This is a fascinating case from 2005 about a Federal employee accused of threatening his management after not being promoted, is then arrested, acquitted of the criminal charges, returns to work and tries to sue for discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment. The Court here dismisses the claims.

EARL ROBERSON, JR., Plaintiff, v. JOHN W. SNOW, Defendant.
Civil Action No. 03-2135 (RWR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
404 F. Supp. 2d 79

The opinion, decided September 12, 2005, is by Judge Richard Roberts.

The Court quotes the allegations that got Roberson (plaintiff in this action) arrested in 2001:

[Thomas Peska] alleged that plaintiff made comments that “he was going to take [Petska] out” and that he would “come in like a ninja and they would never know it.”

But Roberson (the plaintiff) was acquitted of the criminal charges related to those allegations. But despite prevailing, the Court, in this civil action, concludes:

Because the plaintiff has failed to adequately rebut the defendant’s non-discriminatory justifications for the non-promotion, investigation, and prosecution of the plaintiff, the plaintiff has not established that any material facts are left in dispute and, consequently, defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted on both the discrimination and retaliation claims. Because plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the harassment he complains of was based upon his race, summary judgment will be granted on any hostile work environment claim.

So here, “ninja” is a word allegedly used as a threat in 2001 by an African American male “career federal employee who has worked for the IRS for over twenty-two years … a GS-13 level computer specialist and is employed in the Statistics of Income Division of the IRS”.

Note the connection to computers and taxes but note “Plaintiff denies making any such threatening statements or comments.” Also note that apparently the criminal judge agreed or did not think these comments reach the level of a criminal threat.

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