First Department Revives Race Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment Claims

In Serrano v. The City of New York, No. 2023-05750, 2095, 810438/22, 2024 N.Y. Slip Op. 02156, 2024 WL 1723814 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., Apr. 23, 2024), the Appellate Division, First Department reversed a lower court’s order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims of race discrimination asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision:

Plaintiffs’ employment discrimination claims under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws and hostile work environment claim under the New York City Human Rights Law were improperly dismissed for failure to sufficiently allege discriminatory animus (see Harrington v. City of New York, 157 AD3d 582, 584 [1st Dept 2018]; Reichman v. City of New York, 179 AD3d 1115, 1118 [2d Dept 2020], lv denied 36 NY3d 904 [2021] ). Although the comments of the now-dismissed defendants are not properly considered, and the sole remaining individual defendant is not alleged to have made any even arguably discriminatory statements, plaintiffs raised an inference of animus through their allegations of differential treatment of similarly situated white officers in terms of assignments, evaluations, and placement on performance monitoring. Plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that the white officers were similarly situated. The allegations of differential treatment were also sufficiently specific and factual in nature.

Accordingly, plaintiff’s claims will continue.

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