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Court Analyzes Sex Discrimination Under the New York City Human Rights Law

January 14, 2020

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.

Additionally, unlike other anti-discrimination statutes, the NYCHRL does not differentiate between hostile work environment, harassment, or discrimination claims. In other words, a plaintiff alleging a violation of the NYCHRL must merely set forth facts showing unequal treatment that arose out of a discriminatory bias, regardless of whether the plaintiff alleges the treatment resulted in harassment, a hostile work environment, or any other type of discrimination. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff alleged that she was harassed because she was a woman. As such, the court found the plaintiff’s allegations sufficient to support a claim that she was treated less favorably than male counterparts because she was a woman. Thus, the court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Meet With a New York Employment Attorney

If your employer discriminated against you based on your sex or any other protected class, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted employment discrimination attorney to discuss what redress you may be able to pursue. The experienced employment attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP have the knowledge and skills to help you seek a successful result, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us by calling our Manhattan office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 or by using our online form to schedule a free and confidential conference.

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