In April of 2010, the United States Western District Court in Kentucky decided a case which involved a race discrimination wrongful termination case. In this case, the Plaintiff alleged that he was subject to racial discrimination and harassment in the form of jokes, slurs, and demeaning insults. (See Laporte v. B.L. Harbert International, LLC, 2010 WL 1542500 (W.D.Ky.). The Plaintiff in this case after receiving his right to sue letter from the EEOC, filed a lawsuit with many counts. One of the counts was a Title VII and KCRA (Kentucky Civil Rights Act) for race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against his supervisor. Id. The Sixth Circuit held that “an individual employee/supervisor, who does not otherwise quality as an “employer,” may not be held personally liable under Title VII.” (cites omitted). Id. The same is true pursuant to the KCRA. Id. Thus this count was dismissed.
Next, Plaintiff brought a count alleging 14th Amendment, Section 1983 and Bivens Claims against two named individuals. Id. “To sate a claim under the Equal Protection Clause, a Section 1983 plaintiff must allege that a state actor intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff because of membership in a protected class.” (cites omitted). Id. Further, “The Bivens doctrine is a judicially created counterpart to a Section 1983 action and pertains to suits filed against federal officials who have allegedly denied a plaintiff’s constitutional rights. (cites omitted). Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendants were “acting under color of state law” or are federal officials. Therefore, Plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed.” Id.
The race discrimination Plaintiff also brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id. The Plaintiff must show, 1) that the wrongdoer’s conduct was intentional or reckless; 2) that the conduct was outrageous and intolerable and offends against the generally accepted standards of decency and morality; 3) a causal connection between the wrongdoer’s conduct and the emotional distress; and 4) that the emotion distress was severe.” (cites omitted). Id. In this regard, the Court held that Plaintiff did allege enough to survive the motion to dismiss.
The race discrimination Plaintiff also filed a count for negligent infliction of emotional distress. In Kentucky, “Courts have long held that absent a showing of physical injury, a plaintiff cannot assert a claim against a defendant for the negligent infliction of emotional distress.” (cites omitted). Id. Even slight contact is ok. Id. “However, it is necessary that the damages for mental distress sought to be recovered be related to, and the direct and natural result of, the physical contact or injury sustained.” Id. In that this race discrimination Plaintiff does not allege any physical contact or injury, his negligent infliction of emotional distress claim cannot survive.
And finally, Plaintiff is seeking punitive damages. “Punitive damages are available under Title VII if the plaintiff can demonstrate that “the employer ‘engaged in a discriminatory practice… with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual.’ (cites omitted). Punitive damages are not recoverable, however, under the KCRA.” (cites omitted). Id. Further, “Plaintiff may also recover punitive damages if successful on his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.” (cites omitted). Id.
If you have been the subject of race discrimination and harassment work environment, please call and speak to a Louisville race discrimination and harassment employment lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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