United States District Court, District of Columbia
EMMANUEL A. KORNYO, Plaintiff
GONZAGA COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL, Defendant
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises from the decision of Defendant Gonzaga College
High School (“Gonzaga”) to terminate the
employment of one of its ethics and philosophy teachers,
Plaintiff Emmanuel A. Kornyo. Plaintiff is black and a native
of Ghana. During his tenure at Gonzaga, Plaintiff was in the
United States on an H-1B visa. Plaintiff alleges that Gonzaga
discriminated against him on the basis of his race and
national origin. Now before the Court is Defendant's 
Motion to Dismiss. Upon consideration of the pleadings,
relevant legal authorities, and the record as it currently
stands, the Court will GRANT Defendant's motion.
purposes of the motion before it, the Court accepts as true
the well-pleaded allegations in Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint. The Court does “not accept as true, however,
the plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are
unsupported by the facts alleged.” Ralls Corp. v.
Comm. on Foreign Inv. in U.S., 758 F.3d 296, 315 (D.C.
to the Amended Complaint, Gonzaga hired Plaintiff as a
teacher of ethics and philosophy in September 2006. Am.
Compl., ECF No. 7, ¶ 7. Plaintiff is black and a native
of Ghana. Id. ¶ 5. During the interview process
leading up to his hiring, Plaintiff alleges that he informed
Defendant that he was in the United States on a student visa
with a work permit. Id. ¶ 9. According to
Plaintiff, Defendant told him that due to Plaintiff's
prior experience teaching and in the Seminary, Defendant was
willing, contingent on Plaintiff's performance, to
sponsor his application for a work visa or a green card.
Id. ¶¶ 10-11. Plaintiff alleges that,
based on his good work, the Headmaster at Gonzaga eventually
agreed to sponsor his application for an H-1B visa.
Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff's visa application was
approved. Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff then began the
process of applying for a green card. Id.
¶¶ 23-25. He requested assistance in that process
(including the completion of a “labor
certification”) from the Headmaster, who took his
request under advisement. Id. ¶¶ 25-26.
Plaintiff participated in a skit about the Headmaster at a
school retreat. Id. ¶¶ 27-29. The skit
allegedly portrayed the Headmaster holding an umbrella and
saying “good morning.” Id. ¶ 29.
Plaintiff alleges that, after the skit was over, the
Headmaster confronted him and said “why did you do a
skit about me? It was very offensive, it should never be
done, and is not acceptable.” Id. ¶ 30.
Plaintiff apologized, but feared retaliation. Id.
was subsequently approached about teaching a new course at
Gonzaga in Bioethics. Id. ¶ 34. In order to
prepare to teach this new subject matter, Plaintiff allegedly
requested permission to take a course on Biotechnology at
Georgetown University, and have Gonzaga reimburse him for the
tuition. Id. ¶¶ 34-35. Plaintiff alleges
that the Headmaster originally agreed but, after Plaintiff
was accepted in the program, retracted his support and
informed Plaintiff that the school would not pay for
Plaintiff to attend the course. Id. ¶¶
36-40. The Headmaster allegedly determined that the program
was not related to the subject Plaintiff taught at Gonzaga,
and also cited concerns about the program's cost and
Plaintiff's ability to successfully complete it.
Id. ¶¶ 39-40. Plaintiff attended and
completed the program regardless, without reimbursement.
Id. ¶ 41. According to Plaintiff, other
teachers at Gonzaga received reimbursement for their own
educational pursuits. Id. ¶ 43.
approached the Headmaster in early 2011 and requested that he
be allowed to take leave to care for his sick wife.
Id. ¶¶ 47-51. He also asserted that he was
entitled to a one year sabbatical under Gonzaga's
employee handbook. Id. ¶ 51. Both requests were
denied. Id. ¶ 52. Plaintiff was told that if he
took long term leave he would be terminated and would have to
re-apply for his job. Id.
missed an hour of work on February 24, 2011. Id.
¶ 54. He alleges that he received permission to do so
from “a colleague temporarily coordinating class
coverage” while the Dean and Headmaster were
travelling, but was nonetheless disciplined for his absence.
Id. ¶¶ 54-57. At a meeting during which he
was disciplined, Plaintiff alleges that the Headmaster
“raised his voice and displayed furious anger, ”
and stated “that he has his own set of rules for the
Plaintiff.” Id. ¶ 58. Plaintiff was given
a probation letter for “dereliction of duty.”
Id. ¶ 59. Plaintiff claims that as he was
leaving that meeting, the Headmaster stated that “if
Plaintiff cannot attend school Plaintiff ‘should be
prepared to go back to the jungle.'” Id.
in 2011, Plaintiff went on FMLA leave to care for his wife.
Id. ¶ 61. Upon returning, Plaintiff was
allegedly instructed by the Headmaster “to notify him
of all travel plans domestic and international.”
Id. ¶ 63.
2012, Plaintiff informed the Headmaster that he was on the
final extension of his H-1B visa and asked the Headmaster
whether he would support Plaintiff in the process of
obtaining a green card and sign Plaintiff's labor
certification. Id. ¶ 68. The Headmaster
allegedly gave an uncertain response and did not sign the
2013, Gonzaga's Headmaster again declined to reimburse
Plaintiff for the cost of tuition for educational courses
Plaintiff had been accepted to attend, again on the grounds
that the program Plaintiff sought to attend fell outside the
scope of Plaintiff's teaching assignment. Id.
¶ 71. The Headmaster also told Plaintiff in 2013 that he
had decided not to sign Plaintiff's labor certification
for his green card, and that he was not comfortable offering
Plaintiff a permanent position at Gonzaga. Id.
¶ 73. On April 30, 2013, Defendant's Dean of Faculty
informed Plaintiff that his employment would not be renewed
for the next semester. Id. ¶ 78.
ceremony on June 2, 2013, outside the presence of other
colleagues, the Headmaster allegedly expressed to Plaintiff
that he was surprised and angry that Plaintiff was present,
and also allegedly used a racial slur to refer to Plaintiff.
Id. ¶ 74.
filed this lawsuit on June 2, 2017. Compl., ECF No. 1. In the
operative Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts three claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981: one for national origin
discrimination (Count I), one for race discrimination (Count