Gender Discrimination Sufficiently Alleged Against CUNY/Hostos

In Dass v. The City University of New York (Hostos Community College), 18-cv-11325, 2020 WL 1922689 (SDNy April 21, 2020), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s gender discrimination claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

As to Title VII, the court explained:

Based on the allegations in the complaint, Plaintiff adequately states a claim for sex discrimination against Defendants Hostos and Cruz for their failure to promote Plaintiff or even consider her reclassification to HEO status, and for their constructive termination of Plaintiff. Plaintiff has provided the requisite “plausible support to a minimal inference of discriminatory motivation” regarding these acts. Vega, 801 F.3d at 84. In particular, Plaintiff has alleged that despite Defendant Cruz’s stating that he would support Plaintiff’s reclassification to HEO status, Cruz never submitted her reclassification paperwork to CUNY, and Plaintiff’s repeated requests for her consideration for HEO status were ignored by Cruz without justification or excuse. (Id. ¶ 70(c)-(k).) Despite her failed requests for a promotion, Plaintiff was never told that that she was unqualified for a promotion or undeserving of a promotion. Instead, Plaintiff completed tasks above and beyond her job duties, and led the Hostos’ Women’s Basketball Team to a historic national title—the first women’s basketball title throughout the entire CUNY system of schools—for which Plaintiff was not permitted to even arrange a celebration because of Defendant Cruz. (FAC ¶ 70(r).) Plaintiff has alleged that Cruz regularly conferred with Plaintiff’s male subordinates instead of meeting with Plaintiff, habitually sought to undermine and usurp Plaintiff’s authority as Athletic Director, and regularly yelled at, screamed at, insulted, demeaned, and disrespected female employees at Hostos. (Id. ¶¶ 70-71.) In addition, Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint describes in detail an October 2016 incident in which she was sexually harassed by a custodian, which prompted her to file a formal complaint with human resources at the direction of the Hostos administration.

The court concluded that plaintiff’s “factual allegations suffice at this stage in the litigation, and provide sufficient factual content to plausibly draw an inference that Plaintiff suffered adverse employment actions motivated in part by her status as a woman.”

It reached the same conclusion as to plaintiff’s claims asserted under the New York State Human Rights Law (evaluated under the same standard as Title VII claims), as well as the New York City Human Rights Law (which is to be construed more broadly in favor of discrimination plaintiffs).

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