United States District Court, E.D. New York
FRANCOIS M. FLEURENTIN, Plaintiff,
NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORP. AND KINGS COUNTY HOSPITAL CENTER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DONNELLY, United States District Judge.
plaintiff brings this action against defendants New York City
Health and Hospitals Corp. ("H") and Kings County
Hospital Center ("KCHC") alleging that the
defendants failed to promote him and created a hostile work
environment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 el
seq. ("Title VII"), New York State Executive
Law § 296, and New York City Human Rights Law §
8-107. (ECF No. 25.) The defendants move to dismiss the
complaint as untimely under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 and for
failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 26.) For the reasons that
follow, the defendants' motion to dismiss is granted.
following facts are drawn from the plaintiffs amended
complaint. (ECF No. 25.) Plaintiff Francois M. Fleurentin was
born in Haiti and immigrated to the United States.
(Id. ¶ 18.) In 1993, the plaintiff began
working in medical offices connected with the New York City
Department of Health. (Id. ¶ 19.) He earned
bachelor degrees in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
and Chemistry Education from Brooklyn College. (Id.
¶¶ 20, 35.) In 2004, H hired the plaintiff as a
Public Health Educator I at KCHC, where his responsibilities
included "conducting] educational activities that
address the needs of target populations, evaluat[ing] the
effectiveness of then-existing public health programs, and
maintain[ing] relationships with other health care
professionals." (Id. ¶¶ 20,
H also has more senior Public Health Educator II positions;
those employees "work on special projects as
required," "carry out on-the-job training and
evaluate performance of assigned staff, and perform more
supervisory roles over Level I's [sic] and other
staff members." (Id. ¶ 29.)
March of 2005, the defendants moved the plaintiff to another
operating division of H, East New York Diagnostic and
Treatment Center ("ENY"). (Id. ¶ 40.)
There, he continued as a Public Health Educator I in the
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ("OB/GYN").
(Id.) The defendants asked him to perform additional
duties for patients in the Diabetes Department. (Id.
¶¶ 40-42.) In August 2006 and again in December
2007, the plaintiff asked for a raise because of these
additional responsibilities but received no response.
(Id. ¶¶ 43-44.) On February 27, 2008, the
plaintiff filed an internal grievance, claiming he should be
promoted to Senior Public Health Educator if he had to work
for multiple departments. (Id. ¶ 45.) The
defendants denied the plaintiffs request at a grievance
meeting on March 17, 2008. (Id. ¶ 47.) The
plaintiff contacted his union hearing officer, Denise
Johnson-Green, requesting additional compensation; she also
denied his request. (Id. ¶ 48.)
of 2008, having unsuccessfully sought promotions four times
in two years, the plaintiff approached Dr. Reba Williams, the
physician in charge of the program, and "spoke to her
about his desire to be paid more." (Id. ¶
49.) The next day, the plaintiffs direct supervisor, Patricia
Hinds, confronted him for "going outside of the
in-office chain of command." (Id. ¶ 51.)
Ms. Hinds "began screaming" at the plaintiff and
was "visibly angry." (Id. ¶ 51.) The
plaintiff felt "threatened ... upset and dismayed."
(Id.) A month later, Ms. Hinds met with the
plaintiff and gave him "an extremely negative" work
evaluation. (Id. ¶ 54.) The plaintiff asked Ms.
Hinds to explain the basis for the negative review, but she
did not. (Id. ¶ 54.) At the end of June, the
plaintiff filed a grievance for several unspecified
"instances of harassment" by Ms. Hinds, but his
union did not take any action. (Id. ¶¶
next several years appear to have passed without incident. In
2011, the defendants assigned the plaintiff to a new project,
the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, where he worked
for the next five years. (Id. ¶¶ 57-58.)
The plaintiffs responsibilities included attending
conferences and developing educational programs.
(Id. ¶ 59.) During this period, the plaintiff
incurred travel expenses in connection with his new position.
(Id. ¶ 60.) He submitted an arbitration claim
for the travel expenses, which the defendants denied.
(Id. ¶ 60.) In 2015, the plaintiffs fellow
staff members selected him to portray Santa Claus for a
holiday event. (Id. ¶ 62.) However, the
plaintiffs supervisor at the time, Marie Millet,
"rejected the idea," saying that it would be
"unacceptable" to have someone with a "heavy
Haitian accent" play Santa Claus. (M¶
March of 2016, Ms. Millet assigned the plaintiff to a new
department, the Department of Community Affairs.
(Id. ¶¶ 65-73.) When the plaintiff refused
to accept the reassignment, his union representative, George
Wade, contacted him and told him that Ms. Millet would fire
him if he did not accept the position. (Id.
¶¶ 66-71.) In June of 2016, the plaintiff met with
Ms. Millet and his new direct supervisor, Karen James-Wade,
to sign an updated job description. The plaintiff alleges
that the defendants assigned him "degrading" tasks
unworthy of someone with his professional background: picking
up food from grocery stores and restaurants, preparing and
serving food, and inspecting cooking equipment. (Id.
¶¶ 76-77.) The defendants also required the
plaintiff to distribute bananas to patients, a task he
considered racially motivated and a reference to his Haitian
background. (Id. ¶¶ 75-76.) The plaintiffs
similarly-situated non-Haitian colleagues were not expected
to perform these tasks. (Id. ¶¶ 79, 85.)
The plaintiff felt that he "was a Public Health Educator
in title, but a bus boy in practice." (Id.
¶ 77.) During this same time period, the defendants
asked the plaintiff to take on additional responsibilities
typically assigned to a Public Health Educator II, a more
senior position. (Id. ¶ 77.) For example, Karen
James-Wade, the plaintiffs supervisor after his transfer,
asked the plaintiff to train a new Public Health Educator I
in the OB/GYN department, a responsibility usually assigned
to a second-level Public Health Educator. (Id.
¶¶ 81, 29.)
several months, the plaintiff applied for a new position in a
different H operating division because he felt
"humiliated" about picking up food for events and
performing tasks below his experience and educational level.
(Id. ¶ 86.) The plaintiff did not receive an
interview. (Id. ¶ 88.) Instead, according to
the plaintiff, the supervisor hired a friend for the
position, and told the plaintiff that she did not select him
because he "lacked prior managerial experience."
11, 2017, the plaintiff brought his allegations of
discrimination before the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. ¶ 5.) In
October of 2017, the defendants transferred the plaintiff
back to the OB/GYN Department. (Id. ¶ 91.) The
EEOC notified the plaintiff of his right to sue on May 31,
2018. (Id. ¶ 6.) The plaintiff then commenced
this action on August 31, 2018. (ECF No. 1.)
considering a Rule 12 motion must accept as true the facts
alleged in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences
in the plaintiffs favor. See Town of Babylon, 699
F.3d at 227. "To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Hogan v. Fischer, 738 F.3d 509, 514 (2d
Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id. (quoting
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678). Although the pleading
standard does not require "detailed factual
allegations," it demands "more than labels and
conclusions" and "a formulaic recitation of a cause
of action's elements." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In an employment
discrimination action, the plaintiff must allege sufficient
non-conclusory facts to "nudge" his claim
"across the line from conceivable to plausible" to
survive a motion to dismiss. Vega v. Hempstead Union Free
Sch. Dist., 801 F.3d 72, 87 (2d Cir. 2015) (internal
limits its consideration to "the factual allegations in
plaintiff['s] amended complaint, which are accepted as
true, to documents attached to the complaint as an exhibit or
incorporated in it by reference, to matters of which judicial
notice may be taken, or to documents either in
plaintiff['s] possession or of which plaintiff [ ] had
knowledge and relied on in bringing suit." Faconti
v. Potter, 242 Fed.Appx. 775, 777 (2d Cir. 2007)
(alterations in original); see also Samuels v.
Air Transp. Local 504, 992 F.2d 12, 15 (2d Cir. 1993)
(noting that on a 12(b)(6) motion, "only the facts
alleged in the pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or
incorporated by reference in the pleadings and matters of
which judicial notice may be taken are considered.").
liberally construe the amended complaint as asserting
discrimination claims in violation of Title VII, New York
State Executive Law § 296 ("NYSHRL"), and New
York City Human Rights Law § 8-107 ("NYCHRL").
Most of the plaintiffs claims are untimely. None of them
states a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Plaintiffs Failure to Promote Claims Under Title VII and the
NYSHRL (Counts I and III)
plaintiff must file a Title VII employment discrimination
charge within 300 days of the alleged unlawful practice.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). The plaintiff
filed charges with the EEOC on June 11, 2017. (ECF No. 25
¶ 5.) Accordingly, any claims occurring before August
15, 2016 are untimely unless the plaintiff ...