In this CPLR Article 78* action the petitioner [Plaintiff] alleged that the City of New York[Defendants] had discriminated against her on the basis of her disability when it terminated her employment shortly after she told her supervisor that she was being treated for depression.
Plaintiff's complaint, however, also indicated that before she revealed her disability to her supervisor Plaintiff had been investigated for violating certain of the Defendants' policies and procedures and that she was aware of this investigation.
Supreme Court granted the Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint and Plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court's ruling, explaining that:
1. "The complaint fails to state a cause of action under the State and City Human Rights Laws because it alleges no facts from which it can be inferred that [Plaintiff's] disability was a factor in the termination of her employment";
2. "The complaint does not allege that anyone other than [Plaintiff's] immediate supervisor was aware of her disability or that the supervisor was consulted about the termination"; and
3. To the extent Plaintiff relies on the "temporal proximity between her revelation to her supervisor of her disability and her termination from employment," her complaint did not recite any allegations suggesting a causal connection between the two events.
* N.B. §297.9 of the Executive Law, in pertinent part, currently provides for an election of remedies whereby "Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice shall have a cause of action in any court of appropriate jurisdiction unless such person had filed a complaint ... with any local commission on human rights, or with the superintendent ... or where the division has dismissed such complaint on the grounds of administrative convenience, on the grounds of untimeliness, or on the grounds that the election of remedies is annulled" or "At any time prior to a hearing before a hearing examiner...." An amended Executive Law §297.9 will take effect January 5, 2021 and provides as follows:
The decision of the Appellate Division is posted on the Internet at http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2020/2020_06383.htm