United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. HOFFMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...