Retaliation Claims Dismissed Absent Allegation of “Protected Activity”

In Lazarine v. Allied Universal Event Services, No. 153143/2023, 2023 WL 4546517, 2023 N.Y. Slip Op. 32374(U) (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County July 14, 2023), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claims of retaliation asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision:

Counts IV, V, and VIII of the Amended Complaint allege retaliation under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL. In order to state a claim for retaliation a Plaintiff must allege that she (a) complained of conduct that would violate the applicable law; and (b) that the protected activity bore a causal relationship with an adverse employment action. See Lum v. Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y., 209 A.D.3d 434, 434 (1st Dep’t 2022) (upholding the dismissal of a complaint that lacked any details or factual context that would support an inference that protected activity was causally related to an adverse employment action); Sims v. Trustees of Columbia Univ., 168 A.D.3d 622, 622 (1st Dep’t 2019) (upholding the dismissal of a retaliation claim where there were no allegations that the Plaintiff complained to defendant that he was discriminated against because of a protected characteristic). While Plaintiff alleges that she made several complaints to her employer, she fails to allege that any of those complaints were about disparate treatment on the basis of a protected class. In one instance, Plaintiff alleges that she complained of unspecified discrimination, but that complaint occurred after she alleges she had already been fired.

The court thus concluded that since plaintiff failed to alleged that she engaged in a “protected activity”, her retaliation claims were due to be dismissed.

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