Hispanic Native American Man’s Discrimination Claims Survive Dismissal

In Rivera v. The Fortune Soc., Inc., No. 150022/2023, 2024 WL 1532756 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County April 9, 2024), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

To state a prima facie case of discrimination under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL, plaintiff must allege that: [1] he is a member of a protected class; [2] he was qualified to hold the position; [3] he suffered an adverse employment action (NYSHRL) or an action that disadvantaged him (NYCHRL); and [4] the adverse action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Meanwhile, a hostile work environment under the NYSHLR exists [w]hen the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment. By contrast, the standard for a hostile work environment under the NYCHRL is more liberal, requiring a showing that the plaintiff was treated less well than other employees because of a protected characteristic[.] …

The court finds that plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to survive defendants’ motion to dismiss. Plaintiff alleges that he was a member of a protected class, qualified to hold the position that he was in and both suffered adverse employment actions or actions that disadvantaged him. Specifically, plaintiff claims that he was given negative performance evaluations without basis, was underpaid in comparison to similarly situated non-Native American and/or non-Hispanic coworkers, was replaced by a younger report who was favored and groomed after plaintiff’s alleged constructive discharge and that Chavis micromanaged his work and made public, disparaging comments about plaintiff with regards to, inter alia, his Native American race/national origin. The court rejects defendants’ contention that these acts are insufficient to give rise to an inference of discrimination. Indeed, at this stage of the litigation, plaintiff need only allege sufficient facts when reading the complaint in the most favorable light, a burden plaintiff has easily met here.

[Citations, internal quotation marks omitted.]

The court continued to hold that plaintiff likewise sufficiently alleged claims for retaliation.

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