United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge.
Robert Salters (“plaintiff”) commenced this
action against Hewitt Young Electric, LLC (“Hewitt
Young” or “defendant”), seeking damages for
racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e
to e-17 (“Title VII”), Article 15 of the New York
State Executive Law, Human Rights Law § 290 et seq. (the
“NYSHRL”), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
(“§ 1981”). Specifically, plaintiff, who is
African American, claims that he was subjected to race
discrimination based on Hewitt Young's failure to hire
him based on his race, leading to plaintiff's termination
by Hewitt Young's subcontractor and a continued refusal
to employ him.
now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(a), arguing that (1) plaintiff has failed
to establish a prima facie case of discrimination;
(2) defendant had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for
not hiring plaintiff that were not pretextual; and (3)
plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case
of retaliation. Plaintiff opposes defendant's motion,
arguing that there are genuine issues of material fact that
necessitate a jury trial. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court finds that defendant has established its
entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, its
motion for summary judgment is granted.
following facts are taken from the respective statements of
fact, affidavits, and exhibits submitted by plaintiff and
is an African American electrician. He works as a journeyman
wireman and obtains work though his union, the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union #86
(“Local #86”). Local 86 refers plaintiff to
various jobs offered by contractors. Defendant engages in
industrial, commercial, and residential electrical work in
schools, retail spaces, restaurants, and offices, and
receives referrals from Local 86. The relationship between
Local 86 and defendant is governed by a collective bargaining
first worked for defendant in 2009. Plaintiff testified at
deposition that he was treated respectfully on this job and
was not teased because of his race. Plaintiff voluntarily
left this job due to a death in his family.
began working for defendant again on July 2, 2013. Plaintiff
worked on various projects between July 2, 2013 and September
27, 2013, including at Charlotte High School, School 17, SUNY
Geneseo, and the Batavia Casino. Plaintiff maintains that he
would not have been permitted to move from project to project
if his job performance had been lacking. Plaintiff testified
at deposition that he was treated respectfully throughout
this time period and was not disparaged based on his race.
his work at the Batavia Casino, plaintiff was involved in an
incident where a supervisor, Mark Spall, was injured in the
course of unloading a large toolbox from a truck. Mr. Spall
has submitted a sworn declaration in which he states that he
believed his injury was caused by plaintiff. Plaintiff
disputes this account, claiming that Mr. Spall did not report
the injury contemporaneously and that plaintiff would not
have been called back to the work site had he caused an
was laid off by defendant on September 27, 2013, and hired
again on October 1, 2013. Plaintiff worked three additional
days before being laid off again, due to completion of the
to defendant, Mr. Spall reported to Hewitt Young management
that plaintiff was a poor and inefficient worker, and Hewitt
Young therefore determined that it would not hire plaintiff
again. Under the collective bargaining agreement, defendant
has the right to reject any applicant for employment.
Plaintiff disputes defendant's characterization of his
work, and maintains that no one at Hewitt Young ever
complained about his work and that he would not have been
called back to the job at the Batavia Casino if his
workmanship had been poor.
December 2013, plaintiff received a referral to defendant
from Local 86 to work on the Rochester City School District
Modernization Project (the “RCSD Project”). He
reported to defendant's offices on December 6, 2013.
According to plaintiff, Gregory Young, the President of
Hewitt Young, came into the waiting room and told plaintiff
to leave and that he would not take plaintiff's referral.
Mr. Young maintains that plaintiff arrived late, was
disheveled, and appeared to be intoxicated, which plaintiff
disputes. The parties agree that Mr. Young never said
anything to plaintiff related to his race. In fact, plaintiff
testified at deposition that no one at Hewitt Young ever said
anything to him about his race.
December 23, 2013, after having rejected plaintiff's
referral, Hewitt Young hired Leonard Miller, an African
American electrician, to work on the RCSD project. Hewitt
Young added another African American ...