United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge
Carol Melton, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, brings this action under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the
New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”),
alleging defendants Poughkeepsie City School District (the
“District”) and ASFCME Local 3209 (the
“Union”) discriminated against her on the basis
the Court is the District's motion to dismiss the amended
complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #17).
reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART. In addition, the Court sua sponte
dismisses the Union as a defendant.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts
all factual allegations of the amended complaint as true, and
draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.
who identifies as “Black or African American” and
“Asian, ” began working for the District as a
teaching assistant in September 1999, and continues to hold
that position to date. (Am. Compl. at 8).I. 2015-2016
School Year Plaintiff alleges on September 1, 2015, she
was “involuntarily transferred” instead of
less-senior “non-Black” employees. (Am. Compl. at
14). In addition, on September 14, 2015, the District
transferred plaintiff in an “emergency” to a
“mandated class room” at a different school,
rather than transfer a “non-Black” employee with
less seniority. (Id.).
further alleges between September 15 and December 23, 2015, a
“classroom teacher . . . treated non-Black employees
(and students) in the classroom different than [plaintiff]
and other Black employees in the same classroom, ”
including by speaking to black employees in “a very
disrespectful manner.” (Am. Compl. at 14). The
classroom teacher “[s]ubsequently . . . had [plaintiff]
transferred from the classroom.” (Id.).
October 14, 2015, the District “took away
[plaintiff's] paid (approximately $12, 000 in pay)
2015-2016 school year extra assignment position . . . and
gave it to a non-Black person which was out of seniority and
violated past practice.” (Am. Compl. at 14).
December 23, 2015, the school principal, Nadine Dargan, met
plaintiff in her classroom “to remove [plaintiff's]
personal items and belongings in the middle of the day in
front of other co-workers and students, which was
embarrassing and mortifying, ” and leaving plaintiff
“in limbo without an assigned class” just before
the winter break. (Am. Compl. at 15).
December 31, 2015, plaintiff completed an Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission Intake Questionnaire (“EEOC
charge”). (See Am. Compl. at 8-11).
Plaintiff's EEOC charge contains two allegations:
1. “Moving [plaintiff] and other Black employees to
certain Mandated classes while not moving Caucasian employees
to those classes even thou [sic] they state that all
employees in our position is [sic] suppose [sic] to be in
those said classes.”
2. “Treating Caucasian employees (and Students) in the
classroom different than [plaintiff] and other Black
employees in the same classroom. Talking to Black employees
in a very disrespectful manner while always being polite to
the Caucasian employees in similar situations. Having
[plaintiff] removed from the classroom.”
(Id. at 9).
April 28, 2016, plaintiff “received an inappropriate
memo from [Ms. Dargan] regarding [plaintiff's]
husband.” (Am. Compl. at 15). On April 29, 2016, Ms.
Dargan asked plaintiff to cover another class. After that
class, plaintiff met with Ms. Dargan “upon the Deputy
Superintendent, Dr. Ronel Cook's directive.”
(Id. at 15). Ms. Dargan then “proceeded to
have an inappropriate meeting regarding [plaintiff's]
17, 2016, the school assistant principal, Nicole Penn, asked
plaintiff to cover another class. Plaintiff “politely
declined as per [her] rights in the contract, ” which
was “the first time that [plaintiff] declined to do an
extra assignment.” (Am. Compl. 16). Later that day, Ms.
Dargan directed plaintiff both orally and in writing to cover
the class, even though “it was clearly understood that
another teacher assistant with less seniority, did not have
to cover a class.” (Id.).
18, 2016, plaintiff received a letter from Ms. Dargan
directing plaintiff to meet with her the next day and to
bring a union representative to the meeting.
during the May 19, 2016, meeting were plaintiff, Dr. Cook,
Ms. Penn, Ms. Dargan, and plaintiff's union
representative. Only after the meeting was convened did
plaintiff and her union representative learn it was a
disciplinary meeting. Plaintiff added in her opposition to
defendants' motion that she had never been the subject of
a disciplinary hearing in her previous seventeen years of
employment with the District. (Opp'n at pp. 45-46).
found Dr. Cook's presence and behavior at this
meeting-including the fact that he “slammed his fist on
the table” at one point during the meeting-to be very
distressing. (Am. Compl. at 16). She alleges she
“became very ill, ” that her “blood
pressure . . . shot up very high, ” and that each
time she “thought or spoke about what transpired . . .
[she] would have a relapse.” (Id.). Plaintiff
called in sick on May 20, 23-27, and 31, 2016.
plaintiff returned to work in early June, there was an
incident in which she felt Ms. Dargan had accused her of
steeling school laptops. (See Am. Compl. at 17).
alleges in June 2016, “[t]he District, based on the
actions of [Dr. Cook], in collusion with [plaintiff's]
union, deducted 3½ days of pay” from her June
24, 2016, paycheck. (Am. Compl. at 17). The District
allegedly refused to explain why plaintiff's pay was
deducted for one of those days.
30, 2016, Dr. Cook wrote in an email he was “not
interested” in participating in a meeting with
plaintiff because there was “a current complaint
against [him] and the District.” (Am. Compl. at 15).
However, plaintiff alleges Dr. Cook nevertheless
“continuously inserted himself into [plaintiff's]
daily work activities.” (Id. at 18).
1, 2016, the District and Dr. Cook “hired union
employees to fill summer extra assignment positions out of
order of seniority and/or job title, ” and did not
offer plaintiff one of these positions. (Am. Compl. at 18).
II. 2016-2017 School Year Plaintiff alleges on
October 25, 2016, she “was out on a sick day, ”
but Dr. Cook “surveilled [her] in one school building
and hours later followed [her] to another school
building” and “confronted” her. (Am. Compl.
at 18). She alleges Dr. Cook told her she was required to
attend a meeting the next day.
the meeting on October 26, 2016, according to plaintiff, Dr.
Cook “colluded” with the president of the Union
and made inappropriate statements about union affairs. (Am.
Compl. at 18). Plaintiff alleges she again only learned at
the end of the meeting that it had been a disciplinary
meeting. Dr. Cook allegedly wanted plaintiff to sign certain
paperwork that “would have been detrimental to
[plaintiff's] union membership.” (Id. at
October 27, 2016, plaintiff participated in “union
nominations & election.” (Am. Comp. 19). She
alleges Dr. Cook “stalked” and “proceeded
to harass” plaintiff and her husband. (Id.).
Dr. Cook later “ejected” plaintiff's husband
from the school. (Id.).
alleges on February 1, 2017, she participated in another
disciplinary meeting with Ms. Dargan, at which Ms. Dargan
mentioned plaintiff's EEOC case. III. Right to Sue
Letter On November 1, 2016, plaintiff received a Notice
of Right to Sue from the EEOC dated October 26, ...