Court Dismisses NYPD Plaintiff’s Age, National Origin Discrimination Claims

In Pelepelin v The City of New York, No. 154246/2018, 2019 WL 2371880 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County June 04, 2019), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims, under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws, based on his age and national origin (Russian). It held that plaintiff failed to show an “adverse employment action,” as well as the requisite “inference of discrimination.”

From the decision:

As to the third element of these claims (“adverse employment action”), plaintiff cites (1) removal of his “number two” (the import of which is not described) (Dandrige aff., Exhibit A, at ¶ 42); (2) reassignment to “support assignments” or “secondary assignments” (id. ¶ 43, 51); (3) reassignment to City Hall “to wear a uniform to guard the City Hall gates” (id. ¶ 73); and (4) reassignment to protecting the Mayor’s daughter (id. ¶ 54). Significantly, plaintiff does not allege that any of the “reprimands resulted in any reduction in pay or privileges” (Gaffney v City of New York, 101 AD3d 410 [1st Dept 2012]; see Cubelo v City of New York, 168 AD3d 637 [1st Dept 2019] [perception of a demotion not an adverse employment action]). Ultimately, plaintiff’s allegations with respect to his work assignments do not constitute adverse employment actions but, rather, exhibit mere “alteration[s] of [his] responsibilities” (Silvis v City of New York, 95 AD3d 665 [1st Dept 2012]).

Additionally, plaintiff’s allegations fail as to the fourth element–that is, that the allegations give rise to an inference of discriminatory animus. First, plaintiff’s allegations regarding certain comments (id. ¶ 40 [“made derogatory comments directed at plaintiff”], ¶ 45 [“stay away from City Hall”], ¶ 47 [plaintiff is “too intimidating for the [Mayor’s] family”], ¶ 49 [defendant Pfeffer “does not want [plaintiff] anywhere close to the mayor”], ¶ 52 [plaintiff not “qualified for primary assignments”]) during the time period at issue do not arguably touch upon plaintiff’s protected status either as a 51-year-old person or a person of Russian national origin