Sexual Harassment Plaintiff Meets “Impact” Test of NYC Human Rights Law, Court Holds

In Chau v. Granger Management LLC et al, 357 F. Supp. 3d 276, 2019 WL 120766 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 7, 2019), the court, inter alia, held that a non-NYC resident met the “geographic” requirement of the the NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

The court explained the black-letter law: “In order for a nonresident to invoke the protections of the … NYCHRL, she must show that the discriminatory act had an impact within the boundaries of … [New York] City[.]”

While plaintiff “concedes that at all relevant times she lived in California” she argued “that the allegedly discriminatory acts had an impact in New York City because she was denied employment by a New York City employer, for a job based in New York City, because of her refusal to engage in sexual relations with” the individual defendant (who was alleged to be the principal and chief compliance officer of the entity defendants).

This, held the court, was sufficient:

Although Chau never worked in New York City for Granger or [the individual defendant], the job for which she alleges she was not hired in violation of the NYCHRL and NYSHRL would have offered her employment within New York City. The impact requirement is intended to protect those who work in the State and City. … Even [w]here 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 terms and conditions of plaintiff’s employment within the city. [Citations and internal quotation marks omitted.]

Based on this, the court concluded that “[b]ecause Chau alleges she would have taken a position in New York City had she not been discriminated against, she has satisfied the requirement that the alleged discriminatory act had an impact within the boundaries of New York City, regardless of whether the conduct occurred in California or New York City.”

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