October 2014

The Eastern District’s recent decision in Tate v. Rocketball Ltd (decided 9/18/14) provides some insight into how courts assess discrimination claims arising outside the “typical” employer-employee relationship/setting. Plaintiff, a gay male, worked for a restaurant. Part of his job duties included bringing food and drinks to the Houston Rockets’ locker room while they were at Barclays Center…

Read More Waiter’s Sexual Orientation Discrimination/Hostile Work Environment Claims Dismissed Against Non-Employer Houston Rockets’ Owner
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In Cole v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., decided Sept. 30, 2014, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s discrimination (hostile work environment) and retaliation claims. As to plaintiff’s discrimination claim, the court held: Viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the evidence shows that, from…

Read More Evidence of Anti-Gay Hate Speech Suffices to Overcome Summary Judgment on Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment Claims
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Here and below is the gender discrimination lawsuit filed on 9/23/14 by former contract partner Jodi Ritter against law firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP. Plaintiff alleges, for example, that she “was regularly exposed to differential treatment and a persistent hostile and abusive work environment because of her sex and the gender stereotypes perpetrated…

Read More Attorney’s Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Law Firm Wilson Elser
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In Abraham v. Chelsea Piers Mgt., Inc. (decided Oct. 7, 2014), the Appellate Division, First Department unanimously reversed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Here are the facts of this tragic personal injury case, involving the drowning death of a trespasser: In the early morning hours of April 1, 2009 plaintiff’s decedent drowned in…

Read More Chelsea Piers Not Liable for Drunk Trespasser’s Drowning Death
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In EEOC v. Suffolk Laundry Services, 48 F.Supp.3d 497 (2014), the Eastern District of New York denied defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiffs’ hostile work environment claims. (Here is the complaint and here is the EEOC press release about the lawsuit.) One point this decision makes is that “conduct directed at other employees is part of the…

Read More “Hostile Work Environment” Can Be Shown By Conduct Directed at Other Employees
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In Elhorin v. Western Beef, Inc., the court denied defendants’ summary judgment motion seeking dismissal of plaintiff’s personal injury slip-and-fall lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that he sustained injuries when he slipped and fell on a piece of cardboard on the floor of defendant’s supermarket. As is common in these cases, defendant argued that it did not…

Read More Slip/Fall Case Continues, Based on Statement by Store Manager Regarding Notice of Condition
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Here is the recently-filed complaint, captioned Pako Mikel and Denise Klerx v. Guerlain, Inc. (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty., Sept. 25, 2014), Index No. 159425-2014, alleging sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation against French cosmetic company Guerlain Inc. Plaintiffs allege that they were sexually harassed by another employee, and that defendant didn’t do anything to…

Read More Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Guerlain
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In Cruz v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., the Second Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a bank officer’s claim of breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The court cited the rule of “at will employment” in New York and its narrow exception, based on the New York Court of Appeals’ decision…

Read More Bank Officer Not Entitled to Invoke Narrow Exception to “At Will” Employment Rule
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In Vosburgh v. American Nat. Red Cross, 2014 WL 4826688 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2014), the court denied defendant’s summary judgment motion regarding plaintiff’s retaliation claim (but granted it regarding plaintiff’s wage and individual liability claims). As to her retaliation claim, the court held: [T]o prevail at the pretext stage of the McDonnell–Douglas analysis, a plaintiff must show…

Read More Hostility to Employee’s Alleged “Disloyal” Conduct Supports Retaliation Claim
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