Failure-to-Hire Race Discrimination Claim, Based in Part on Cardi B Comment, Dismissed

In Godwin v. Young Adult Institute, Inc., No. 154663/2021, 2023 WL 7002751 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Oct. 24, 2023), the court granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s race-based failure-to-hire claim asserted under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

Accepting the allegations in the [complaint] as true and providing plaintiff with every favorable inference, the court finds that the FAC does not set forth a legally cognizable cause of action, warranting dismissal pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7). While plaintiff asserts that she was treated less well than her non-African American applicants during the hiring process because she was subjected to “unacceptable racist comments” during an initial phone interview with Ramnarine, the [complaint] is devoid of any factual allegations that support such a conclusion.

A claim of racial discrimination made pursuant to NYCHRL sec. 8-107(1) requires a plaintiff to plead facts sufficient to show differential treatment of any degree based on race (see Harrington v City of NY, 157 AD3d 582, 584 [1st Dept 2018]). Here, plaintiff’s allegations of racial discrimination consist of bare legal conclusions with no factual specificity that fail to explain why being referred to as “ratched” like “Cardi B” or sounding “like a criminal” during an initial phone interview are racist comments. Moreover, plaintiff participated in further interviews and was hired by YAI on a conditional basis pending required background checks.

Even if plaintiff had a cause of action such that the FAC could withstand the branch of the motion made pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), the only basis for the withdrawal of the offer of employment was that the Justice Center required YAI to withdraw plaintiff’s conditional letter of employment due to her criminal history, and had absolutely nothing to do with any alleged racist comments, warranting dismissal of the [complaint] pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1).

Notably, the plaintiff had voluntarily withdrawn their claims alleging discrimination on the basis of plaintiff’s criminal history.

Share This: