Plaintiff May Continue Claims in NY Arising From Harassment in Russia

The New York Supreme Court decided, in Clark v. Allen & Overy LLP, that plaintiff Deidre Holmes Clark may continue to litigate, in New York, her claims arising from alleged harassment in defendant law firm Allen & Overy’s Moscow office.

Executive Law §298-a[1] provides that the New York State Human Rights Law applies “to an act committed outside [New York] against a resident of this state, if such act would constitute an unlawful discriminatory practice if committed within [New York].”

The relevant issue was whether plaintiff was a “resident” of New York within the meaning of the statute.  The court found that she was.  For purposes of the Human Rights Law, “residence” equated with “domicile”, and plaintiff presented evidence, including voter registration and tax records, showing her intention to maintain New York as her domicile (notwithstanding her expressed intention to move to London).

The court did, however, dismiss – as failing to state a cause of action – plaintiff’s claim that she was fired for posting fictional material online, in light of New York’s well-established “at will” employment doctrine.

 

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