Abdul-Hakeem v. Parkinson
Absent evidence that a worker received different treatment than similarly situated individuals, she may not be able to establish an inference of discrimination on the basis of race for purposes of an equal-protection claim. The plaintiff, Habibah Abdul-Hakeem, filed a complaint against her supervisors, alleging that they violated her right to equal protection, in violation of the 14th Amendment. The District Court found that although the plaintiff 'identified seven alleged comparators,' she provided 'no factual support that a single alleged comparator performed similar job functions, was subjected to the same disciplinary standards, engaged in similar conduct, or was treated more favorably.' The District Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the plaintiff appealed. The 2nd Circuit reviewed de novo. 'The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike,' pursuant to Brown v. City of Syracuse, a 2012 decision of the 2nd Circuit. 'A showing of disparate treatment—that is, a showing that an employer treated plaintiff less favorably than a similarly situated employee outside his protected group—is a recognized method of raising an inference of discrimination,' pursuant to Ruiz v. County of Rockland, a 2010 decision of the 2nd Circuit. An employee is similarly situated to co-workers if: 1.) they were subject to the same performance evaluation and discipline standards; and 2.) they were engaged in comparable conduct. The District Court correctly found that the plaintiff failed to establish circumstances that led to an inference of discrimination on the basis of race, in the absence of evidence that she received different treatment than similarly situated individuals. The 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, Arterton, J.