Sex/Gender Discrimination Claims Sufficiently Alleged; Comments Included “Calendar Girl” Remark

In Loth v. City of New York, No. 160925/2021, 2023 WL 3456623 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County May 15, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s gender-based discrimination claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision:

At this early stage of the litigation, dismissal would be inappropriate as the plaintiff has sufficiently pled claims for gender discrimination pursuant to the SHRL and CHRL. Pursuant to the SHRL and CHRL, a plaintiff alleging gender discrimination must allege that: “(1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she was qualified for the position; (3) that she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) the adverse employment action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.” (Forrest v Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 313 [2004]). Under the CHRL, discrimination claims should be construed broadly in favor of the plaintiff, to the extent such a construction is reasonably possible. (See Arnold Melman, MD v Montefiore Med. Ctr., 98 AD3d 107, 112 [1st Dept 2012]). Here, the plaintiff has plausibly alleged that she was suffered to adverse employment actions when Defendant denied her promotional opportunities and/or salary raises and hindered her ability to enroll in medical classes. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleged that defendant also: (1) interfered with her ability to apply for an available Hazardous Materials Instructor position for which she was qualified; (2) increased her workload by assigning her to work overtime shifts for which she never confirmed her availability; and (3) refused to provide her with evaluations and recommendations required for her medic school program, which in turn delayed her enrollment in that program.

These allegations are more than sufficient to plead that the plaintiff suffered adverse employment actions within the framework of both the SHRL and the CHRL. Under the SHRL, an adverse employment action requires a showing of a “materially adverse change in terms and conditions of employment.” (Bilitch v New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., 194 AD3d 999, 1001 [2d Dept 2021]). Under the more plaintiff-favorable CHRL, a plaintiff need only allege that she was subjected to an unfavorable change or treated less well than other employees based upon her gender (see Local 621 v New York City Department of Transportation, 178 AD3d 78, 81 [1st Dept 2019]; Harrington v City of New York, 157 AD3d 582, 584 [1st Dept 2018]). The complaint easily satisfies both standards.

Additionally, the plaintiff has sufficiently pled claims from which reasonable inferences can be drawn to sustain gender discrimination claims under the SHRL and CHRL. See id. Specifically, Plaintiff has pled that: (1) Tiberi referred to Plaintiff as a “calendar girl” to other FDNY members in a disparaging manner; (2) harassed other female employees; and (3) subjected female employees, including Plaintiff, to disparate treatment in the terms and conditions of their employment as compared to similarly situated male employees.

Based on this, the court concluded that “a reasonable finder of fact could infer that Tiberi discriminated against Plaintiff based upon her gender and therefore, Plaintiff has sufficiently stated a claim for gender discrimination under the SHRL and CHRL.”

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