Sexual Harassment & Religious/National Origin Discrimination Claims Survive Dismissal

In Shakiri v. Subin Associates LLP, No. 650961/2019, 2019 WL 5028690 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Oct. 03, 2019), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint, which alleges religious discrimination, national origin discrimination, and sexual harassment under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

In her complaint, plaintiff alleges, among other things, that she was subjected to derogatory comments about Muslims, and that her supervisor engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, such as referring to her as a “babe” and putting his hand on her knee.

From the decision:

The law on the dismissal of a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211 is clear and well-settled Dismissal pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) is warranted where, after accepting the facts alleged as true and according plaintiff the benefit of every possible favorable inference, the court determines that the allegations do not fit within any cognizable legal theory. Leon v Martinez, supra, 84 NY2d at 87-88; see also EBC I, Inc. v Goldman, Sachs & Co., 5 NY3d 11, 19(2005) (“[w]hether a plaintiff can ultimately establish its allegations is not part of the calculus” in determining a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action). A complaint survives a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action if it gives the court and the parties “notice” of what is intended to be proved and the material elements of a cause of action. CPLR 3013.

Viewing the complaint in its entirety, plaintiff has pleaded facts sufficient to survive a CPLR 3211(a)(7) motion to dismiss. Moreover, this Court finds the individual defendants’ assertions that they cannot legally aid and abet their own discriminatory conduct unavailing, as plaintiff has pleaded allegations that the individual defendants aided and abetted each other’s discriminatory conduct.

The court also dismissed defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint under CPLR 3211(a)(8), finding that plaintiff properly effectuated service upon defendants – specifically, by serving defendants’ receptionist at their place of business.

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