City Law Sex Discrimination Claim, Based on Alleged Sexist Remarks Including Being Told to “Smile More”, Survives Summary Judgment

In Edelman v. NYU Langone Health System, 21 Civ. 502 (LGS), 2022 WL 4537972 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2022), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of sex-based discrimination asserted under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

Summary judgment is denied on one branch of Plaintiff’s NYCHRL discrimination claim because a reasonable jury could find based on several insensitive remarks that Defendants treated Plaintiff less well because of her sex. While the NYCHRL should not operate as a general civility code, it is also true that a single comment may be actionable in appropriate circumstances. Construing the evidence in its totality and in Plaintiff’s favor, we conclude that a jury could reasonably find that Defendants’ behavior constituted more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences, and that it was sexually-charged conduct that subjected Plaintiff to a different set of employment conditions than her male colleagues. For example, Defendants offer no reason to think that a male doctor who was short with coworkers would be reprimanded at all, including being told to “smile more” at work, or that a male doctor who objected to sharing his office would be belittled the same way Plaintiff was. [Cleaned up.]

The court concluded by noting that while defendants denied the comments at issue and attacked plaintiff’s credibility, that presented a factual dispute that must be resolved by a jury.

Share This: