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April 25, 2014

Complaint alleging violations of the State’s and New York City’s Human Rights Laws dismissed for failure to establish a prima facie case of unlawful discrimination


Complaint alleging violations of the State’s and New York City’s Human Rights Laws dismissed for failure to establish a prima facie case of unlawful discrimination
2014 NY Slip Op 02696, Appellate Division, First Department

State Supreme Court Judge Arthur F. Engoron granted the employer’s motion to dismiss the unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims under the State and City Human Rights Laws (HRL) (Executive Law §290 et seq.; Administrative Code of City of NY §8-101 et seq.), filed by one of its employees, [Plaintiff].

Construing the complaint liberally, presuming its factual allegations to be true, and according it the benefit of every possible favorable inference, the Appellate Division sustained the lower court’s ruling explaining that Plaintiff failed to adequately plead that she was subjected to an adverse employment action as none of the allegations set out in her complaint rises to the level of an actionable adverse employment action.

In addition the court found that Plaintiff failed to adequately plead discriminatory animus, which is fatal to both her discrimination and hostile environment claims as her complaint does not contain any allegations of any comments or references to Plaintiff's age or race made by any employee of employer.

Further, said the Appellate Division, Plaintiff’s petition does not contain any factual allegations demonstrating that similarly situated individuals who did not share Plaintiff's protected characteristics were treated more favorably than Plaintiff and her “conclusory allegations of a hostile environment are insufficient to state a claim under either the State or City Human Rights Laws.

Plaintiff’s allegations of “retaliation” faired no better as she failed to plead any facts regarding when the alleged retaliatory incidents occurred or how those incidents were causally connected to any protected activity, nor did she state the substance of her alleged complaints, to whom she allegedly complained, or when such complaints were made.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_02696.htm


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