Sanitation Worker’s Race, Color, & Disability Discrimination Claims Survive Motion to Dismiss

In Weinstein v. City of New York, New York City Department of Sanitation, 2017 WL 3891699 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5, 2017), the court held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged discrimination based on his race and religion under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and race, religion, and disability under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). It therefore denied defendants’ motion to dismiss.

The court explained the applicable legal standard:

To survive a motion to dismiss a claim of discrimination, a plaintiff must plausibly allege facts demonstrating that: (1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified for his position; (3) he suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) he has minimal factual support for the proposition that the employer was motivated by discriminatory intent.

Applying the law to plaintiff’s Title VII claims, the court held:

Here, Plaintiff has sufficiently pled that he is a member of a protected class, as he is a white, Jewish male. … Plaintiff was qualified for the position of DSNY sanitation worker, as he had in fact been hired for the position. Further, Plaintiff alleges that six of his supervisors attested that Plaintiff was an excellent employee. Plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action when he was terminated from DSNY. … Lastly, Plaintiff has pleaded minimal factual support that he was terminated under circumstances that support an inference of discrimination on the basis of his race and religion through his allegations of an inquiry as to his religion and unlawful disparate treatment as between himself and a Comparator whom Plaintiff alleges was similarly situated. Thus, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged plausible facts to state a claim of discrimination under Title VII.

It also held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged discrimination based on race, religion, and disability under the NYCHRL. Given the NYCHRL’s “uniquely broad and remedial purposes” and courts’ obligation to give it a broad construction, the fact that plaintiff’s race and religion-based discrimination claims were sufficiently alleged under Title VII warranted the same conclusion as to his race/religion NYCHRL claims.

As to his disability discrimination claim, the court held:


Plaintiff’s allegations that he suffers from disabling poor eyesight, that the investigative supervisor who was responsible for receiving his statement in response to the termination notice ridiculed Plaintiff’s disability and his disability-based explanation for his omissions and told Plaintiff to “expect the worst,” and that his employment was terminated within weeks of the meeting are sufficient, when construed broadly in Plaintiff’s favor, to support an inference that his termination was motivated by disability-based animus.

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