JetBlue Pilot’s Retaliation Claim Under the NYCHRL Survives Dismissal

From Thior v. Jetblue Airways Corp., No. 161506/2017, 2021 WL 2165645, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 31818(U), 25–26 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County May 27, 2021):

Plaintiff argues that within a month of commencing this action in late December 2017, having previously brought claims before the EEOC and the federal district court, and within about four and a half months after he filed his September EEO complaint concerning his suspension and pay loss–all protected activities under the statute–defendants retaliated by improperly requiring him to attend a line check on his day off and then issuing a two-day dequalification in advance of his participation in the line check. Plaintiff contends that defendants were aware of the commencement of this action, and persuasively argues that at this stage, he need only allege that the corporate defendant was generally aware of his protected activities and need not show actual awareness by the specific employees who scheduled his line check or who dequalified him (see Cosgrove v Sears Roebuck & Co., 9 F3d at 1039). …

Although defendants contend that the improper scheduling of the line check on plaintiff’s day off, and the two-day dequalification issued without justification, at worst caused an inconvenience for plaintiff, and were in no way retaliatory, it cannot be said that a jury could not conclude under the circumstances, namely defendants’ docking two days’ pay within a month of plaintiff’s commencing this action, after having previously suspended him for two weeks without pay, that these actions were reasonably likely to deter him from engaging in further protected activity (see **26 Williams v City of New York, 61 AD3d at 71; Fletcher v Dakota, Inc., 99 AD3d at 51-52).6 Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a causal connection between the protected activity of commencing this action, and the alleged retaliatory action (see Administrative Code § 8-107 [7]). Accordingly, defendants’ motion to dismiss the claim of retaliation is denied.

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