Maryland Federal Court Sides With Defendant in Racial Discrimination Integrated Employer Lawsuit

Case Name: Boccabella v. Trick Truck, Inc.

Court: United States District Court – District of Maryland

Date of Opinion: February 22, 2021

Judge: George J. Hazel

Overview:  Defendant in this racial discrimination case argues that they should not be considered an integrated employer based on Title VII.  The court agreed with the defendant.

Background: Plaintiff David Boccabella was employed at Defendant Trick Trucks since April 2015.  Boccabella is a Caucasian male and is married to an African American woman.  Boccabella claims that since the beginning of his employment, he was the target of racial hostility due to his interracial relationship.  The plaintiff filed this lawsuit in December 2019 after receiving a right to sue letter by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

The complaint against the defendant asserts counts of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation.  The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that it should not be considered an integrated employer under Title VII.

Analysis:  Under Title VII, a plaintiff can bring a claim against an employer with less than fifteen employees if the employer is “integrated” with one or more employers with more than fifteen employees.  The test to determine if an integrated employer exists is based on four factors: 1) common management, 2) operational interrelation, 3) centralized control, and 4) the degree of common ownership and control of finances.

The disagreement in this case centers on whether the Defendant and their other nine retail locations with the same name are considered an integrated employer. The court in this case decided that the defendant’s entities do not qualify as an integrated employer under Title VII and that the motion for summary judgment should be granted.

Regarding the four factors of what constitutes an integrated employer, the court decided that each Trick Truck entity has their own manager who controls the day to day operation of the company.  In addition, the judge opines that each of the defendant’s entities operates independently and separately. 

Conclusion: The defendant in this case is not considered an “integrated” employer” because the plaintiff did not show that the four prong test applied to the company.

Steven M. Cohen
Law Librarian | + posts

Steven M. Cohen is a law librarian at a midsize law firm in New York City.  He was the creator of Library Stuff, one of the first library blogs, which lasted over 15 years.  He obtained his MLS from Queens College in 2002.  His passions include legal research, reading novels, and rooting on his favorite sports teams.