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Lacroix v. Hilton Grand Vacations

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

April 16, 2019

RICARDO RYAN LACROIX, Plaintiff,
v.
HILTON GRAND VACATIONS, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LESLIE R. HOFFMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion filed herein:

MOTION: APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS (LONG FORM) (Doc. No. 2)
FILED: March 21, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On March 21, 2019, Plaintiff Ricardo Ryan LaCroix, who is proceeding pro se, filed a complaint for employment discrimination against Defendant Hilton Grand Vacations. Doc. No. 1. He asserts retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, hostile work environment, a violation of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12112, et seq., and a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him based on his race (he is African-American) and his perceived mental disability. Id. at 4. Plaintiff claims that Defendant's discriminatory acts include terminating his employment and retaliating against him. Id.

         In the complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was employed by Defendant from January 3, 2017 through February 21, 2018 as a sales representative selling vacation packages to Defendant's members. Id. ¶¶ 6-7. He alleges that during his employment, Defendant changed the compensation plan. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, 18. In the complaint, he does not allege that this compensation plan was changed for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.

         Plaintiff also alleges that he would confront his supervisors regarding Defendant's refund policies. Id. ¶ 10. In the complaint, he does not allege that he was retaliated or discriminated against based on these confrontations.

         Plaintiff also alleges that he was called into a supervisor's office in May 2017 and was interrogated regarding a member of management possibly having a relationship with an employee. Id. ¶ 12. Due to this interrogation, he “felt as if he was being targeted regarding issues he had nothing to do with, ” and thereafter, “Plaintiff endured much more retaliation and harassment.” Id. ¶¶ 12-13. After the meeting, Plaintiff's team leader tried to coerce Plaintiff into seeking employment elsewhere. Id. ¶ 14-15. When Plaintiff began to look at alternative employment options, “his work environment became even more hostile due to the employer trying to force [him] to quit.” Id. ¶ 16.

         Plaintiff alleges that he “continued to endure retaliatory conduct . . . until being fired on February 21, 2018, ” with coercive tactics employed by Defendant to force Plaintiff to quit rather than having to terminate his employment. Id. ¶ 21. For example, one of the team leaders would record Plaintiff on his cellphone. Id. ¶ 22. Therefore, Plaintiff began video recording his daily activities while at work. Id. ¶¶ 23, 25. Defendant would tamper with his phone calls to prevent him from reaching his sales goals. Id. ¶ 24. Defendant also tried to “create a narrative indicating that the Plaintiff may have some type of personal or psychological issues that he was dealing with.” Id. “Management and employees began asking the Plaintiff what was wrong and if he was okay as if to assume he was not in the correct state of mind.” Id. ¶ 25.

         On February 21, 2018, Plaintiff's supervisor asked if he was okay and escorted him to a room where he was met by an HR supervisor. Id. ¶ 26. The HR supervisor told Plaintiff that if he had personal issues, he should take a few days off and contact the employee help line if necessary. Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff was provided a phone number and sent home. Id. On March 5, 2018, Plaintiff attempted to return to work and was denied entry to the building; the same HR supervisor then informed him that he had been terminated for job abandonment. Id. ¶ 28. On his way to his vehicle, Plaintiff was issued a trespass warning by the Orlando Police Department. Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff alleges that he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on March 5, 2018. Id. at 5.

         Plaintiff applied for unemployment, which was initially denied because Defendant stated that Plaintiff was terminated for job abandonment. Id. ¶ 30. Plaintiff appealed that decision, and Plaintiff represents that the Appeals Referee agreed that, “How can you fire him for not showing up to work if you told him to take a few days off?” Id. ¶ 31. Thus, Plaintiff claims that Defendant's discriminatory animus and retaliatory tactics are clear. Id. ¶ 32. Plaintiff asserts four claims for relief: (1) retaliatory conduct in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count I); (2) hostile and abusive work environment (Count ...


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