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Tolbert v. Smith, No. 14-1012-cv, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10656 (2d Cir. June 24, 2015)

Articles Discussing Case:

Second Circuit Holds Extension of Probationary Employment Can Be Adverse Employment Action

Goldberg Segalla LLP • July 24, 2015
In Tolbert v. Smith, No. 14-1012-cv, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10656 (2d Cir. June 24, 2015), the Second Circuit issued a decision holding that extending a probationary term instead of granting a teacher tenure constitutes an adverse employment action sufficient to support a claim for race discrimination — the fact that the teacher is provided with another year of probationary employment notwithstanding. The court noted that offering a fourth year of probation is intertwined with a denial of tenure, which amounts to the “denial of a material improvement in the conditions of the plaintiff’s employment” — since the benefits of having received tenure are denied, including benefits such as termination only for cause. Accordingly, such a refusal of a material employment benefit for a discriminatory reason is violative of the civil rights statutes.