Pregnancy Discrimination / Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Dismissal Under the “Continuing Violation” Doctrine

In Ruiz et al v. New Avon LLC, 18-CV-9033, 2019 WL 4601847 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 2019), the court, inter alia, dismissed a plaintiff’s pregnancy discrimination (hostile work environment) claim upon application of the “continuing violation” doctrine.

Initially, the court dismissed plaintiff’s discrimination claims, based on discrete acts, as time-barred.

Nevertheless, Judge Broderick continued:

However, I find that Krstanoska plausibly alleges a hostile working environment that began with the discovery of her first pregnancy in August 2014 and continued through her return to work in October 2015 and her second pregnancy, which she discovered in November 2015. Krstanoska alleges that during her first pregnancy, she was repeatedly “harass[ed],” “belittled and demeaned” by at least one of her supervisors because she refused to work with hazardous chemicals known to pose significant health risks to pregnant women. After Krstanoska returned from maternity leave in October 2015, the harassment continued and she was repeatedly criticized for taking time during the workday to pump breast milk while she was breastfeeding. The mistreatment escalated during her second pregnancy, which began in November 2015, and continued through her constructive discharge in April 2016. I find that these allegations, many of which relate to conduct occurring within the statute of limitations, suggest a pattern of hostility toward pregnant women and nursing mothers sufficient to constitute a continuing violation.

In reaching this conclusion, the court approvingly cited Blair v. L.I. Child & Family Dev. Servs., Inc., No. 16-CV-1591, 2017 WL 722112 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 31, 2017), as an example of a decision “dismissing plaintiff’s claims of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation based on discrete events predating the limitations period but permitting her hostile work environment claims to survive.”

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