Arabic/Middle Eastern-Based Discrimination Claims Survive Dismissal

In Almasri v. City of New York – N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ., No. 155062/2021, 2023 WL 3819099 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County June 05, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims.

From the decision:

The Court now turns to the branch of DOE’s motion, pursuant to CPLR ยง 3211(a)(7), to dismiss plaintiffs employment discrimination claims. To state a claim for discrimination under the NYCHRL, plaintiff must allege that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she was qualified to hold the position; (3) she was adversely or differently treated based on her protected characteristic in a way that disadvantaged her; and (4) such treatment occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.

Defendants do not dispute that plaintiff is a member of a protected class based on her race, nationality, and disability status. Neither do defendants dispute that her termination constitutes a disadvantageous treatment under the NYCHRL. Rather, they argue that this claim must be dismissed because plaintiff has not alleged facts permitting an inference of discriminatory intent on the part of defendants. The Court disagrees. Under the liberal pleading standards for NYCHRL claims, the complaint’s allegations that plaintiff faced frequent criticism and discipline for conduct that colleagues who were not Arabic or Middle Eastern did not face and was denied privileges that other colleagues received are, taken together with her allegation that supervisor made mocking comment about Arabic names, is sufficient to permit an inference of discriminatory intent. Accordingly, defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs employment discrimination claims is denied.

[Cleaned up.]

The court did, however, grant defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s retaliation, hostile work environment, and failure-to-accommodate claims.

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