Clayton v. New Visions

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Employment

New York Law Journal

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Judge Gary Sharpe

New Visions provided Clayton—who is black, and who disclosed his criminal record and history of drug addiction—a janitor job at a state office campus beginning on March 30, 2009. Shortly thereafter, Clayton was suspended after being found in an unoccupied office that he was not authorized to be in. On Oct. 7 he was found reading a newspaper on an unoccupied floor to which he was not assigned. Removed from the campus, Clayton was fired after New Visions could not find another job for him. The court granted New Visions judgment in Clayton's suit alleging Title VII's violation. Applying the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting rules, the court found New Visions offered uncontested proof that Clayton was fired after twice violating company policy, and was removed at the request of the campus' building manager. There was no evidence that Clayton's termination had anything to do with his protected characteristics. Nor was the court convinced that a hostile work environment existed. Despite alleging that his black supervisor used a derogatory term, Clayton admitted that the building manager told the supervisor to stop using "street talk" and the supervisor not only ceased doing so but also apologized for his choice of words.

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