Muhammad v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ESAU MUHAMMAD, Plaintiff, v. Case No. 1:17-cv-00357 (TNM) WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant. MEMORANDUM ORDER Plaintiff Esau Muhammad claims four violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: race discrimination, national origin discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. ECF No. 1. Before the Court is the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA’s) Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 15. Upon consideration of the entire record, and in light of the obligation to draw “all justifiable inferences” in favor of the non-moving party, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986), the Court concludes that summary judgment is warranted only on the race discrimination count. On each of the three remaining counts, at least one genuine issue of material fact precludes summary judgment. I. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful for an employer to . . . discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Brady v. Office of Sergeant at Arms, 520 F.3d 490, 493 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e- 2(a)(1)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Title VII also “makes it unlawful to ‘discriminate against’—i.e., retaliate against—an employee ‘because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter.’” McGrath v. Clinton, 666 F.3d 1377, 1380 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–3(a)). Mr. Muhammad is an African American male who identifies as Trinidadian. Am. Compl. (Compl.) ¶¶ 14, 59. He claims that WMATA violated Title VII by discriminating against him based on race and national origin, creating a hostile work environment, and retaliating against him when he blew the whistle. A motion for summary judgment will only be granted if “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). At this stage, “[c]redibility determinations, [and] the weighing of the evidence” are not a judge’s role. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. “The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id.; see also Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (“[F]acts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a “genuine” dispute as to those facts.”) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). [W]here an employee has suffered an adverse employment action and an employer has asserted a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the decision, the district court need not—and should not—decide whether the plaintiff actually made out a prima facie case under McDonnell Douglas. Rather, in considering an employer’s motion for summary judgment . . . the district court must resolve one central question: Has the employee produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that the employer’s asserted non-discriminatory reason was not the actual reason and that the ...

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