The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickerson, District Judge.
Plaintiff Angelo Grillo a white male of Italian origin brought
this action against the City of New York, The New York City
Transit Authority (the Transit Authority) and various officers
and employees of the Transit Authority, alleging, among other
things, that they improperly demoted him from his probationary
job due to racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 1981, 1983, 1985, and New York
State and New York City legislation and law.
Plaintiff Grillo served three complaints. The first made eleven
claims. The next, styled "First Amended Complaint," made twelve
claims. The third, styled "Second Amended Complaint," made
fifteen claims. The Second Amended Complaint realleges all of the
allegations previously made, and each of the fifteen claims
purports to reallege all the statements in all the previously
alleged claims. The addendum clause asks for five million dollars
in damages, plus full back pay, front pay, and reimbursement for
various allegedly lost benefits.
The defendants have moved for summary judgement dismissing the
Second Amended Complaint. The papers submitted for and against
the motion show, in substance, the following.
In 1996, Grillo, who had been employed for some years by the
Transit Authority, held a Civil Service permanent job of light
maintainer, a position involving the rehabilitation of lighting
fixtures and wiring in stations and tunnels. In December of that
year the Transit Authority promoted him on a one-year
probationary basis to the position of a Supervisor of Lighting
Maintenance. Grillo's successful completion of the one year
probationary period would
have enabled him to hold the permanent title as a supervisor.
On June 30, 1997, Peter Ingoglia, the Manager of the office of
Labor Relations of the Transit Authority, after an investigation,
demoted Grillo back to his former civil service title, light
Ingoglia said he made the decision to demote for several
reasons. Grillo had engaged in what Ingolia found to be improper
conduct in a training course. In addition, Ingoglia had received
from Grillo's supervisors a poor performance evaluation because
of Grillo's repeated failure to perform his job adequately.
The training course was called the Supervisory Training Core
Curriculum, a course for new supervisors. The course began June
16, 1997 and was scheduled to run for two weeks for about seven
hours a day. The instructors were defendants Nora Bassett (a
Black), Bonnie Lee (a Black), and Elizabeth Soto (an Hispanic).
According to the course design, the three instructors were to
present the material on an alternating basis, either individually
or in a team.
About twenty-seven supervisors from various operating divisions
of the Transit Authority attended the program. Of the
twenty-seven, eleven, were white males and some of those eleven
were apparently of Italian heritage. One of the eleven was
During the first week of the class the instructors observed
Grillo to be disruptive and disrespectful towards the class, the
other participants, and the material. According to the
instructors, Grillo refused to comply with directions during
class such as periodically moving to an assigned seat during
group exercises. He continuously made jokes during the discussion
by the instructors, and constantly asked to go on breaks and to
go home at inappropriate times. He also made sexist remarks,
referring to the material as "woman's stuff," and stating "women
should expect to be grabbed and pulled on, walking around dressed
like these women, in this building." He frequently interrupted
other participants when they spoke without allowing them to
complete their thoughts.
On June 20, 1994, three visitors were asked to attend the
class. They were Lawrence Miller, the Director of the Transit
Authority's Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Jimmy Wilson,
the Assistant General Manager of Operations Support for the
Department of Buses, and Jack Dempsey, the Transit Authority's
Assistant Vice President of Training.
While Miller was speaking, Grillo made remarks and broke into
loud laughter. After Miller and Dempsey had spoken and were
leaving, Grillo bolted from his seat, brushed by Instructor Lee,
disrupting her presentation, and yelled to Miller, "Hey you, I
want to ask you something," and followed Miller and Dempsey out
into the hallway.
Instructors Bassett and Lee then talked to the class about the
lack of respect and attention given to visitors during their
remarks to the class and the level of behavior expected of a
supervisor. The instructors then dismissed the class for the
During the break Wilson approached Bassett and Lee with his
supervisor Patricia O'Brien, Vice President of the Department of
Buses, whom he had informed as to Grillo's behavior. O'Brien told
Bassett to call Gene Cooper, the Assistant Chief Officer of the
Department of Infrastructure, and inform him of what had
happened. Cooper then told Grillo and the instructors that Grillo
was being removed from the class.
Grillo's statement contained no mention that he regarded
himself as having been discriminated against in any way, let
alone on the grounds of "race" or "gender," or "national origin."
On June 23, 1997 Ingoglia, having received Grillo's statement
and a statement from the three instructors, spoke with defendant
Richard Wachenheim, the Transit Authority's Chief of
Infrastructure Office. Ingoglia told Wachenheim, that, while he
believed Grillo's behavior warranted demotion, he had decided to
request a work performance evaluation from Karl Miller, who was
Grillo's supervisor and in December 1996 had approved Grillo's
promotion to the probationary position of a supervisor.
Ingoglia made the request of Karl Miller, who was the Project
Superintendent in Station Rehabilitation when Grillo was
appointed in December 1996 and assigned to the Church Avenue
Station Rehabilitation project. Karl Miller's evaluation included
the following. In January 1997 Miller sent to Grillo written
instructions to provide a list of the existing circuit breakers
contained in the electrical panels at Church Avenue. During a
subsequent field visit to Grillo's station Miller found ...