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Articles Posted in Employment Discrimination

It is an unfortunate fact that many people are subject to discriminatory comments in the workplace due to their race or national origin. While discrimination based on a protected class, such as race or national origin, is unlawful, discriminatory comments in and of themselves may not be actionable, if they are not made by a person with authority to impact the victim’s employment. This was discussed in a recent case ruled on by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which the plaintiff alleged he was subject to employment discrimination based on his race. If you are subjected to discriminatory comments or actions in the workplace, it is sensible to meet with a skillful New York race discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue claims against your employer.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was from Puerto Rico, worked as a newspaper feeder for the defendant company. His co-workers routinely made derogatory comments regarding his race. Following a dispute with a co-worker, he was terminated. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging numerous claims, including a claim of race and national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging in part that the plaintiff had not set forth sufficient facts to sustain his Title VII claim.

Race Discrimination Under Title VII

Title VII provides that employers are prohibited from discriminating against any person with respect to the terms, conditions, compensation, or privileges of employment because of the person’s race, national origin, and other protected classes. In order to plead a prima facie case of discrimination, a plaintiff must show that he or she was a member of a protected class and that he or she was qualified for the job in question. The plaintiff must also show that he or she suffered an adverse employment action and that there is at least minimal evidence that would allow for the inference that the employer was motivated by discriminatory intent in taking the adverse employment action against the plaintiff.

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There is a saying in civil litigation that you only get one bite of the apple. In other words, you cannot attempt to re-litigate a claim merely because you received an unfavorable result. This tenet does not only apply to tort claims, but it also applies to employment discrimination claims, as discussed in a recent gender discrimination case decided by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York. If you believe you suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your sex or gender, it is advisable to meet with a trusted New York sex discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert a claim for damages.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff filed an employment discrimination claim against the defendant employer, alleging she faced disparate treatment due to her gender and race in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing, in part, that the plaintiff could not re-litigate issues that were previously decided in a federal lawsuit arising out of the same alleged harm. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, and plaintiff appealed.

Collateral Estoppel in the Realm of Employment Discrimination Cases

In affirming the trial court opinion, the appellate court stated that the trial court correctly ruled that collateral estoppel applied to any factual issues in the present action that were the same as the factual issues resolved by the federal court in dismissing plaintiff’s federal employment discrimination claims.

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Numerous laws protect New York employees from discrimination in the workplace due to their race or color. Employment discrimination can take many forms, including disparate treatment. In a recent case, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discussed what actions may constitute adverse treatment in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was discriminated against based on his national origin, race, and color. If your employer took adverse action against you at work because of your race or color, you should speak with a seasoned capable New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant city as a corrections officer. He sustained a shoulder injury while at work, after which he underwent shoulder surgery. He subsequently sought extended sick leave, which required him to obtain approval from the Health Management Division of the department of corrections. Thus, a physician was assigned to his case. The physician made fun of the plaintiff’s accent, made derogatory comments about the plaintiff’s color and race, and initially refused to perform an examination. He ultimately deemed the plaintiff able to work with a medically monitored restriction. The plaintiff complained to his supervisor and asked to be assigned a new doctor, but his request was denied.

It is reported that at subsequent appointments, the physician continued to be demeaning and told the plaintiff to go back to his own country. Additionally, as the physician would not designate the plaintiff as unable to work, the plaintiff was forced to take unauthorized sick days, after which he was disciplined, placed on probation, and forced to forfeit sick days. The plaintiff ultimately filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the defendant, alleging multiple claims of discrimination under Title VII, including disparate treatment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss alleging, in part, that the plaintiff had not properly alleged facts indicating an adverse action.

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There are numerous local, state, and federal laws that protect employees from discrimination at work based on their membership in a protected class. For example, Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), all prohibit discrimination based on religion. An employee alleging discrimination in the workplace must not only show that he or she suffered adverse employment effects due to discriminatory practices, however, but also that the employer is covered by one of the laws prohibiting discrimination. For example, the NYCHRL provides broad protection against discrimination, but it only applies in limited circumstances, as demonstrated in a recent religious discrimination case decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If you are a victim of discrimination at work due to your religion, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted New York religious discrimination attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff began working for the defendant in June 2017. When the plaintiff began his employment, he entered into an agreement with the defendant for a religious accommodation. The plaintiff reported things were proceeding favorably until he emailed his manager regarding concerns that he was routinely scheduled to work on Sundays. Following his email, the plaintiff alleged he was treated differently than other employees, received written warnings, and was ultimately terminated. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging discrimination in violation of the NYCHRL, NYSHRL, and Title VII. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss on several grounds, including the assertion that the plaintiff did not allege facts sufficient to sustain his NYCHRL claim.

Scope of the NYCHRL

The laws of New York provide that the NYCHRL only applies to the residents of the five boroughs of New York City, and the people who work there. The boroughs refer to Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn only. Further, case law has established that a nonresident alleging a violation of the NYCHRL must prove that a defendant’s allegedly discriminatory acts impacted the nonresident within one of the boroughs. Moreover, New York courts have extended the rationale regarding the locus of the impact to apply to residents of New York as well. In other words, nonresidents and residents alike that allege discrimination under the NYCHRL must show that the discrimination impacted them in the borders of New York City. In the subject case, although the defendant was a resident of the Bronx, he alleged the discrimination occurred solely in White Plains. Thus, the court dismissed his NYCHRL claim.

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Although women have made considerable strides in the workplace, they, unfortunately, continue to face gender-based discrimination on a regular basis. In many cases, however, an employer will argue that allegedly disparate treatment had nothing to do with the employee’s gender, and will seek to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed.  Recently, a New York District Court discussed what a plaintiff’s alleging gender discrimination in violation of the  New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) must plead to withstand a motion to dismiss. If you believe your employer engaged in discriminatory conduct against you due to your gender, it is prudent to speak with a capable New York sex discrimination attorney regarding your potential damages.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked at a branch manager at the defendant brokerage firm for three and a half years. During her employment, she was discouraged from seeking a promotion and was passed over for a promotion in favor of a man who was less qualified. Her supervisor also told her to look for another job when she was about to get married, stating that as a married woman, her priorities would change. She was ultimately promoted, and a second supervisor told her that she would not be employed much longer if she started a family, gave her performance warnings, and reduced her responsibilities. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging sex discrimination in violation of the NYCHRL. In turn, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging the plaintiff failed to set forth facts sufficient to sustain her claim.

Sex Discrimination in Violation of the NYCHRL

A plaintiff seeking to pursue a sex discrimination claim under the NYCHRL must only allege that he or she was treated less favorably because of his or her sex. The courts broadly construe the NYCHRL in light of the remedial and broad purposes of the law. As such, the NYCHRL does not impose a duty on a plaintiff to prove that his or her employer took employment actions that were materially adverse or engaged in severe or pervasive conduct.

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