Citing “Stray Remarks” Doctrine, Court Dismisses Caregiver Status Discrimination Claim

In Nelson v. WW Intern., Inc., No. 155745/2020, 2024 WL 32208823 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County June 28, 2024), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s caregiver status discrimination claim under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

Defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s claims for discrimination based on caregiver status is granted. There are no facts which indicate that plaintiff suffered any discrimination based on his status as a caregiver (Martinez v City of New York, 206 AD3d 532 [1st Dept 2022]). Plaintiff has made no showing that anyone prevented him from taking parental leave or made any inappropriate comments towards him about taking parental leave. Although Plaintiff claims upon return from parental leave, he was told that people were “uncomfortable” with him being out of the office, a stray remark such as this is insufficient to give rise to an inference of discrimination (Tihan v Apollo Management Holdings, L.P., 201 AD3d 557 [1st Dept 2022] [stray remarks do not support an inference of discrimination under the circumstances] citing Serdans v New York and Presbyterian Hosp., 112 AD3d 449 [1st Dept 2013]).

The court concluded by noting that “[p]laintiff conceded that when he decided to take parental leave, WW was supportive of his choice, and it was his own choice not to take the full amount of parental leave available.”

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