Corbitt v. Queens Health Network

Civil Rights

New York Law Journal


Judge Jack Weinstein

Corbitt, a black man, was a housekeeping aide at Queens Hospital Center, a component of Queens Health Network. He was disciplined and suspended over claims he sexually harassed a fellow worker. He was later fired because he stopped showing up for work. Granting Queens Health summary judgment on his claims, the court dismissed Corbitt's suit—under 42 USC §1981 and New York's human rights law—asserting racial and gender discrimination, and retaliation. Applying the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting analysis, the court found that even if Corbitt had established a prima facie case of race or gender discrimination—which he did not—he failed to rebut Queens Health's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its actions. Corbitt was disciplined, suspended and fired based on multiple complaints of sexual harassment and his failure to show up for work following an arrest arising from the harassed coworker's calls to police. Assuming—without deciding—that Corbitt engaged in "protected activity" the court found he did not show a causal connection between that activity and Queens Health's adverse employment actions against him. Queens Health disciplined Corbitt only after his fellow coworker filed a harassment complaint.

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