NYC Human Rights Law “Interference” Claim Survives Dismissal

In Mitura v. Finco Services, Inc. et al, 23-CV-2879 (VEC), 2024 WL 232323 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 22, 2024), the court, inter alia, held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged an “interference” claim under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

The NYCHRL makes it unlawful “to coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with, … any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, … any right granted or protected” under the statute. N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8–107(19). In order to state a claim for interference, a plaintiff must allege “[t]hreats.” Roelcke v. Zip Aviation, LLC, No. 15-CV-6284, 2018 WL 1792374, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2018) (citation omitted). See also Sletten v. LiquidHub, Inc., No. 13-CV-1146, 2014 WL 3388866, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. July 11, 2014) (citation omitted) (holding that a “threat” is the creation of “[a]n impression of impending injury”).

The Amended Complaint alleges that when Defendants learned that Plaintiff intended to file this action, they threatened to “seek sanctions against [her] for her forthcoming court filing,” and threatened to countersue, claiming that she would be in breach of her confidentiality obligations if she disclosed salaries in her complaint. Out of an abundance of caution, Plaintiff omitted specific salary information from the complaint. Defendants do not address these allegations.

Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendants threatened to seek sanctions against her and to countersue were threats intended to coerce and intimidate her into not pursuing this litigation. Although courts “have no obligation to entertain pure speculation and conjecture, the Court can reasonably infer that Plaintiff was threatened inasmuch as she withheld any specific salary information from the Amended Complaint.

[Citations, omitted.]

Based on this, the court held that plaintiff’s claim is sufficiently plausible to survive a motion to dismiss.

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