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Williams v. State of Connecticut Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 24, 2016




         Alfred Williams brought this action against the Connecticut Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and four of the DOC's employees. Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 7. Mr. Williams alleges that he is a male, African-American DOC employee who has experienced harassment, discriminatory treatment, and retaliation by the Defendants because of his race and gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 et seq. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4-7, Counts One and Two, ECF No. 7.[1] He also claims that the Defendants violated his constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1985, and that Defendant Palmer defamed him. Am. Compl. at Counts Three and Four, ECF No. 7. Mr. Williams seeks front pay and benefits, injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory, “expectancy, ” and punitive damages, and costs and attorney's fees. Id. at Requests for Relief.

         Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety for various reasons under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6). Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 26. Because Mr. Williams failed to properly serve the Defendants, the Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 26, is GRANTED in its entirety under Rule 12(b)(2). However, this dismissal is without prejudice to Mr. Williams serving the Defendants with process properly within thirty (30) days of this Order.


         Mr. Williams is an African-American male who serves in the Navy reserves. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 6, ECF No. 7. He alleges that the DOC hired him as a corrections officer in 1999. Id. ¶ 36. He claims that he was subject to specific incidents of discrimination during his employment as follows.

         On one occasion, Mr. Williams claims that he was transferred to work at a particular correctional institution, Corrigan, because a set of keys went missing, but that the Defendants took no such action against the white officers “involved in the situation.” Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Defendant Palmer allegedly accused Mr. Williams of losing the keys and asked him to account for the keys and write a report about them. Id. ¶¶ 28-29. Defendant Palmer also allegedly knew, at the time, that another white officer had taken the keys home. Id. ¶ 29.

         In another instance, Mr. Williams claims that he was questioned about why he had not changed some surveillance tapes, but that he was on light duty and was physically unable to change the tapes. Id. ¶ 11. He claims that one of the Defendants was responsible for changing the tapes and that no white officers were questioned or treated the way he was. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

         Mr. Williams also alleges that Defendant Corvin required him to sign the DOC log book when he was on duty, while other officers were not required to do so. Id. ¶ 14. He claims that this selective enforcement of the rules was discriminatory. See e.g., id. ¶59a.

         Mr. Williams also alleges that the Defendants gave him unfavorable work assignments on a discriminatory basis. He claims that, in 2008, a merger occurred between the Corrigan and Radgowski facilities. Id. ¶ 37. In the context of this merger, he alleges that white officers were assigned to work at the facility with which they were more familiar, but he was not. Id. ¶¶ 37-38. He claims that Defendant Corvin was responsible for this decision. Id. ¶ 24. He also alleges that white officers generally have the freedom to choose their posts, but he does not. Id. ¶ 47.

         Mr. Williams claims that he passed the Lieutenant examination around 2012 but, despite his “excellent” scores on the examination and lack of a disciplinary record, he was allegedly denied a series of promotions beginning on or about November 29, 2013. Id. ¶¶ 41, 48. By comparison, he alleges that the DOC has promoted several white officers, including a female, white officer to the rank of Lieutenant after it knew or should have known that she had engaged in “unlawful sexual relations” with an inmate in his cell. Id. ¶¶ 42-43, 49. Since November 2013, DOC has allegedly promoted three officers to the rank of Lieutenant, all of whom were white. Id. ¶ 50.

         Mr. Williams alleges that Defendant Efie told him that he was not given promotions because he worked on the third shift and served in the Navy Reserves. Id. ¶51. But one of the white officers who was promoted allegedly worked the third shift, and another allegedly served in the Navy Reserves. Id. ¶ 52.

         Mr. Williams also claims that the DOC engages in a “policy” of scoring a “large number” exam takers as “superior” without a sufficiently objective standard. Id. ¶ 44. In his view, this scoring system has allowed the DOC to promote individuals on an arbitrary basis and allegedly has had a disparate impact on African-American officers. Id. ¶¶ 44-45.

         Finally, Mr. Williams alleges that the Defendants filed “retaliatory job evaluations and reviews, ” “selectively” enforced requirements for advancement, and failed to train and discipline employees regarding discrimination. Id. ¶¶ 59a-b, 59e, 59h-j, 59o. He also claims that the Defendants failed to provide adequate mechanisms for employees to complain about discrimination. Id. ¶¶ 59k, 59n.


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