Decision: NYPD Detective’s Race, National Origin, and Gender Discrimination Claims Proceed

In Santiago-Mendez v. City of New York, 2016 WL 416877 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. Feb. 4, 2016), the court held that plaintiff’s non-time-barred claims for race, national origin, and gender discrimination as against the City of New York and two individual defendants should not have been dismissed. Here is the Order appealed from; here is plaintiff’s complaint.

From the decision:

[P]laintiff[, a Hispanic woman and retired NYPD detective,] sufficiently stated the first two elements of an employment discrimination claim under both the State and City [Human Rights Laws] — namely, that she is a member of a protected class and was well qualified for her position. Plaintiff also sufficiently stated the third element—that she was adversely or differently treated. In particular, plaintiff alleges that, after she applied for terminal leave in November 2010, Captain Kelly restricted her overtime, causing her to lose at least 6 hours of overtime hours and wages. [A] decrease in wage or salary constitutes a materially adverse change in the terms and conditions of employment. Plaintiff’s assertion that, in February 2012, she was denied promotion to Detective 2nd Grade also adequately alleges an adverse employment action.

Plaintiff sufficiently alleged the fourth element of her claim—that the adverse action was made under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Plaintiff alleged, among other things, that Captain Kelly told a Hispanic male detective that he “should go back to landscaping” and that she was shut out of meetings because she was not part of the “Boys’ Club”.

As to plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, the court held that the “most offensive acts” were time-barred and that plaintiff failed to “allege or explain” how the non-time-barred acts were attributable to defendants.

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