Pregnancy Discrimination Award Confirmed Against Boro Park Senior Living Community LLC

In New York State Division of Human Rights v. Boro Park Senior Living Community, LLC, No. 2020-06565, 522888/19, 2023 N.Y. Slip Op. 00425, 2023 WL 1425578 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept., Feb. 01, 2023), the court, inter alia, confirmed the determination of the New York State Division of Human Rights awarding the complainant damages arising from discrimination based on sex (pregnancy) and familial status.

From the decision:

In order to establish a prima facie case of discrimination in employment, a plaintiff must show that (1) he or she is a member of a protected class; (2) he or she was qualified to hold the position; (3) he or she was terminated from employment or suffered another adverse employment action; and (4) the discharge or other adverse action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination” (Johnson v. North Shore Long Is. Jewish Health Sys., Inc., 137 A.D.3d 977, 978, 27 N.Y.S.3d 598; see Matter of New York State Div. of Human Rights v. Roadtec, Inc., 167 A.D.3d at 899–900, 90 N.Y.S.3d 252). The Human Rights Law makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual or discharge such person from employment on the basis of the individual’s sex, gender, or familial status (see Executive Law § 296[1][a]). Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is a form of gender, sex, and familial status discrimination (see Executive Law § 292[26][a]; Lefort v. Kingsbrook Jewish Med. Ctr., 203 A.D.3d 708, 164 N.Y.S.3d 183; Golston–Green v. City of New York, 184 A.D.3d 24, 34, 123 N.Y.S.3d 656; Matter of Argyle Realty Assoc. v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 65 A.D.3d at 283, 882 N.Y.S.2d 458).

Here, there is substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s determination that the complainant demonstrated, prima facie, that the respondent terminated her employment due to her pregnancy. The determination is supported by evidence that the complainant was discharged two days after she informed her supervisor that she was pregnant.

The court also held that the back pay award ($8,599.50) was supported by substantial evidence, the award for mental anguish ($15,000) is “reasonably related to the wrongdoing, supported by substantial evidence, and comparable to other awards for similar injuries,” and the awarded civil fine and penalty ($10,000) “was not so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness.”

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