Citing Preference for “First Generation Italian”, Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Employment Discrimination Claim

In Spano v. New Team LLC, No. 153586/16, 2018 WL 3646977, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 31829(U) (Sup Ct, New York County Aug. 01, 2018), plaintiff alleged that defendants failed to hire and promote her because she was not a first-generation Italian, and that defendants improperly terminated her after she complained of discriminatory conduct. The court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss her discrimination claim.

As to that claim, Judge Goetz explained:

Although defendants Millercoors and Anheuser-Busch were not plaintiff’s employers, plaintiff has clearly pleaded facts, which are amplified by the emails filed in opposition to the motions to dismiss, suggesting that these defendants bore the requisite discriminatory intent of hiring only a first-generation Italian to fill this position. For example, plaintiff attaches an email from Marco Seminaroti, an employee of defendant Anheuser-Busch’s predecessor-in-interest, to defendant Millercoors, in which Mr. Seminaroti expresses his concern about compromising the “authentic presentation of the brand” by having “less and less first generation Italian(s)” working at New Team to promote the brand. … Defendants’ contention that Mr. Seminaroti was merely expressing a general preference rather than a directive to hire a first-generation Italian is undermined by the rest of the email, in which Mr. Seminaroti suggests that Millercoors work with a headhunter he met recently to find “quality Italian candidates” to fill the position. … Defendant Millercoor’s employees respond to Mr. Seminaroti’s email by stating that if this headhunter “can help us find good talent then we should definitely try them.” … In fact, subsequent emails between defendant Millercoors and defendant New Team suggest that New Team did in fact work with this headhunter to recruit candidates for the position. …

This is sufficient to show that defendant Millercoors, as New Team’s client, and defendant Anheuser-Busch, as Millercoors’ parent corporation, may have “compelled or coerced” New Team’s alleged discriminatory employment decision to only hire a first-generation Italian for the Senior Brand Developer Position.

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