Female Crane Operator States Claim of Gender Discrimination (Wrongful Termination) Under the NYC Human Rights Law

In Schindler v. Plaza Constr. LLC, 2017 NY Slip Op 30029(U), 153291/2016 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Jan. 9, 2017), the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim of gender discrimination (wrongful termination) under the New York City Human Rights Law, pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1) (documentary evidence establishing a defense) and 3211(a)(7) (failure to state a claim).

In sum, plaintiff (a female licensed crane operator) alleged in her complaint that she was terminated because of her gender. She alleged that shortly after commencing work, her union informed her that one of the onsite contractors felt that she was “inadequate” for the job. This was, in the words of her complaint, “ridiculous”, in light of plaintiff’s crane operating experience.

In holding that plaintiff sufficiently stated a claim for gender discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law, the court explained:

Accepting plaintiffs allegations as true and affording them all favorable inferences, she sufficiently alleges that she was a member of a protected class (a woman), that she possessed requisite qualifications given her 12-years’ experience as a licensed crane operator, and that she was subject to unearned criticism, ridicule, and humiliation from Plaza’s superintendent, and ultimately fired, all on account of her gender. …

Plaintiff’s observation of a male crane operator doing her exact work after she was terminated warrants an inference of discrimination sufficient to proceed on her claim and notwithstanding whether she was actually “replaced” by the male.

In reaching this conclusion, the court cited authority (Jessamy v. City of New Rochelle, 292 F. Supp. 2d 498 (2003)) for the proposition that “the fact that a plaintiff was either not replaced by someone outside of his or her protected class, or even replaced at all, may weaken, but certainly does not eliminate, the inference of discrimination.”

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