo's ethnicity.*fn2 (Williamson Dep. at 20,
25-26). After the dispute, Arroyo was told to go home by his
managers. (See Barton Dep. at 27). Apparently, Williamson
followed Arroyo to the elevator, (see id. at 27, 35), at which
point Arroyo alleges that Williamson said: "`We will take care of
it outside and this is far from over.'" (Arroyo Dep. at 14).
The next day, Arroyo complained to Gerard Barton, the Bank's
Managing Director of Human Resources. (See id. at 18; Barton
Dep. at 26). According to Barton, Arroyo only mentioned that
Williamson called him a "wetback," or something that could be
interpreted as such. (See Barton Dep. at 28). Arroyo, on the
other hand, maintains that he told Barton that Williamson called
him a "spic." (See Arroyo Dep. at 18). Barton conducted an
investigation, meeting separately with Williamson and Doyle, who
witnessed the argument. (See Barton Dep. at 29, 31-33, 35). He
testified that Williamson's and Doyle's versions of the incident
were consistent with what he alleges Arroyo told him. (See id.
at 39). As a result of the investigation, Williamson was
disciplined. Barton verbally warned him that use of racial slurs
was impermissible, and documented the warning by placing a
memorandum in Williamson's file. (See id. at 44, 46, 48-49;
Ex.11). Afterwards, Williamson apologized to Arroyo and other
co-workers. (See Arroyo Dep. at 20-21; Williamson Dep. at 36,
No further incidents of discrimination are alleged until
During this time the Bank made changes in its organizational
structure and to its computer system. (See Arroyo Dep. at
22-24; Barton Dep. at 50-52). The changes affected Arroyo's and
Williamson's positions. The employees were moved from the trading
floor to a back office where they sat close to one another,
(see Barton Dep. at 50-52), and were instructed to work
directly together. (See Arroyo Dep. at 22). Each was
responsible for training the other in their respective positions.
(See id.). Tension soon developed.
According to Arroyo, Williamson often complained that he was
doing more work than Arroyo, that Arroyo was not training him
properly, and that he was impatient. (See id. at 25). Arroyo
alleges that in the context of these disputes Williamson called
him an "asshole" and a "spic"*fn3 "a few times."*fn4 (Id. at
25-26). He further alleges
that Williamson said "`I eat you up, I eat you boys for
breakfast.'" (Id. at 26). Arroyo complained to Doyle about
Williamson's comments "[a] number of times." (Id.). Arroyo
testified that Doyle said he understood how difficult it was
working with Williamson, and that the Bank was trying to get rid
of him, but was unable to do so. (See id. at 26-27). Doyle,
however, testified that Arroyo's complaints related to disputes
regarding sharing of the workload, and that Arroyo never
complained of racial harassment. (See Doyle Dep. at 11-12,
14-15). In any event, Doyle spoke with Williamson on several
occasions about Arroyo's complaints. (See Arroyo Dep. at 27).
Arroyo also testified that when Doyle, who is white, was
promoted, Williamson remarked: "`Do you believe this fucking guy
got a vice president job?'" (See Arroyo Dep. at 27). An
employee also reported to Doyle that Williamson said the
promotion list was "`shaded white,'" and "`South Africa, here at
West LB.'" (Doyle Dep. ...