Discrimination Claims Under Comparatively Broad NYC Human Rights Law Were Not Duplicative of State Law Claims

In Llanos v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 132 A.D.3d 823, 824, 18 N.Y.S.3d 666, 667 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dept. 2015), the Second Dept. reversed a state court decision dismissing plaintiff’s claims under section 8-107 of the NYC Administrative Code (aka the NYC Human Rights Law/NYCHRL).

Plaintiff alleged in her complaint that she was subjected to employment discrimination, quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment, retaliation, and battery.

The lower court dismissed plaintiff’s NYCHRL claims on the ground that “the underlying conduct complained of [wa]s already encompassed in [the New York State Human Rights Law]” and subsequently denied plaintiff’s motion for reargument.

Citing Williams v. NYC Hous. Auth., 61 AD3d 62 (2009), the Second Department held that this was error:

Contrary to the court’s determination, the [NYCHRL] claims were not duplicative of the first and second causes of action in the complaint, which alleged violations of the New York State Human Rights Law, and should not have been dismissed on that basis. Rather, the [NYCHRL] explicitly requires an independent liberal construction analysis … targeted to understanding and fulfilling … the [NYCHRL’s] uniquely broad and remedial purposes, which go beyond those of counterpart state or federal civil rights laws.

The “counterpart state or federal civil rights laws” include the New York State Human Rights Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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