Robinson v. City of New York


New York Law Journal


Judge Barbara Jones

Robinson and her co-plaintiff provisional employees—black women over 40—were laid off by New York City's Administration for Children's Services in 2008. Their lawsuit claimed their firing was motivated by race, age and/or disability discrimination violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Applying the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis, district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims. Defendants' admissible evidence showed the city eliminated plaintiffs' jobs as part of a $23.7 million budgetary reduction ordered by the Office of Management and Budget. Under LaLanne v. Begin Managed Programs, a mandate to make budgetary cuts is a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason to terminate an individual's employment. Moreover, plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence allowing a reasonable trier of fact to find that they were discriminated against. Plaintiffs' evidence was either inadmissible or did not controvert defendants' asserted facts. The court observed that no facts suggested that plaintiffs were prevented from applying to certain new positions after they were fired, or that they applied for such positions and were rejected.

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