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Cardin v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 23, 2018

RONALD CARDIN, Plaintiff,
v.
SECURITAS SECURITY SERVICES USA, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN G. KOELTL UNTIED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Ronald Cardin, an African American male appearing pro se, brought this action against his employer, Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. ("Securitas"), alleging claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII") for discrimination based on race, color, and gender/sex and for a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment. The plaintiff's claims all relate to an incident that occurred in the men's restroom at his work site on August 6, 2015 (the "Restroom Incident").

         The plaintiff filed a complaint over the Restroom Incident with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR") on September 10, 2015. The NYSDHR found no probable cause for the unlawful practices alleged, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), adopting the findings of the NYSDHR, issued the plaintiff a Right to Sue letter on May 13, 2016. The plaintiff filed suit in federal court on August 1, 2016, naming Securitas and two of the plaintiff's supervisors as defendants. On August 9, 2016, the plaintiff amended his complaint (the "Amended Complaint") to remove his supervisors as defendants, leaving only Securitas.

         Securitas now moves for summary judgment on all of the plaintiff s claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, Securitas's motion is granted.

         I.

         The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

         The plaintiff has been employed as a Security Officer by Securitas since November 2006. Statement of Undisputed Facts in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Statement of Facts") ¶ 1. Since 2011, the plaintiff has been stationed at the Met Life building, which is a client of Securitas. Id. ¶ 34. Securitas has a policy that prohibits Security Officers from using cell phones at work sites while on duty, including in the restroom. Id. ¶ 3. Even when off duty, Security Officers are only permitted to use cell phones at work sites in the locker room. Id.

         On August 6, 2015, the plaintiff entered a men's restroom at the Met Life building before his shift began. Id. ¶¶ 2, 4-5. As the plaintiff entered the restroom, Bill McGuire, Securitas's Account Manager at Met Life and one of the plaintiff's superiors, was exiting the restroom. Id. ¶ 5. The plaintiff entered one of the restroora's four stalls, noticing that another stall was occupied. Id. ¶¶ 4, 6-7. The plaintiff then heard a cell phone ring from the other occupied stall while McGuire was washing his hands. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. The plaintiff did not hear anybody speak. Id. ¶ 7. He then heard the restroom door close behind McGuire. Id. ¶ 9. Shortly after McGuire exited the restroom, Winston Torres, the plaintiff's supervisor, entered the restroom. Id. ¶ 11; see Am. Compl. at 3. Torres walked in front of the plaintiffs stall and looked through the crack where the door is secured. Id. Torres said, "Cardin, Bill McGuire say you on your phone. Are you on your phone?" Id. The plaintiff replied, "No, sir, " which he repeated. Id. ¶ 12. Torres asked the plaintiff who was in the other occupied stall, to which the plaintiff responded that he did not know. Id. 114. The plaintiff did not tell Torres that the plaintiff had heard a cell phone ring in an adjacent stall. Once Torres exited the restroom, and the plaintiff was washing his hands, the plaintiff saw another Security Officer, Floyd Patterson, exit the stall from which the plaintiff had heard the cell phone ring. Id. ¶ 20. So concluded the Restroom Incident.

         Torres later approached the plaintiff in the command center and handed the plaintiff a write-up for violating Securitas's cell phone policy. Id. ¶ 21. The plaintiff refused to sign the write-up and told Torres that he had not used his cell phone in the restroom. Id. ¶ 22. The plaintiff still did not tell Torres that he had heard a cell phone ring in the adjacent occupied stall, or that he had later seen Security Officer Patterson exit that stall. Id. ¶ 23. Upon the plaintiff's request, Torres escorted the plaintiff to McGuire's office. Id. ¶ 24; Am. Compl. at 8.

         In McGuire's office, the plaintiff again denied that he had used a cell phone in the restroom in violation of Securitas's policy. Id. ¶ 26. Approximately twenty minutes after the Restroom Incident, McGuire instructed Torres to tear up the write-up. Id. ¶¶ 26, 29. No. other disciplinary action was taken against the plaintiff with respect to the Restroom Incident. Id. ¶ 30. However, Torres received a write-up for looking into the plaintiff's stall. Id. ¶ 31.

         The plaintiff does not allege that Securitas has retaliated against him since the Restroom Incident --- he has not been demoted or transferred, nor have his hours been reduced, and his hourly compensation has increased after the incident. Id. ¶ 34. The plaintiff does not allege that Securitas has enforced its rules against him differently compared to his fellow employees, Id. ¶ 36, and the plaintiff is unaware of any supervisor who has ever been critical of his job performance, Tr. of Pl.'s Dep. ("Tr.") at 63:21-25.

         Finally, Securitas has a hotline, called Alertline, which employees can use to complain of suspected discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Id. ¶ 33. The plaintiff did not use Alertline to complain about the Restroom Incident. Id. However, the plaintiff asserts in his response to the defendant's motion for summary judgment that he complained to his union about the Restroom Incident. See Declaration of Ronald Cardin (Dkt. No. 40) ("Cardin Decl.") ¶ 2.

         II.

         The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. "The [C]ourt shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 22 (2d Cir. 2017).1Y[T]he trial court's task at the summary judgment motion stage of the litigation is carefully limited to discerning whether there are genuine issues of material fact to be tried, not to deciding them. Its duty, in short, is confined at ...


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