Complaint States Claim For Gender Discrimination Under the NYC Human Rights Law; Derogatory Comments About Women Were More Than “Petty Slights”

In O’Rourke v. National Foreign Trade Council, No. 10104, 156502/16, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 07489, 2019 WL 5232866 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., Oct. 17, 2019), the court unanimously affirmed the lower court’s decision (by Supreme Court judge Alan Marin) to deny defendant’s motion to dismiss for gender discrimination and retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law.

As to plaintiff’s gender discrimination claim, the court explained:

The complaint states a claim for gender discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (HRL) (see Administrative Code of the City of N.Y. § 8–107[1][a][3] ) by alleging … that plaintiff’s supervisor treated her less well than other employees under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination on the basis of gender … .

Plaintiff alleges that her supervisor insulted, excluded, and concealed information from her, and denied her requests for a raise; that he made numerous statements that at least arguably reflect gender-based animus, including, “You women are such sensitive flowers”; he “only supports humble and meek women”; plaintiff was an “in your face woman”; he would “probably” treat male employees differently, including by grooming them for advancement; and his perception of plaintiff as “a smart confident accomplished woman with an opinion might be the reason for [his] harsh treatment of her.”

The court concluded that plaintiff’s “supervisor’s alleged remarks, which rise above the level of nonactionable petty slights or inconveniences, establish differential treatment.”

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