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New York Court Discusses Facts Sufficient to Sustain a Religious Discrimination Case

May 4, 2020

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.

In the subject case, the plaintiff alleged that he was employed by the defendants as an administrative assistant in 2012 and that in 2013 he received a warning for viewing pornography on his computer while at work. In 2014, the plaintiff began practicing Santeria and dressing in all white. Later that year, he was suspended and ultimately terminated for viewing pornography on his work computer.

The court explained that while a plaintiff alleging religious discrimination in the workplace does not have to set forth specific facts regarding each element of discrimination, the plaintiff must nonetheless plead facts that are adequate to provide the defendant notice of the claim and to state a plausible claim. Here, however, the court found that the plaintiff failed to assert any facts that would establish a nexus between his religion and the purported discrimination. As such, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Speak With a Trusted New York Attorney

If you were discriminated against by your employer due to your religion, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted New York employment discrimination attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue. The knowledgeable attorneys of Gerstman Schwartz LLP will gather any facts or evidence in support of your claim for damages and craft effective arguments on your behalf, to provide you with a strong chance of a successful result. You can reach us at our Manhattan office by calling (212) 227-7070 or at our Garden City office by calling (516) 880-8170 or via our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting.

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