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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

A Common Discriminatory Tactic: Failing To Provide Workers With Adequate Resources To Do Their Job

A Sad looking Black man is working on desk and there are two colleagues are gossiping at background behind of him

Through their decades of experience representing employment discrimination victims, our employment lawyers in Marion County, Florida know employers deploy a broad array of discriminatory tactics when seeking to justify eventual termination decisions. One common discriminatory tactic utilized by employers is failing to provide employees with adequate resources to do their job. When deploying this discriminatory tactic, employers customarily deny victimized employees the same resources given to other employees holding the same position. For example, victimized employees are denied assistance, cooperation, training, equipment, or support staff. As a result of this discriminatory tactic, victimized employees are burdened with a heavier workload, denied an equal playing field, and set up for failure. Having been denied adequate resources necessary to perform their job and set up for failure, victimized employees are invariably terminated for an allegedly unsatisfactory work performance.

In this article, our employment lawyers in Marion County, Florida explain how the decision in Branch v. State University of New York, 2020 WL 4057594 (S.D. N.Y. July 20, 2020) illustrates that an employer’s failure to provide employees with adequate resources to do their job is a form of discrimination prohibited by federal employment discrimination law.

Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

In that case, a man named Branch brought an employment discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, the State University of New York (“SUNY”), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Title VII protects employees from discrimination on the basis of color, race, national origin, sex, and religion. Branch, who is African-American and of Caribbean national origin, claims that SUNY violated Title VII by discriminating against him because of his race and national origin.

In December 2015, Branch was hired as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program (“Program Director”). During his tenure, Branch was the only African-American of Caribbean descent employed in the Psychiatry Department. When Branch began his employment, he reported to the Chair of the Psychiatry Department, Goldfinger. In August 2016, Fanous replaced Goldfinger as Chair.

The Program Director oversees the psychiatry residency program in conjunction with the Chair. Branch met weekly with the Chair to discuss Branch’s work, address issues and concerns, and obtain the Chair’s approval for projects and activities. Branch claims, that beginning in September 2017, Fanous refused to attend these weekly meetings, refused to reschedule cancelled meetings, failed to follow up to Branch’s emails, and excluded him from meetings with other facility members that Branch had previously been invited to. Branch contends that he was unable to obtain Fanous’ approval for various projects because of his cancelling and refusing to attend meetings.

Branch further alleges that he was required to perform additional work that his predecessors were not required to perform. These include clinical duties at a hospital, and administrative and ministerial duties that would typically be performed by an Assistant Program Director. Unlike his predecessors and successors, all of whom where white except one, Branch was denied an Assistant Program Director.

Branch asserts that he voiced concerns about his additional duties and Fanous’ conduct towards him, including in two internal written complaints in December 2017 and March 2018. In February 2018, Fanous recommended firing Branch upon the expiration of his contract. Branch continued as Program Director until March 2018, when Fanous removed him and demoted him to the position of Attending Psychiatrist. Branch maintained his title of Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. In March 2018, SUNY notified Branch that it had adopted Fanous’ nonrenewal recommendation and terminated Branch’s employment upon the contract’s expiration.

Evidence Of Discriminatory Animus

SUNY filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Branch’s discrimination claim. In denying SUNY’s motion for dismissal, the trial court found that Branch had plausibly alleged that he was discriminated against because of his race and national origin in violation of Title VII. In support of its conclusion, the trial court pointed to Branch’s allegations that he was denied staffing and resources provided to his white predecessors and successor. The trial court observed that Branch alleges that “prior to SUNY hiring [him] as Program Director, all of his predecessors, who were white, were assigned an Assistant Program Director, to help them perform general administrative and ministerial tasks.” The trial court also noted that Branch alleges that his ”successor, a white man, was provided with an Assistant Program Director.” Branch’s allegations of SUNY’s “more favorable treatment” of white employees, the trial court reasoned, give “rise to a plausible inference of discrimination.” In other word, according to the trial court, Branch’s allegations that he was denied the staffing and resources provided to white employees were sufficient to plausibly establish that SUNY’s actions “were motivated by discriminatory animus.”

Marion County, FL Employment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment attorneys in Marion County, Florida have dedicated their practice to fighting for the rights of employees. If you have been set up for failure by being denied adequate resources to do your job or have questions about your employee rights under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment lawyers in Marion County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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