Am. Compl. at ¶ 12. Feeley ordered plaintiff on a daily basis
to make photocopies, send and retrieve facsimiles, move Feeley's
car, and pick up Feeley's breakfast and lunch. At no time did
Feeley order Local 918 business agents who were white, such as
Bob Didier, to perform such tasks.
At some point in October 1997, plaintiff complained to Maney
about Feeley's discrimination against him. In response to
plaintiff's complaints, Maney told plaintiff to tell Feeley "`to
go fuck himself.'" Am. Compl. at ¶ 14. Maney offered no more
assistance for the plaintiff.
In January 1998, a car belonging to one of Local 918's business
agents broke down. Plaintiff suggested that the business agent
use plaintiff's car while plaintiff borrowed a vehicle from Local
918. In response to plaintiff's suggestion, Maney called
plaintiff a "`fucking moron.'" Am. Compl. at ¶ 15. The next
morning, plaintiff complained of this discriminatory treatment to
Maney and Feeley. Maney did not remember making the comment and
Feeley did not take any action in response to plaintiff's
Plaintiff contemplated quitting his job due to the stress he
felt over Feeley's treatment of him. Plaintiff's co-workers
encouraged him to stay because "they believed that [plaintiff's
resignation] was exactly what Feeley wanted: plaintiff to quit
his job so that he could hire a white replacement." Am. Compl. at
Later in January 1998, a recently fired shop steward who was a
member of Local 918 arrived at the Local 918 office to consult
with plaintiff and Feeley. During the meeting Feeley told
plaintiff to move Feeley's car. Plaintiff asked the visiting
union member to help plaintiff by moving Feeley's car. At that
point, Feeley raced out of the office and, in front of the union
member and numerous bystanders, yelled: "`are you stupid, or
crazy and what in the f-k is the matter with you!'" Am. Compl. at
After the incident, plaintiff again complained to Maney about
Feeley's discriminatory treatment. Plaintiff pointed out again
that Didier was not treated in the same manner. Maney assured
plaintiff that he would speak to Feeley about the situation. At
that meeting, plaintiff requested a transfer to another local
union office within Maney's jurisdiction as trustee. Maney
responded that plaintiff could not be transferred until the
completion of a reorganization of IBT's local union offices.
Around March 1998, a position became available at International
Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 1034, a local union within
Maney's jurisdiction as trustee. Despite plaintiff's prior
request for a transfer, plaintiff was not transferred, and the
job went to a white male named Bill Ahearn.
"To make amends for not transferring plaintiff to the Local
1034 position," Maney promised that plaintiff could enroll in
labor education classes at Cornell University. Am. Compl. at
¶ 20. Two days before the classes were to begin, however,
Maney advised plaintiff that Local 918 would not pay for the
classes because they were too expensive.
In April 1998, Maney told plaintiff that IBT ordered him to
fire one business agent. Maney informed plaintiff that the
employment termination policy mandated that the last hired by the
local union is the first to be fired. As a result plaintiff would
lose his job, Maney stated. Plaintiff reminded Maney that he was
not the last business agent hired as Bill Ahearn was hired after
him. Plaintiff also reminded Maney that all local unions "were
separate and, therefore, the lay off should not affect
[plaintiff]." Am. Compl. at ¶ 21.
On April 20, 1998, Feeley, Didier, and plaintiff met at Local
918 at 5:00 a.m. to go to a picket line in New Jersey. When
plaintiff arrived, he advised Feeley that he needed to find a
cash machine because he had no money for lunch or tolls. Feeley
said that there was no time for plaintiff to withdraw money
because they had to leave immediately for the picket line. Feeley
told plaintiff that he would lend him money. When they arrived at
the picket line, Feeley asked plaintiff to purchase breakfast.
Plaintiff "said nothing" as he did not have money to pay for the
breakfast and Feeley had neglected to lend him money. Finally,
Didier volunteered to pick up the breakfast. At lunch time,
Feeley repeatedly ordered plaintiff to purchase the lunch for the
three men. Plaintiff again said nothing. Feeley then told Didier
that he would make sure plaintiff "`fetch[ed] lunch'" whether
plaintiff wanted to do so or not. Am. Compl. at ¶ 22.
Plaintiff responded that Feeley should not speak to him that way.
Feeley screamed that plaintiff "`would not fucking eat'" and that
if plaintiff did not like his job, plaintiff should go home. Id.
Plaintiff responded that his job did not include "`fetch[ing]'"
Feeley's lunch. Id.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 22, 1998, Maney ordered
plaintiff to report to his office. Upon plaintiff's arrival,
Maney informed him that he was fired because of the argument at
the picket line.
Shortly after the incidents described above, plaintiff filed,
with the assistance of counsel, a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") charging that Local
918 discriminated against him on the basis of his race. IBT was
not named in the EEOC complaint.
Plaintiff's original complaint, filed on December 2, 1998,
alleged causes of action against IBT, Local 918, Feeley, and
Maney. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint against all
defendants on February 18, 1999. On February 22, 1999, plaintiff
agreed to withdraw the complaint as to Local 918, Feeley, and
Maney. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against IBT on March
The amended complaint states eight causes of action. Each count
is described in turn.
The first cause of action asserts that IBT, through its agents,
Maney and Feeley, engaged in a pattern of race discrimination and
harassment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. IBT had
constructive knowledge of Maney and Feeley's actions and failed
to supervise or discipline them adequately.
The second cause of action alleges that Maney hired a white
male for the position of business agent in Local 1034 despite
plaintiff's qualifications for the job and requests to be hired
for that job.
The third cause of action states that IBT violated Title VII
when it terminated plaintiff's employment and hired a white male
The fourth cause of action alleges that IBT violated Title VII
when it fired plaintiff in retaliation for plaintiff's opposition
to being subjected to race discrimination. Plaintiff asserts in
the fifth cause of action that IBT engaged in race discrimination
in violation of New York Human Rights Law § 296.
The sixth cause of action alleges that IBT hired a white male
instead of the plaintiff who had previously requested that job in
violation of New York Human Rights Law.
The seventh cause of action states that IBT terminated
plaintiff's employment as a business agent on account of his race
in spite of plaintiff's adequate job performance in violation of
New York Human Rights Law.
The eighth cause of action alleges that IBT violated New York
Human Rights Law by firing plaintiff from his employment with
Local 918 and removing plaintiff from his position as elected
shop steward in retaliation for the fact that plaintiff opposed
IBT's discriminatory conduct.
Defendant raises two arguments in support of its motion to
dismiss. Defendant first contends that the Court lacks
jurisdiction over plaintiff's workplace discrimination and
wrongful termination claims because the complaint does not allege
that IBT was plaintiff's employer. Second,
defendant contends that plaintiff's failure to name IBT in the
EEOC complaint mandates the dismissal of the lawsuit against IBT
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).*fn1 Each
issue is addressed in turn.
As a threshold matter, plaintiff fails to assert a
jurisdictional basis for the complaint because he does not allege
that IBT employed him.
A district court may only exercise jurisdiction over a
defendant in a Title VII case if, inter alia, the defendant is an
"employer," as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. See EEOC v.
Arabian Am. Oil Co., 499 U.S. 244, 248-49, 111 S.Ct. 1227, 113
L.Ed.2d 274 (1991) (describing the term "employer" as used in
Title VII as "jurisdictional"); Astarita v. Urgo Butts & Co., No.
96 CIV 6991(PKL), 1997 WL 317028, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. June 10, 1997);
Perezic v. Crespo, No. 94 Civ. 8283, 1996 WL 233687, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. May 7, 1996). Title VII defines an employer as:
[A] person engaged in an industry affecting
commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each
working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks
in the current or preceding calendar
year, and any agent of such a person. . . .
42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b) (1994). In the present case, the parties
agree that IBT was not plaintiff's employer of record.*fn2
Plaintiff advances three theories to assert jurisdiction over
IBT: (1) that IBT and Local 918 are a single employer; (2) that
Maney and Feeley are agents of IBT; and (3) that IBT, although
not plaintiff's employer, had an affirmative duty to prevent the
discrimination. Each argument is addressed in turn.*fn3
Under the single employer theory, "a wronged employee may
impose liability on an entity that, although not his employer of
record, exercises sufficient control over employment decisions to
bear responsibility for the wrong in question." Murray v. Miner,
876 F. Supp. 512, 515 (S.D.N.Y. 1995). To determine whether two
entities should be treated as a single employer for Title VII
purposes, the Second Circuit considers whether the two entities
have: (1) interrelated operations; (2) centralized control of
labor relations; (3) common management; and (4) common ownership
or financial control. See Cook v. Arrowsmith Shelburne, Inc.,
69 F.3d 1235, 1240 (2d Cir. 1995). The second factor is the most
crucial and under this factor "the critical question to be
answered . . . is: What entity made the final decisions regarding
employment matters related to the person claiming
discrimination?" Id. (quotation omitted).
In the case, plaintiff does not allege or show that the
operations of IBT and Local 918 were related or that the two
entities shared common management or ownership. In the area of
centralized control of labor relations, however, plaintiff
asserts that IBT had control because Maney made employment
decisions and he was a trustee appointed by IBT. A trustee
assumes the duties of the local union officer he replaces and is
obligated to carry out the interests of the local union and not
the appointing entity. See Tile, Marble, Terrazzo, Finishers,
Shopworkers and Granite Cutters Int'l Union v. Ceramic Tile
Finishers Union, Local 25, 972 F.2d
738, 746 (7th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, plaintiff cannot assert
that IBT and Local 918 were single employers solely on the basis
that IBT appointed a trustee who terminated plaintiff's
employment.*fn4 The fact that the IBT constitution allows for
the appointment of a trustee to operate the local union is not
sufficient to find that the international union and its local
union are single employers. See Herman v. United Bhd. of
Carpenters and Joiners, Local Union 971, 60 F.3d 1375, 1383 (9th
Cir. 1995); Childs v. Local 18, Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers,
719 F.2d 1379, 1382 (9th Cir. 1983). Consequently, IBT and Local 918
cannot be considered a single employer for purposes of Title VII
Plaintiff next asserts that IBT can be held liable for the
discriminatory acts of its local union because Local 918, Feeley,
and Maney are agents of IBT.
It is well settled that an international union is not
vicariously liable for the acts of a local union without an
agency relationship between the international and the local
union. See Carbon Fuel Co. v. United Mine Workers, 444 U.S. 212,
216-18, 100 S.Ct. 410, 62 L.Ed.2d 394 (1979). Because Title VII
does not define the term "agent," the Court must turn to the
common law principles of agency to determine whether Local 918
was acting as an agent of IBT. See Meritor Savings Bank v.
Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 72, 106 S.Ct. 2399, 91 L.Ed.2d 49 (1986);
Sparks v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 830 F.2d 1554, 1558 (11th
Cir. 1987). Under these principles, an agent is one who agrees to
act on behalf of another, subject to the other's control. See
generally Restatement (Second) of Agency §§ 219-237 (1958).
In the present case, the complaint contains no allegations from
which it may be inferred that Local 918, Maney, or Feeley were
agents of IBT. Feeley's and Maney's status as trustee to Local
918, but appointed by IBT, does not confer agency on the two men,
as they both owed a fiduciary duty to Local 918 and not to IBT.
See Tile, Marble, Terrazzo, Finishers, Shopworkers and Granite
Cutters Int'l Union, 972 F.2d at 746. The IBT constitution,
appended to the complaint, explicitly states that trustees
appointed by IBT act solely in the interest of the local union.
See IBT Const. Art. VI, § 5(b).
Plaintiff's final argument is that IBT had an affirmative duty
to intervene and stop the discrimination committed by Feeley and
Maney. The law is well settled, however, that an "international
union has no independent duty to intervene in the affairs of its
local chapters, even where the international has knowledge of the
local's unlawful acts." Phelan v. Local 305, 973 F.2d 1050, 1061
(2d Cir. 1992); Rodonick v. House Wreckers Union Local 95 of
Laborers' Int'l Union, 817 F.2d 967, 974 (2d Cir. 1987); National
Electrical Benefit Fund v. Heary Bros. Lightning Protection Co.,
931 F. Supp. 169 (W.D.N.Y. 1995); accord Carbon Fuel Co. v. United
Mine Workers of America, 444 U.S. 212, 217-18, 100 S.Ct. 410, 62
L.Ed.2d 394 (1979); Moore v. Local Union 569 of the Int'l Bhd. of
Elec. Workers, 989 F.2d 1534, 1543 (9th Cir. 1993). As a result,
affirmative duty is not a theory under which plaintiff can assert
jurisdiction over IBT.
Even if the Court had jurisdiction to hear plaintiff's case,
plaintiff fails to state a claim because he did not file an EEOC
charge naming the defendant. Faced with a motion to dismiss a
complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all
factual averments in the complaint and must not dismiss the
complaint "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief." Easton v. Sundram, 947 F.2d 1011, 1014-15 (2d
Cir. 1991) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78
S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) (citations omitted)). This standard
is "applied with particular strictness when the plaintiff
complains of a civil rights violation." Branum v. Clark,
927 F.2d 698, 705 (2d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted).
A plaintiff must file a charge against a party with the EEOC or
an authorized state agency before the complainant can sue that
party in federal court under Title VII. See
42 U.S.C. § 2000e5(f)(1) (limiting aggrieved party's right to sue to "the
respondent named in the charge"). "[T]he charge serves to notify
the charged party of the alleged violation and also brings the
party before the EEOC, making possible effectuation of the Act's
primary goal of securing voluntary compliance with its mandates."
Eggleston v. Chicago Journeymen Plumbers' Local Union No. 130,
657 F.2d 890, 905 (7th Cir. 1981). Title VII claims must be
dismissed against an international union when only a local union
was named in the EEOC complaint. See Johnson v. Palma,
931 F.2d 203, 210 (2d Cir. 1991). In the present case, plaintiff does not
dispute that IBT is not named in the EEOC complaint. The body of
the EEOC complaint only mentions Local 918.
The Second Circuit has recognized an "identity of interest"
exception to the rule that a lawsuit must be dismissed against a
defendant who is not named in the EEOC complaint "[b]ecause these
charges generally are filed by parties not versed in the vagaries
of Title VII and its jurisdictional and pleading
requirements . . . ." See Johnson v. Palma, 931 F.2d at 209. The
exception "permits a Title VII action to proceed against an
unnamed party where there is a clear identity of interest between
the unnamed defendant and the party named in the administrative
charge." Id. Following the Third Circuit's lead, the Second
Circuit considers four factors in determining whether an identity
of interest exists:
1) whether the role of the unnamed party
could through reasonable effort by the complainant be
ascertained at the time of the filing of the EEOC
complaint; 2) whether, under the circumstances,
the interests of a named [party] are so similar as the
unnamed party's that for the purpose of obtaining
voluntary conciliation and compliance it would
be unnecessary to include the unnamed
party in the EEOC proceedings; 3) whether its absence
from the EEOC proceedings resulted in actual prejudice
to the interests of the unnamed party;
4) whether the unnamed party has in some way
represented to the complainant that its relationship
with the complainant is to be through the named
Id. at 209-10 (quoting Glus v. G.C. Murphy Co.,