Felder v. United States Tennis Association, No. 19-1094 (2d Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the USTA discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and discriminatorily interfered with his employment contract with AJ Squared Security, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1981, by rejecting his temporary assignment as a security guard for the 2016 U.S. Open.
The Second Circuit concurred with the district court that plaintiff has failed to state any claim for relief under Title VII or section 1981. The court concluded that plaintiff did not plausibly allege the existence of an employer-employee relationship necessary to sustain his Title VII claims. Furthermore, plaintiff did not allege any facts to support his claim under section 1981 that, but for his race, the USTA would not have interfered with his employment contract. However, because plaintiff—represented by court-appointed counsel for the first time on appeal—has indicated that he can plead further allegations of a "joint employer" relationship, and because he has plausibly alleged that the USTA rejected his assignment in retaliation for his protected activities against a USTA subcontractor, the court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's Title VII retaliation claim under 42 U.S.C. 2000e–3(a), and remanded with instructions that plaintiff be permitted to amend his complaint as to that claim. The court affirmed as to the Title VII and section 1981 claims.