The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERIC BLOCK, District Judge
In this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, plaintiff, Sylvia Reyes
("Reyes"), proceeding pro se, claims that she was
constructively discharged from her position as a medical resident
at North Shore University Hospital because she is
Filipino.*fn1 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56, North Shore moves for summary judgment on the grounds (1)
that Reyes has failed to make out a prima facie case, and (2)
that she has failed to establish that North Shore's
non-discriminatory reasons for its actions were pretextual. For the following
reasons, the Court grants the motion.
Born in the Phillippines, Reyes immigrated to the United States
with her family in 1984 and later became a U.S. citizen. Between
1996 and 1999, she completed a three-year residency in general
psychiatry at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center ("Bronx-Lebanon"). As
that residency was nearing its completion, she applied for a
position as a first-year resident in North Shore's child and
adolescent psychiatry ("CAP") program. Four doctors from Bronx-Lebanon
wrote favorable letters recommending her for the position.
Reyes was interviewed by Dr. Victor Fornari ("Fornari") and two
other doctors; Fornari, who is the director of the CAP program,
was aware of Reyes' Filipino heritage when he interviewed her.
Fornari offered positions to Reyes and two others: Dr. Gianlucca
LaMonaca ("LaMonaca") and Dr. Ameer Dahar ("Dahar"); all three accepted.
Reyes began work at North Shore on July 1, 1999. On her first
day, she arrived two hours late for orientation. Dr. LaMonaca did
not attend orientation because he was on vacation in Italy; Dr. Dahar did not attend because he
was not scheduled to begin his residency until the following
Doctors at North Shore were assigned to supervise the
residents' training. Reyes' supervisors were Dr. Shirley Papilsky
("Papilsky"), Dr. Beverly Goodman ("Goodman"), Dr. Allan Stempler
("Stempler") and Dr. Paulina Loo ("Loo"); other doctors also
oversaw her work. Fornari had overall responsibility for the
During the first three months of her residency, Reyes'
supervisors voiced concerns about her time-management skills,
participation in class and clinical performance. On September 27,
1999, after meeting with her supervisors, Fornari sent Reyes a
memorandum listing the concerns:
1. Supervisors reported that you had missed
supervision with significant frequency, often without
2. That despite supervision, a number of supervisors
reported that you did not follow the recommendations
of the supervision regarding your clinical work.
3. It was reported that while completing an emergency
evaluation in the North Shore Emergency Room with an
attending, that you left before the evaluation was
completed in order to catch your bus home.
4. One supervisor reported that while you were
evaluating a case with him, you made a phone call as
if you weren't in the process of a consultation.
5. A general concern regarding your clinical style,
including poor eye contact and giggling.
6. A serious concern regarding the way you handled
the case of an adolescent girl who was contemplating
termination of pregnancy.
Fornari Aff., Ex. 2. Based on these concerns, North Shore placed Reyes on academic
probation for three months. Fornari's September 27 memorandum set
out the terms of the probation:
1. You will meet with me on a weekly basis to review
2. You will discuss your progress with each of your
supervisors on a weekly basis.
3. You will attend supervision, as well as your
classes in an organized and regular fashion. If for
some reason you need to miss a class or a
supervision, you are to inform me as well as the
4. The purpose of this corrective active plan is [to]
help you function and to evaluate your continued
participation in this training program.
Reyes' supervisors continued to report problems with her
performance to Fornari. On October 1, 1999, Reyes missed a
scheduled supervision with Papilsky; Reyes told Fornari that she
forgot about the supervision because she had trouble with time
On October 21, 1999, Loo reported that Reyes' handling of one
of her cases had resulted in an irate call from the patient's
grandmother; Loo scheduled a supervision to discuss the case, but
Reyes failed to show up. According to Loo,
[Reyes] is often late or forgets about supervision.
When she comes to supervision she often does not know
whether she is to discuss evaluations, psychopharm,
family crisis cases.
I have tried to help her organize her thoughts, and
even tell her specifically what to do in her meetings
with patients, but she seem to have tremendous
difficulty obtaining information for diagnosis.
Fornari Aff., Ex. 3.
On October 24, 1999, Goodman reported that Reyes had missed supervisions without canceling, and that she often failed to return phone calls and
pages. Regarding Reyes' performance, Goodman made the following points:
In supervision, she is unfocused, does not seem to
grasp concepts and introduces irrelevant and
She cannot follow a line of thought, process it nor
carry it out to a logical conclusion.
[T]he process of supervision does not seem to be
effective in ameliorating her deficits, given her
lack of capacity to appropriately absorb and process
the supervision and give relevant feedback.
She has many silly, giddy, inappropriate mannerisms
which are quite disconcerting.
She appears to have a significant cognitive
processing impairment which interferes with her
learning capabilities and, of course, her performance
as a child psychiatrist/therapist.
[She] lacks the usual expected competency of a
first year Child Psych[iatry] Fellow.
Fornari Aff., Ex. 4. Goodman later informed Fornari that Reyes
had failed to prepare reports on five patient consultations that
had taken place in August, September and October, 1999.
Based on these reports, Fornari decided to limit Reyes'
workload by placing a temporary moratorium on new intake
evaluations assigned to her; the problems nevertheless persisted.
On November 18, 1999, Goodman reported that she had received more
complaints regarding Reyes "than I have sum total in all the year
of supervising." Fornari Aff., Ex. 5.
Negative reports of Reyes' performance were not limited to her
supervisors. On December 10, 1999, a psychology extern wrote to
express her "difficulty and frustration in working with [Reyes] on a case that [she] referred for a
psychiatric evaluation." Fornari Aff., Ex. 5. In addition, the
Coordinator of Children's Services for the Mental Health
Association of Nassau County an organization that frequently
referred clients to North Shore wrote Fornari to complain that
Reyes had not come to work on the day of a scheduled appointment.
Fornari Aff., Ex. 6. When Fornari asked Reyes why she missed the