Sexual Orientation Discrimination / Harassment Claim Against NYC Housing Authority Survives Summary Judgment

In Crump v. The New York City Housing Authority, No. 163138/2015, 2020 WL 5874852 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Oct. 02, 2020), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim that he was subject to discrimination and harassment based on his sexual orientation in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

To establish a discrimination claim under the NYCHRL, plaintiffs must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they have been treated less well than other employees based on a characteristic protected under the statute, such as sexual orientation. (Williams v. New York City Hous. Auth., 61 A.D.3d 62, 78 [1st Dept 2009].)

Here, plaintiff has introduced evidence that one of his supervisors, German, persistently harassed him on the basis of his sexual orientation (including the use of homophobic slurs), that German constantly changed his work assignments to make plaintiff’s job harder, and that German, acting out of discriminatory motivations, caused plaintiff to receive disciplinary write-ups that were either unwarranted or could properly have been resolved less formally. That is sufficient to create a fact issue warranting trial.

The court concluded by noting that while “defendants forcefully deny acting out of discriminatory motives and have introduced evidence that, if credited, would suggest that plaintiff was a poorly performing employee who took well-merited disciplinary action as harassment … the choice between these two interpretations of the evidence is for a jury, not this court.”

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