United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. COGAN U.S.D.J.
currently a Maintenance Assistant for the Long Island
Revitalization (“Revite”) Program, which, among
other things, provides maintenance services to the New York
State Office of Mental Health (“OMH”), has
brought claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (“Title
VII”), and the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y.
Exec. Law §§ 290-301 (“NYSHRL”),
against OMH, Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
(“Creedmoor”) supervisor Althea Jackson, and
Creedmoor supervisor Harry James Hall. Plaintiff's causes
of action include allegations of discrimination, a hostile
work environment, and retaliation based on his religion as a
Born Again Christian, and for filing a complaint with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Defendants have moved for summary judgment as to all claims,
and for the reasons stated below, I grant defendants'
following undisputed facts are from the parties' Local
Rule 56.1 Statements, construed most favorably to plaintiff.
first employment with OMH began in February 2011 as a laborer
in the Long Island Revite Program. The Revite Program hires
teams of laborers, maintenance assistants, and general
mechanics that travel throughout New York State to assist OMH
psychiatric centers with maintenance tasks, which are
necessary to OMH's ability to maintain its accreditation.
Revite Program teams service each hospital every six months
for two- to three-week periods at a time. The Long Island
Revite Team services certain psychiatric hospitals, including
Creedmoor. Plaintiff worked at Creedmoor several times in his
capacity as a laborer on the Long Island Revite Team.
in 2014, Creedmoor had an open position in which it would
directly employ a cleaner at its facility. (Apparently, OMH
both uses Revite and has its own employees to do
maintenance.) Garland Ward, a supervisor at Creedmoor,
notified plaintiff about the open position and recommended
plaintiff to the Creedmoor housekeeping department and Jim
Hall, who oversees all personnel in cleaning services.
Subsequent to his applying for the position, plaintiff
received an offer for full-time employment at Creedmoor as a
cleaner, as did Steve Miles, a fellow Revite Team co-worker.
began as a probationary employee on August 7, 2014. As a
probationary employee, plaintiff knew that he could be
terminated if he did not do his job correctly or if there
were staff complaints about his work. As a cleaner,
plaintiff's cleaning responsibilities included stripping
and polishing floors, window washing, vacuuming, trash
removal, dusting and cleaning walls, common areas, hospital
rooms, and bathrooms. The cleaning assignments ranged between
light, medium, and heavy physical effort. Plaintiff's
direct supervisors at Creedmoor were Derrick Mullings and
Garland Ward, who were, in turn, supervised by defendants
Althea Jackson and Harry James Hall. Mullings and Ward inspected
plaintiff's ward on at least a daily basis.
defendant Hall, his title is Chief Housekeeper 2 and his
responsibilities include oversight over all personnel in the
Support Services department, which itself includes
housekeeping supervisors and cleaners. Hall also oversees
Jackson, who is currently Chief Housekeeper 1 and the
part-time Employment Assistance Program Coordinator. Mullings
is a Supervising Housekeeper and is responsible for
overseeing housekeepers and cleaners, including newly hired
cleaners during their one-year probationary periods. Mullings
trained plaintiff during his first two weeks at Creedmoor.
was initially assigned to clean Ward 6B. He performed
satisfactorily during his first probationary period, which
began in August 2014 when he started, going through November
2014. The second probationary period, which went from
December 2014 to February 2015, also yielded a satisfactory
evaluation, but plaintiff was warned during this period that
he needed to increase the volume of his work by working more
quickly, complete all of his assignments, and clean the ward
as he was trained to do. Toward the end of March, Mullings
asked Jackson to observe plaintiff's performance, and
Jackson reported the following: the ward smelled; the
corridor and bedroom floors were not swept or mopped and
needed buffing; the bathrooms were not cleaned, and there
were feces on the toilet seats, on the wall, and under the
toilet paper dispensers; and the shower needed scrubbing and
mildew removed. Plaintiff disputes that this was the case;
instead, he states that Jackson was over-scrutinizing his
event, plaintiff's supervisors transferred plaintiff to
Ward 6A. In mid-April, Jackson again observed that plaintiff
was not performing his duties, this time in Ward 6A, and that
his work had not improved. Hall had one or two conversations
with plaintiff's direct supervisors about whether or not
plaintiff should pass probation. In early May, Hall, Jackson,
Mullings, and Ward met to discuss whether to recommend
terminating plaintiff. They decided that, because plaintiff
was still working too slowly and not cleaning thoroughly even
after his transfer to Ward 6A, they would terminate him.
Shortly thereafter, plaintiff received his third and final
probationary report, which was unsatisfactory. Plaintiff was
terminated that same day.
day following his termination, plaintiff applied for a
position with his former employer, the OMH Long Island Revite
Program. At the end of May, plaintiff was rehired as a
Maintenance Assistant, G-9, for the Long Island Revite Team,
under the supervision of Barbara Daros and Pierre Yacinthe.
29, 2015, plaintiff filed a complaint with the EEOC against
Creedmoor. Plaintiff alleged religious discrimination and
hostile work environment on the basis of his faith as a Born
Again Christian. Plaintiff had told several people at
Creedmoor about his beliefs, including one brief conversation
with Hall where he told Hall that he worked to please God and
Hall said he did not want to hear about that, and another
conversation with Jackson. In that conversation, Jackson told
plaintiff that she is a pastor and he replied that he is a
minister. Plaintiff also advised Jackson in that conversation
that he believes that everyone who follows the gospel is a
minister. Plaintiff believes, based on her facial expression,
that Jackson disagreed with him.
and Jackson had another conversation about religion after
plaintiff, citing his religious beliefs, declined to
contribute to a collection for an employee whose father had
died. In response to plaintiff's declination, Jackson
shared with him a portion of scripture that dealt with
giving, and during a conversation about that scripture
passage, Jackson and plaintiff discussed the meaning of the
was the last conversation plaintiff had with Jackson about
religion. Plaintiff never told anyone about either
conversation he had with Jackson. However, it was after these
two conversations that (1) Jackson began to heavily
scrutinize his work and (2) Mullings, Hall, and Jackson
inspected his ward more frequently.
would visit plaintiff's ward on the weekends, even though
those were Hall's days off. After the conversations with
Jackson, an individual, Gordon, who previously assisted
plaintiff with moving the beds, no longer assisted plaintiff
with that task. In March 2015, Mullings stopped spraying the
bathroom every week, an act that had facilitated
plaintiff's ability to clean the bathrooms. Plaintiff
attempted to complain about Mullings to Jackson and Hall, but
both dismissed him out of hand.
EEOC complaint and in the present action, plaintiff alleges
religious animus based on comments by his direct supervisor
Ward, namely, Ward's handful of references to plaintiff
as “Rev, ” short for “Reverend.”
Plaintiff never complained or said anything to anyone about
Ward calling him “Rev, ” nor did he ever complain
to anyone at Creedmoor about religious discrimination.
Furthermore, plaintiff testified that he did not know what
Ward intended when he called plaintiff “Rev.”
timing is unclear, but plaintiff also claims that Miles, the
fellow Revite Team employee who was also hired by Creedmoor,
and who was not a Born Again Christian, was treated
differently than plaintiff; Miles would show up late or not
at all on several occasions and would sometimes show up to
work drunk, but was never terminated.
his termination from Creedmoor, plaintiff returned to work at
Creedmoor as a member of the Revite Team in mid-July 2015,
working there in July and August 2015. Prior to
plaintiff's tour of duty at Creedmoor as part of Revite,
a routine pre-assessment meeting was held, and present were
Yacinthe and Daros from Revite and Hall, among others, from
Creedmoor. Hall was aware that plaintiff was once again
working for Revite and suggested that plaintiff work on the
painting side of the team, so that there would be no direct
contact between plaintiff and Hall or the other supervisors
involved in his termination. Yacinthe and Daros said they
would consider Hall's suggestion, but they did not think
there was anything they could do about plaintiff's
was no change in plaintiff's position, location, or
supervisory responsibilities. Plaintiff was able to enter
Creedmoor when he returned as part of the Revite Team.
Plaintiff would again return to Creedmoor with the Revite
Team in February 2016. Although neither Hall nor Jackson
controlled or supervised plaintiff's work for Revite
during his tours at ...