Employment Discrimination Claims Dismissed; Complaint Did Not Allege Non-Preferential Treatment, Age- or Gender-Based Remarks, Etc.

In James v. Gurneys Inn Resort & Spa Ltd., No. 16-CV-6813(JS)(ARL), 2017 WL 1483528 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 25, 2017), the court held that plaintiff’s complaint did not plausibly allege employment discrimination based on his gender, age, or disability.

“The sine qua non of a gender-based [or age or disability-based] discriminatory action claim under Title VII [or the ADEA or the ADA] is that the discrimination must be because of a sex [or age or diability].” (Emphasis in original.)

The court’s reasoning is instructive, since it provides an indication of what courts look for when assessing discrimination complaints for pleading sufficiency. From the decision:

Here, Plaintiff’s Complaint does not allege that he was subjected to any gender, age, or disability-based adverse employment action nor are there any facts set forth in the Complaint from which the Court could reasonably infer a gender-based, age-based, or disability-based motivation for such action. It does not allege, for example, that any female or younger employees were given preferential treatment when compared to Plaintiff or that Plaintiff was subjected to any specific gender-based or age-based remarks that may demonstrate a discriminatory animus. Nor does it allege that Defendant did not accommodate Plaintiff’s disability, assuming for purposes of this Memorandum and Order that Plaintiff is, in fact, disabled under the ADA. Indeed, beyond the date of Plaintiff’s birth and the identification of “high blood pressure” as his claimed disability, the Complaint is devoid of any facts in support of an age-based or disability-based discrimination claim. Although Plaintiff is not required to plead specific facts to show a prima facie case of discrimination, … dismissal is nevertheless appropriate where the plaintiff failed to allege even the basic elements of a discriminatory action claim.

The court did, however, dismiss plaintiff’s claims without prejudice, and gave him an opportunity to file an amended complaint to correct the pleading deficiencies.

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