NYC Human Rights Law Claim Dismissed; “Impact” Not Felt in New York City

A recent case, Amaya v. Ballyshear LLC, 2018 WL 6065493 (EDNY Nov. 20, 2018), discusses the geographical reach of the New York City Human Rights Law.

In this case, the Plaintiff – a former housekeeper who lives in Southampton, New York – claims that defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination and retaliation in violation of the NYCHRL.

The Defendants argued that as a result of the Plaintiff’s failure to show that the alleged conduct had an “impact” within New York City, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, with the result that plaintiff fails to successfully plead a NYCHRL claim. The court agreed.

From the decision:

To state a NYCHRL claim, a plaintiff is required to “allege that he was discriminated against by the defendant within New York City.” Salvatore v. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, No. 98-CV-2450, 1999 WL 796172, at *16 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 1999); accord Hoffman v. Parade Publ’ns, 15 N.Y.3d 285, 291, 933 N.E.2d 744, 907 N.Y.S.2d 145 (2010) (holding that to establish a NYCHRL claim, a plaintiff must “plead and prove that the alleged discriminatory conduct had an impact in New York”). To do this, the Court reviews “the location of the impact of the offensive conduct.” Salvatore, 1999 WL 796172, at *16. In other words, “it is the site of impact, not the place of origination, that determines where discriminatory acts occur.” …

In the instant case, the Plaintiff pleads that she is a resident of Southampton, New York on Long Island. At the time of the alleged conduct, she was employed as a housekeeper at Ballyshear, Michael Bloomberg’s Southampton Residence (“Ballyshear”). Amaya does not contend that she ever worked in New York City while employed by the Corporate Defendants. All of the discriminatory conduct occurred at Ballyshear, far from the five boroughs of New York City.

“Where the discriminatory conduct occurs outside the geographical bounds of New York City, courts have found that the impact requirement is satisfied if the plaintiff alleges that the conduct has affected the term and conditions of the plaintiff’s employment within the city.”

Plaintiff alleged four connections to NYC: (1) that the decision to hire and fire her was made there; (2) that she attended several meetings in the Corporate Defendants’ NYC office; (3) that supervisors in the NYC office interacted with her; and (4) that there was a possibility of her working at other locations in NYC.

After reviewing plaintiff’s contentions in detail, the court concluded that “when the Plaintiff’s contentions are viewed together, the impact of the alleged discrimination was felt exclusively on Long Island and the Plaintiff has no basis to invoke the protections of the NYCHRL.”

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