Court Affirms Dismissal of Conviction Discrimination Claim Under the NYS Human Rights Law

In Sassi v. Mobile Life Support Servs., Inc., 2019 NY Slip Op 07305
(App. Div. 2nd Dept. Oct. 9, 2019), the court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal – see Sassi v. Mobile Life Support Services, Inc., NY Supreme Court, Dutchess County, Index No. 2016-51918, Decision and Order filed 12/15/16 – of plaintiff’s employment discrimination claim, asserted under the New York State Human Rights Law.

In this case, plaintiff sued his employer under the New York State Human Rights Law section 296.15 and Corrections Law Article 23-A, contending that defendant willfully failed to re-employ plaintiff after his criminal conviction and 60-day incarceration.

The lower court (Supreme Court, Dutchess County) dismissed, explaining that the Corrections Law states that it applies to “employment held by any person whose conviction of one or more criminal offenses precedes such employment.” The court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint as a matter of law, since the applicable statutes “only apply to convictions that occur prior to one’s employment, whereas plaintiff alleges he was first employed by defendant, after which he was convicted of a crime and incarcerated …, after which plaintiff sought to resume his employment with defendant.”

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