Retaliation Claim Survives Summary Judgment; Demotion Closely Followed Complaint of Age Discrimination

In Rogoff v. Long Island University, No. 510388/2019, 2023 WL 4365404 (N.Y. Sup Ct, Kings County July 06, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claim of retaliation asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision.

Likewise, the record is adequate for plaintiff’s unlawful-retaliation claim under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL to go forward, insofar as predicated on the ouster/demotion. The evidence (when viewed in a light most favorable to plaintiff as the non-movant) shows that: (1) he engaged in a protected activity (namely, his complaint of age discrimination, among other topics, to Trustee Silvestri); (2) defendant was aware that he participated in such an activity; (3) he was demoted to the rank of adjunct instructor; and (4) there is a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action. The temporal proximity of plaintiffs complaint to Trustee Silvestri and his swift demotion less than one month later reflects the requisite causal connection (see Krebaum, 138 AD3d 528, 528-529). Although plaintiff was subsequently reinstated to the rank of full professor, it is for the fact-finder at trial – rather than for this Court at the summary-judgment stage – to assess the merits and value of plaintiff’s alleged reputational loss and other claimed damages.

The court also denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s age discrimination claim.

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