In Blackman v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, NYC Transit Authority et al, No. 2019-09440, Index 502489, 2022 WL 1760133 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. June 01, 2022), the court, inter alia, held that the lower court properly denied defendants’ motions for summary judgment on plaintiff’s race-based failure-to-hire and failure-to-promote claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.
From the decision:
The NYSHRL and the NYCHRL prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race (see Golston–Green v. City of New York, 184 AD3d 24, 34). “To establish a prima facie case of discrimination on the basis of race under the NYSHRL, a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) the plaintiff is a member of a protected class, (2) the plaintiff was qualified to hold the position, (3) the plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action, and (4) the adverse action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination” (Ellison v. Chartis Claims, Inc., 178 AD3d 665, 667; see Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 305; Bilitch v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 194 AD3d 999, 1001). To prevail on a summary judgment motion in an action alleging discrimination in violation of the NYSHRL, “a defendant must demonstrate either the plaintiff’s failure to establish every element of intentional discrimination, or, having offered legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the challenged actions, the absence of a triable issue of fact as to whether the explanations were pretextual” (Reichman v. City of New York, 179 AD3d 1115, 1117 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Bilitch v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 194 AD3d at 1001).
Here, the Supreme Court properly determined that there were triable issues of fact as to whether the defendants’ proffered explanations for not hiring or promoting the plaintiff to a certain position, and for, instead, promoting a white woman to that position, were a pretext for intentional racial discrimination (see Lefort v Kingsbrook Jewish Med. Ctr., 203 AD3d 708; Reichman v. City of New York, 179 AD3d at 1117; see also Bilitch v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 194 AD3d at 1001).
Moreover, the defendants failed to demonstrate their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the claims of employment discrimination based on race in violation of the NYCHRL. The defendants failed to establish, prima facie, “that there was no evidentiary route that could allow a jury to find that discrimination on the basis of [race] played a role in their challenged actions” (Reichman v. City of New York, 179 AD3d at 1118). The defendants’ contention that the NYCTA is exempted from the requirements of the NYCHRL is without merit (see Tang v. New York City Tr. Auth., 55 AD3d 720, 720–721).
Accordingly, the Supreme Court properly denied those branches of the defendants’ motion which were for summary judgment dismissing the first cause of action, alleging discrimination in hiring, and the third cause of action, alleging discrimination in promotion.
The court did, however, hold that plaintiff’s claims for constructive discharge, hostile work environment, and aiding and abetting discrimination should have been dismissed.