U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Cristofaro v. Lake Shore Central School District
Background: Plaintiff Corrine Cristofaro commenced this employment discrimination action by filing a complaint in the district court. Therein, she alleges that defendants Lake Shore Central School District and Terrance Redman subjected her to a hostile work environment, discriminated against her based on her gender, and retaliated against her for filing a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. The defendants have moved for summary judgment.
Lake Shore Central School District is made up of seven public schools. The plaintiff was hired by the district in 1993 as a business teacher at Lake Shore High School. She was granted tenure in November 1996. The plaintiff remained in her position until resigning in 2006. The plaintiff was a member of the teacher’s Union throughout her employment. Defendant Terrance Redman became the principal of Lake Shore High School in 1999 and remained in that position throughout the relative time period.
The plaintiff avers she was sexually harassed by Redman over a period of seven years. The incidents she alleges as the basis of her hostile work environment claim include two occasions, in September 1999 and June 2000, where Redman made remarks to the effect that she was looking good and looking fit and on one of those occasions he crooked his finger to call the plaintiff over to talk to him. The plaintiff did not make a complaint or grievance on either occasion. Other incidents are alleged, including among them accusations that Redman falsely told an assistant principal that the plaintiff “used the weight room when she had not,” that Redman asked her where in the building she was supposed to be, and touched the side of her body with his, that the plaintiff was running with a female coworker and Redman yelled to them to “keep up the good work, girls,” and that in September 2005, Redman “commented that the plaintiff gained weight over summer vacation.”
Ruling: The plaintiff alleges she was singled out for not submitting her lesson plans in a timely manner when she received an e-mail from Redman regarding same. However, the plaintiff concedes her lesson plans were late and three male teachers received the same email regarding lesson plans. The plaintiff does not claim the e-mail was disciplinary in nature, nor has she made even a de minimus showing that it caused a materially adverse change in the terms and conditions of her employment. Furthermore, there is nothing about the e-mail that gives rise to an inference of gender-based discrimination.
Further, the plaintiff fails to allege that either the counseling memorandum or the reprimand, regarding an e-mail including an insensitive comment about a student, resulted in any tangible adverse employment action. Courts have held that disciplinary write-ups, whether placed in a personnel file or not, which are not accompanied by any adverse change in the terms and conditions of her employment, do not amount to an adverse employment action. The court concludes that no reasonable juror could find that the plaintiff has demonstrated a prima facie case of discrimination. The motion for summary judgment is granted.
Charles L. Miller II of the Law Office of Lindy Korn for the plaintiff; Teresa Brophy Bair of Harris Beach LLP for the defendants