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Articles Posted in Religious Discrimination

People discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of religion are often able to pursue claims against their employers for violating Title VII.  Prior to filing a civil lawsuit, however, an aggrieved employee must exhaust any administrative remedies, and the failure to do so may result in the dismissal of the case. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, in which the court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s religious discrimination claims. If you were subject to unjust treatment in the workplace because of your religion, you might be able to recover damages, and it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a volunteer firefighter for the defendant fire department. He was suspended following allegations that he bullied another firefighter. At the completion of the investigation, he was removed from the defendant’s membership rolls. He then filed an employment discrimination claim against the defendant, alleging he was treated adversely due to his religion in violation of Title VII. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on the basis that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required under the law. The court allowed limited discovery on the issue prior to ruling on the matter.

Consequences of the Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

Prior to pursuing a Title VII claim in federal court, an aggrieved employee must generally exhaust his or her administrative remedies by filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The purpose of this requirement is to give the administrative agency the opportunity to investigate the claim and potentially mediate and take remedial action. Continue reading

In any employment discrimination case, the plaintiff must establish a nexus between his or her membership in a protected class, and the adverse employment action suffered by the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered discrimination due to his or her race, age, gender, or another protected class, and if a plaintiff fails to do so, his or her claim may be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court dismissed the religious discrimination claims of a plaintiff who was not represented by an attorney. If you were discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of your religion, it is advisable to speak with a capable New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover compensation.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, his former employers, alleging several claims, including employment discrimination on the basis of religion. The plaintiff filed his lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Upon review, the court granted the motion.

Sufficient Allegations to Withstand a Motion to Dismiss

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to fire, refuse to promote or to discriminate against an employee in any fashion due to the employee’s religion. The court explained that to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint alleging religious discrimination must set forth adequate facts that, if accepted as true, establish a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.

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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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