Court Discusses Limited Scope of New York City Human Rights Law

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.

Discuss Your Harm with a Dedicated Employment Discrimination Attorney

Employees have the right to work without fear of discrimination, and if your rights were violated, you may be able to seek redress for your harm. The dedicated New York employment discrimination attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP are adept at aiding victims of discrimination in the pursuit of damages, and we will work tirelessly to help you see the best outcome available under the facts of your case. We can be reached at our Manhattan office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 or through our form online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.