Ogalo v. NYS Thruway Authority

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

, New York Law Journal

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Judge David Hurd

Ogalo, a native of Kenya, was a maintenance worker with the New York State Canal Corp. (Corporation), a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA). In October 2007, he swung a running chainsaw at two coworkers. Suspended on Nov. 1, he was charged with "workplace violence." On Dec. 12, 2007, an arbitrator was assigned to recommend if the Corporation was justified in suspending Ogalo and whether just cause existed to fire him. On Sept. 2, 2008, the Corporation adopted the arbitrator's Aug. 16, finding that it had just cause to suspend Ogalo and fired him. The court granted NYSTA and the Corporation summary judgment in Ogalo's suit alleging wrongful termination based on race, ethnicity, national origin and age in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Beyond failing to exhaust administrative remedies, Ogalo did not make out a bias case. Although a member of a protected class, he could not show the Corporation's decision to fire him occurred under circumstances giving rise to an "inference of discriminatory intent." Ogalo's unsupported, conclusory allegations lacked particulars needed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination.

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