Attorney Courtney Mayo recently obtained the dismissal of an MCAD action alleging discrimination in police officer training and hiring and also obtained four findings of “No Probable Cause” in actions alleging racial and age discrimination. The following is a brief summary of Attorney Mayo’s recent successes before MCAD:
Dismissal of Action Alleging Discrimination in Police Hiring and Training Practices
The Complainant filed an action alleging that he had been subjected to discrimination while training for a position as a police officer in a Massachusetts town. Specifically, the Complainant alleged that he was dismissed from the police training academy on the basis of his national origin (Russian) and that his name was subsequently improperly removed from the police officer eligibility list. The Complainant based his complaint on the fact that upon information and belief, he would have been the first Russian-born officer in the Town and that all other recruits had been American-born.
Attorney Mayo argued on behalf of the Town that the Complainant had misrepresented his current residence during his training at the police academy. The Civil Service Commission requires that in order to claim residence in a particular town, the candidate must maintain his or her residency in that town for at least one year. The Complainant certified that he had lived in the subject Town for the previous twelve months. However, during a required background check, it was discovered that the Complainant was residing in the City of Worcester. Further, Attorney Mayo argued that the Complainant had failed the remedial Emergency Driving Course at the police academy despite receiving extensive personalized training from both the police academy and the Town’s police department in an effort to help him pass. Lastly, Attorney Mayo argued that the Town requested that the Complainant’s name be removed from the police officer eligibility list only after the failed to complete the police academy training and as a result of his misrepresentations regarding his residency status, and that at no time was the Complainant’s national origin a factor in either his original dismissal or his removal from eligibility.
Following submission of the Town’s Position Statement, the Complainant’s action was withdrawn.
No Probable Cause – Racial Discrimination
The Complainant filed an action alleging she had been subjected to harassment and discrimination on the basis of race / color during her employment for a municipal housing alliance. The Complainant worked for the housing alliance for two years and alleged that, during this time, racial animus was the underlying reason for her increased workload and a lack of remuneration commensurate with her job duties. Further, the Complainant argued that she had been denied job training that would assist her in advancing her career. The Complainant further argued that she had been humiliated during a job performance review meeting and, as a result, suffered an emotional breakdown requiring hospitalization. Upon her return to work, the Complainant discovered her work-related emails and text messages had been inexplicably deleted. The Complainant attributed the deletions to racial animus on the job site.
Attorney Mayo argued that the defendant housing alliance had not treated the Complainant in a discriminatory manner, had not improperly denied her training, had not increased her workload or job duties unfairly, had properly investigated and addressed her deleted emails and text messages, and that her hospitalization for emotional issues did not stem from any work-related racial animus.
Further, Attorney Mayo argued that the Complainant had filled out a self-assessment questionnaire in advance of her job performance review meeting. Her supervisor also filled out an evaluation form pertaining to the Complainant. When the Complainant read the supervisor’s evaluation form, which contained positive information about the Complainant’s performance but did not match the high level of competency the Complainant had attributed to herself, the Complainant began yelling and screaming and demanded that the supervisor change her evaluation to match her own. Further, the Complainant continued to act in an increasingly unprofessional, rude and disrespectful manner toward her supervisors and coworkers and was issued a written warning as a result. Despite her behavior, complainant received annual reviews and was the highest paid employee at her level.
Lastly, Attorney Mayo argued that all of the alleged actions taken by the Respondent were supported by legitimate non-discriminatory acts and that the Complainant ultimately failed to provide any evidence of any discrimination or harm to the Complainant by the Respondent.
Following an evidentiary hearing, the MCAD Investigating Commissioner determined that a lack of probable cause existed with regard to the Complainant’s allegations.
No Probable Cause – Gender Discrimination
Attorney Mayo successfully obtained a finding of “No Probable Cause” in connection with the appeal of a gender discrimination action filed by a female employee working in a school cafeteria. The employee alleged that the school superintendent had sent her several “anonymous” provocative emails and that when she responded favorably to the emails, she was dismissed on the grounds that she had violated the sexual harassment policy. The complainant alleged discrimination insofar as the superintendent was not let go for the same reasons. However, further investigation revealed sharp discrepancies in the complainant’s allegations and no evidence that any emails had ever been sent by the superintendent to the complainant at any time. The matter had previously been dismissed by MCAD on the grounds that the statute of limitations had tolled. Attorney Mayo represented the municipal respondent in connection with the complainant’s appeal. Following a hearing, the Investigating Commissioner determined that the evidence presented failed to prove that an unlawful act of discrimination had been committed.
No Probable Cause – Age Discrimination
A 55-year old police officer alleged he was subjected to age discrimination in connection with the police department’s failure to appoint him to his desired position as a Court Officer. The complainant further alleged that the Police Chief made discriminatory statements about “old guys” working in the department. The complainant alleged that the department offered the position to a younger officer, as a result, discriminated against him on the basis of age. Attorney Mayo argued that at no time did the Chief make the alleged discriminatory statements. Further, the Court Officer position was offered to a female officer in her 40’s, someone who was also in a protected class, and that she possessed prior training as a detective. At the time, the department was in need of someone who could cover for the full-time detective on an as-needed basis and having a trained detective in the Court Officer position allowed for such an arrangement. Attorney Mayo argued that the department’s decision not to hire the complainant in the Court Officer position was based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons as the complainant had no prior training as a detective. The MCAD found a Lack of Probable Cause in favor of the police department.
No Probable Cause – Age Discrimination
Attorney Mayo successfully obtained a finding of “No Probable Cause” with regard to age discrimination allegations brought by a 69-year old job applicant who applied for two separate teaching positions at a local school. The complainant alleged that he was not considered for either position based on his advanced age. Attorney Mayo argued that while the school had initially contacted the complainant by telephone to discuss his qualifications, but his responses had been off-putting and disrespectful and he admitted that he had no experience teaching the specific subject to middle or high school students. The municipal respondent also noted that the applicant had been teaching on a part-time basis only for more than thirty years. Further, the respondent ultimately hired two candidates who possessed more experience and exemplary credentials to fill the positions, one of whom was 67-years old at the time of hire. Upon reviewing the evidence, MCAD found a Lack of Probable Cause in favor of the municipal respondent.