Actress Plausibly Alleges Race-Based Hostile Work Environment Claims Under NYS and NYC Human Rights Laws (But Not Title VII)

In Moore, Kim v. Hadestown Broadway Limited Liability Company, No. 23-CV-4837 (LAP), 2024 WL 989843 (S.D.N.Y. March 7, 2024), the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (in an opinion authored by Judge Preska), inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s race-based hostile work environment claims. (I wrote about the court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s race-based disparate treatment claims here.)

While the court held that plaintiff did not state a hostile work environment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it found that she did so under the comparatively lenient New York State and City Human Rights Laws:

[U]nder the statutes’ more lenient pleading standard, the Court separately concludes that the Amended Complaint contains facts sufficient to sustain claims for a hostile work environment under the NYCHRL and the NYSHRL. The Amended Complaint alleges Defendant terminated Plaintiff in favor a white actress who replaced her in the cast, and that such termination came after two different authority figures within Hadestown indicated that Defendant intended to replace Plaintiff with a white woman. The Court has already concluded, supra, that these assertions suffice to sustain the disparate treatment theory of Plaintiff’s NYCHRL and NYSHRL discrimination claims because they allege plausibly that Defendant treated Plaintiff “less well” based upon Plaintiff’s membership in a protected class. [Citations omitted.]

The court concluded that since it must apply the same analysis to plaintiff’s NYSHRL and NYCHRL hostile work environment theory as it did to her disparate treatment theory, her hostile work environment claims were likewise sufficiently alleged.

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