Employment Discrimination Complaint Dismissed; Allegation That Plaintiff Was Forced to Perform Tasks Outside Job Description Held Insufficient

In Izuogu v. Aramark Food Services, No. 100625/2022, 2023 WL 5628205 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Aug. 31, 2023), the court  granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims.

The decision is instructive both as to the technical requirements for pleading a cause of action in a New York State Court complaint, as well as what must be alleged to state a cognizable discrimination claim:

“Statements in a pleading shall be sufficiently particular to give the court and parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved and the material elements of each cause of action or defense” (CPLR § 3013). Separate causes of action shall be separately stated and numbered (CPLR 3014). A court may consider affidavits submitted by a plaintiff to remedy any defects in a complaint (Leon v Martinez, 84 NY2d 83, 88 [1994]).

The Court finds that the Complaint fails to meet the requirements of CPLR §§ 3013 and 3014. The Complaint both fails to enumerate any causes of action or to allege specific facts that could conceivably support any cause of action. Although Plaintiff apparently alleges some form of workplace mistreatment, his Complaint is largely comprised of bare legal conclusions and vague factual allegations. The Court is unable to discern what causes of action are being pled and the legal basis for Plaintiff’s purported claims. Plaintiff’s affidavit in opposition fails to remedy this defect as it does not give the Court or Defendant any additional notice of the occurrences intended to be proved in relation to any specified cause of action.

As to the merits, the court explained that, even if it were to construe plaintiff’s complaint as seeking specific relief under the broad and remedial New York City Human Rights Law, plaintiff’s complaint still fell short. Notably, the court observed, “the Complaint alleges that Plaintiff was made to perform tasks beyond the scope of his job description by Defendant’s client, and that Defendant failed to act in response to Plaintiff’s complaints” and that “[t]hese facts are insufficient to sustain any claim under the City Human Rights Law.”

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