St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This holiday, a religious and cultural holiday held on March 17 commemorating Ireland’s patron saint, is celebrated by many, especially here in New York City.

While the days of “No Irish Need Apply” are long gone, it is possible that some may experience discrimination because of their Irish background, heritage, or origin.

For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law expressly prohibit discrimination based on, e.g., “national origin.” Those statutes, as well as another federal law (42 U.S.C. § 1981) likewise prohibit discrimination based on race. See Village of Freeport v. Barrella, 814 F.3d 594, 605 n.25 (2d Cir. 2016) (suggesting that “a hypothetical white applicant whose ancestry is one-half Hispanic and one-half Irish … could, in principle, bring a race-discrimination suit if an employer refuses to hire him because he is Irish-American, and instead hires a white Italian-American”).

Conversely, preferring an Irish-American employee may give rise to a claim of discrimination by another employee. See Deravin v. Kerik, 335 F.3d 195, 202–03 (2d Cir. 2003) (“[W]e conclude that the absence of an explicit reference to race discrimination in Deravin’s EEOC complaint is not dispositive, because an allegation of preferential treatment for Irish–American employees fairly encompasses a claim of discrimination against minority employees.”).

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