The opinion of the court was delivered by: Howard G. Munson, Sr. J.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, an African American, began working for defendant Mohawk
Valley Community College ("MVCC") on January 27, 1992, as a Building
Maintenance Helper. In October 1993, plaintiff returned from a year's
workers' compensation leave with a 40% right shoulder disability which
caused him to be placed on permanent light-duty status during his
employment with MVCC. In order to accommodate plaintiffs disability,
light-duty assignments of other Building Maintenance Helpers were
assigned to plaintiff, so the others were available to do the heavy-duty
work plaintiff could not carry out.
Plaintiff was then assigned sole responsibility to maintain to a new
building. Shortly thereafter, it was realized that plaintiffs disability
could prohibit him from undertaking any heavy-work assignments required
for proper building maintenance. Plaintiff was then transferred to a
building with other maintenance staff to accommodate his light-duty
During the time period alleged in the complaint defendant MVCC employed
defendants Philip Scott as a supervisor of building services, Michael
Darrow as a maintenance worker and supervisor of five or six employees,
including plaintiff, and John Mazurowski as working foreman in the
maintenance department of MVCC, and supervisor of building maintenance
workers and building maintenance helpers.
On January 6, 1995, plaintiff filed a complaint under MVCC's internal
grievance procedure alleging various incidents of racial discrimination.
Pursuant to MVCC internal policy, Jerome M. Brown, Dean of Human
Resources and affirmative action officer for MVCC, investigated the
grievance. The complaint alleged that defendants Scott, Mazurowski and
Darrow discriminated against him because of his race and religion. Dean
Brown's investigation of the complaint's issues included interviewing the
named parties and various other members of the MVCC staff. His report,
dated July 18, 1995, found that there existed sufficient evidence to
support the allegations of discrimination based upon race, but not upon
Plaintiff appealed this decision to the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee that
decided that enough evidence existed to support the allegations based
upon plaintiffs color, and recommended disciplinary action be taken
against defendants Scott, Mazurowski and Darrow. A further appeal took
place on August 7-8, 1996 where thirteen witnesses including plaintiff and
the three individual defendants testified. Hearing Officer Dr. Linda M.
Spink reported that there was evidence of some level of harassment, but
concluded that it was unclear whether it related to plaintiffs race or
light-duty status. The report agreed that disciplinary action be taken
against the three individual defendants as recommended in the Ad Hoc
The MVCC internal discrimination grievance procedure considered
assorted incidents of alleged discrimination by defendants which took
place before the filing of his January 6, 1995 complaint. The grievances
purported a derogatory raciest comment was made by defendant Scott shortly
after plaintiff was hired; discrimination in when and where work breaks
were allowed; letters of commendation that were withheld from plaintiff;
excessive surveillance of plaintiff in the workplace; harassment by
assigning heavy-duty chores to plaintiff when his physical disability
required light-duty chores; supervisors frequently re-assigning plaintiff
to other buildings; and encouragement by supervisors to other staff to
file complaints about plaintiff with MVCC Vice President Jerry Alverman.
On August 13, 1996 plaintiff filed a complaint against MVCC with the
New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR"). MVCC filed a response
to the complaint detailing the course of MVCC's internal grievance
procedure and how plaintiffs various claims of racial discrimination were
addressed following plaintiffs complaint of January 6, 1995. Plaintiffs
NYSDHR complaint referred to one additional allegation of
harassment-discrimination complaint which took place on January 30,
1996. This latter incident was not covered in the MVCC reply.
According to plaintiff, the January 30, 1996 alleged discrimination
occurred when he was participating in a task involving the removal of
furniture from a room in the Academic Building to permit the carpets to
be shampooed, during which plaintiff was injured. Following plaintiffs
injury on January 30, 1996, he stayed unemployed on workers' compensation
leave until December 1996. Soon thereafter he was certified by the New
York Education Department/VESID as disabled under Civil Service Law
§ 55-a due to his physical restrictions.
There were no adverse employment actions such as demotions, salary
reductions, warnings, reprimands or suspensions taken by MVCC against
plaintiff. In April 1997, plaintiff was promoted from Building Maintenance
Helper to Senior Clerk, a position requiring principally desk work.
On September 29, 1998, the NYSDHR issued its "DETERMINATION AND ORDER
AFTER INVESTIGATION," in which it found that there was "NO PROBABLE
CAUSE" to support a charge of unlawful discrimination. On October 22,
1998, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") adopted the
finding of the NYSDHR, closed its file on plaintiffs charge and issued a
right to sue notice.
Plaintiff instituted the instant action in federal court by filing a
summons and complaint on January 6, 1999. The complaint alleges
violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended),
42 U.S.C. § 2000-e, et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and § 1983, and
the New York Human Rights Law (§ 296 Executive Law). The plaintiff
seeks monetary and punitive damages as well as costs and attorneys'
Currently before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment
dismissing the complaint pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. ...