Arabic-Language Reprimand Among Allegations Stating Cause of Action for National Origin Discrimination; Other Claims (Including Gender Discrimination and Battery) Also Sufficiently Alleged

In Kalafatoglu v. Beauty 35, Inc. (NY Sup. Ct. Qns. Cty. 711763/2015 Order dated Jan. 25, 2017), the court held that plaintiff stated claims for gender discrimination, national origin discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, and false arrest. (It held, however, that plaintiff did not sufficiently allege retaliation.)

The court summarized plaintiff’s allegations as follows:

In her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, in her employment, she was subordinate to both Defendants [Robert Kim] and [Samus Zen Liu] [both store managers] and that said Defendants had the right to alter Plaintiff’s terms of employment including her work hours, her pay, and her position. Plaintiff is a female, of Algerian national descent; she speaks Arabic and French. Defendant LIU is a male, of Chinese-American national origin. Plaintiff claims that Defendant LIU reprimanded her for speaking Arabic while exempting other employees in the store who spoke Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and any non-Arabic language. She claims that she was treated less favorably than other employees. At times, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant LIU threatened BEAUTY 35, employees, apparently with termination, if they spoke Arabic in the workplace. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants created a hostile work environment during her employment. Unable to tolerate the discrimination and sexual harassment, Plaintiff allegedly reported her concerns to the assistant manager at the store. Plaintiff claimed that she advised Defendant LIU that his inappropriate behavior made her uncomfortable. Plaintiff claimed that as a result of the hostile work environment created by the defendants, it caused her to cry and vomit; it also caused her severe bleeding (prenatal bleeding due to stress), which required emergency medical attention to prevent a miscarriage or harm to the fetus.

After summarizing the relevant law, the court concluded that plaintiff’s complaint states a cause of action for discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, and/or national origin under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

Plaintiff stated causes of action for assault and battery by alleging that one defendant “would continually and inappropriately touch” her.

The court dismissed plaintiff’s retaliation claim because she failed to allege that she participated in a “protected activity.”

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