The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMAHON, District Judge.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Marli Freitas sues Defendants Gypsum Floors of New
York, Inc. and Richard W. Phillips for violations of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, and New York
State Human Rights Law § 296 et. seq. Plaintiff claims that
she was subject to intentional discrimination and disparate
treatment because of her national origin, and also that she was
subjected to a hostile work environment. Plaintiff further
claims that she suffered retaliation for opposing the alleged
discrimination. Defendants deny these claims, and now move for
summary judgment dismissing the complaint in its entirety,
claiming that there is no triable material issue of fact and
that as such they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is denied.
FACTS PERTINENT TO THE MOTION
Defendant Gypsum Floors of New York, Inc. ("Gypsum") is a
specialty concrete contractor in Westchester County, New York.
Defendant Richard W. Phillips is the President of Gypsum.*fn1
Plaintiff Marli Freitas was hired on February 8, 1999, to
perform "typical receptionist and administrative-type duties."
S. Phillips Dep. at 19. Ms. Freitas is a Hispanic-American of
Brazilian national origin. Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 6.
Ms. Freitas claims that she was most consistently harassed
regarding her duties related to answering the phones and making
phone calls for Gypsum. See id. at 3033. For example, Ms.
Freitas claims that although Stephen Phillips told her that "the
clients are very, very happy" with her polite phone manners, he
told her that she was "not too Americanized," and that she had
"to Americanize a little bit." Id. at 33. According to Ms.
Freitas, she received two or three similar comments regarding
her work being "too European" and in need of Americanization.
Id. at 31-35. Furthermore, Ms. Freitas claims that she was
often chastised when she relayed phone messages to Stephen
Phillips, simply because he could not understand her accented
English. Id. at 31-32.
Ms. Freitas also claims that she was singled out to carry
boxes, clean toilets, and perform other menial tasks. Id. at
35-39. Although she was never told that she was to perform these
tasks simply because she was Brazilian, Ms. Freitas notes that
she was told to perform the duties "in a way that nobody [else
at Gypsum]" was being told to do their duties. Id. at 37-38.
She also notes that Eric Johnson and Stephen Phillips would "eat
on [her] desk where [she] work[s]," even though there was a
lunchroom elsewhere in the office. Id. at 38-39.
In addition to the claim that she was subjected to a hostile
work environment, Ms. Freitas claims that the acts described
above, along with other incidents (described below) amounted to
intentional discrimination and disparate treatment on the basis
of her Brazilian national origin. In addition to those claims,
Ms. Freitas also brings claims of retaliation for opposing
illegal discrimination at Gypsum.
The retaliation claim arises from a series of exchanges with
Richard Phillips, during which he allegedly fired Ms. Freitas on
three separate occasions. According to Ms. Freitas, at one point
during her employment at Gypsum, Richard Phillips replaced her
with another office worker. Id. at 41-42. Her replacement,
Rose, only worked at Gypsum for a single day. Id. at 65. Ms.
Freitas claims that during that one day, Richard repeatedly
commented on how much happier he was now that Rose was
performing Ms. Freitas' duties, and that there were no more
problems in the office. Id. at 41-42. Ms. Freitas claims that
Rose earned $5,000 more than she did, despite Rose's only
responsibility being to answer the phones. Id. at 65-67. In
fact, according to Ms. Freitas, Rose only lasted one day because
"[she] didn't like the way they treat[ed Freitas]," and she
worried that they would treat her the same way. Id. at 66. Ms.
Freitas admits that she will "never forget" how Richard compared
her several months of work to Rose's single day. Id.
Ms. Freitas claims that in late August, Richard Phillips fired
her, but that that other Gypsum workers asked her to stay. See
Freitas Aff. ¶ 52-68. Nonetheless, she was told "don't worry, go
home." Id. at ¶ 68.
It is undisputed that Ms. Freitas subsequently sent two
letters to Gypsum, dated September 2, 1999 and 7, 1999,
respectively. See Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 4. See also
Freitas Aff. Exhs. D, E. In the September 2nd letter, addressed
to Stephen Phillips, Ms. Freitas writes, "[a]s per our last week
conversation, we agreed that from August 20 trough [sic]
September 3, I would take time off." Freitas Aff. Exh. D. In the
September 7th letter, also addressed to Stephen Phillips, Ms.
Freitas writes, "[a]s per Mr. Richard ...