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WILLIAMS v. CITY OF NEW YORK

April 12, 2005.

RICHARD C. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANDREW PECK, Magistrate Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Richard C. Williams brings this pro se Title VII and ADEA action against the City of New York claiming unequal terms and conditions of his employment, termination due to gender, race, and age discrimination, and retaliation. (Dkt. No. 2: Compl. ¶¶ 4, 7.) The parties have consented to disposition of this action by a Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. No. 18.) Presently before the Court is defendant's summary judgment motion. For the reasons stated below, the motion (Dkt. No. 28) is GRANTED.

FACTS

  Richard Williams was hired by the New York Police Department ("NYPD") in May 2001 as a School Safety Agent Level I. (See Dkt. No. 29: City SJ Br. at 2; Dkt. No. 30: Winefsky Aff. Exs. B, C; Dkt. No. 30: Kam Aff. ¶ 4.) Williams attended the Training Academy until August 2001 when he was assigned to the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in New York City. (Kam Aff. ¶ 4; Winefsky Aff. Exs. B, C.) His immediate supervisor was Rosalyn Burns, a School Safety Agent Level III. (Dkt. No. 30: Burns Aff. ¶¶ 1-2; Kam Aff. ¶ 3.) Burns supervised a total of nine employees including Williams, five females and four males. (Burns Aff. ¶ 2; Kam Aff. ¶ 3.)

  Williams complains that Ms. Burns gave him two poor performance evaluations and that she did not treat similarly situated female employees in the same way. (Winefsky Aff. Ex. G: Williams NYCCHR Compl. ¶ 5.) Williams asserts that Ms. Burns screamed at him in front of students and that she called him "out of . . . name like boy instead of calling [him] by Agent Williams." (Compl. Attached Handwritten pages; Dkt. No. 37: Williams SJ Opp. Ex. D: 11/23/04 Letter from Teacher Patricia Crespino: "I witnessed Sgt. Burns refer to Officer Williams as a `boy' by saying `Boy, where is your radio.'")

  At the training academy, Williams received five demerits resulting in two Command Disciplines for which he as found guilty as charged. (Kam Aff. ¶ 5; Winefsky Aff. Ex. A.) Williams asserts that the demerits were "baseless and ungrounded." (Williams SJ Opp. at 1.) Williams received a "Below Standards" formal written evaluation from Burns for the May-September 2001 period. (Kam Aff. ¶ 6; Winefsky Aff. Ex. B.) Of the nine male and female school safety agents supervised by Burns, only Williams received a "`Below Standards' evaluation." (Kam Aff. ¶¶ 6, 11.) Williams was investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau for "fraternization with students," although the charges were found to be unsubstantiated. (Williams SJ Opp. Att.: IAB Reports; Winefsky Aff. Exs. C, H.)

  While Burns submitted her evaluation of Williams, she did not make a recommendation as to whether his employment should be terminated or continued. (Burns Aff. ¶ 5.) Stephen Kam recommended Williams' termination, "based on his disciplinary history." (Kam Aff. ¶ 7.) Executive Officer Samuel Willis reviewed and concurred in Kam's recommendation. (Kam Aff. ¶ 8; Winefsky Aff. Ex. C: 10/23/01 Willis Memo.) That was endorsed by Administrative School Safety Manager Gary Armstead. (Kam Aff. ¶ 9; Winefsky Aff. Ex. D.) Williams was terminated effective December 5, 2001. (Kam Aff. ¶ 10; Winefsky Aff. Ex. E: 12/5/01 Termination Letter.) He was still a probationary employee at the time. (Id.)

  On March 26, 2002, Williams filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights ("NYCCHR"). (Winefsky Aff. Ex. G; see also id. Ex. H.) Williams' complaint, under the City Human Rights Law and Title VII, asserted only claims for gender/sex discrimination. (Id.) The Commission "determined that there is no probable cause to believe that the respondents engaged in the unlawful discriminatory practices alleged." (Winefsky Aff. Ex. H at 1.) The NYCCHR found:
In order to remain a school safety officer, [Williams] was required to receive a rating of "meets standards" on his performance evaluation form during his one-year probationary period. [Williams] was evaluated by respondent and was found to fall "below standard" in several categories. . . .
[Williams] fails to point to any incidents or fact or otherwise that would tend to support a conclusion that his termination was the result of his gender and not the result of his "below standard" performance. . . . There is no evidence of preferential treatment toward similarly situated female school safety officers or unfair treatment to similarly situated male officers.
(Winefsky Aff. Ex. H: NYCCHR Decision at 2.)

  The EEOC adopted the NYCCHR's findings. (Winefsky Aff. Ex. J: EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights.)

  Williams' timely-filed pro se complaint in this Court asserts claims under Title VII and the ADEA based on race, gender/sex and age, and retaliation. (Dkt. No. 2: Compl. page 1 & ¶¶ 4, 7.) At his deposition, Williams explained that as to age, he was older (44) than the other employees, and as a result he had children and needed to work overtime, and other agents (not Burns) made fun of his age. (Winefsky Aff. Ex. I: Williams Dep. at 87-91.) As to his claim of race discrimination, when asked his basis for that claim, he responded: "I don't have any answer." (Williams Dep. at 91.) His basis for his retaliation claim is that when he found a gun on a student, he should have been congratulated but he was not, and instead was fired. (Williams Dep. at 97: "I think they retaliated against me for the findings of the gun, that's what I think.")

  Most telling is Williams' summary judgment opposition filing, where he stated:
Please note that for some reason unknown to me, Sergeant Burns, my immediate supervisor, has taken an irrational dislike to me, and that the problems have stemmed from that.
(Williams SJ Opp. at 2; see also Compl. Att.: Williams handwritten statement that as to Burns, it "seems like we had some kind of communication problem.")

  ANALYSIS

  I. LEGAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING DISCRIMINATION CASES*fn1 A. Summary Judgment Standards in Employment Discrimination Cases

  Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2509-10 (1986); Weinstock v. ...


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