“Regional” National Origin Discrimination Claim Dismissed Under Title VII and NYS Human Rights Law

In Lapko v. Grand Market Intern. Corp., No. 514403/2019, 2020 WL 4818702, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 32711(U) (N.Y. Sup Ct, Kings County Aug. 12, 2020), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claim of national origin discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law.[1]The court also denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s “associational discrimination” claim under the New York City Human Rights Law.

In this case, plaintiff – who is “Eastern Ukranian,” from a region of Ukraine that is known for being “pro-Russian” – alleged that he was subject to discrimination in the form of open expression of “pro-Western Ukraine support and hostility towards Eastern Ukraine.”

The court dismissed plaintiff’s claims under federal law, explaining:

[T]here is ample Federal Court precedent which supports defendants’ contention that a claim of intra-country, regional employment discrimination, the type of employment discrimination plaintiff is alleging in this case, is not actionable under Title VII (see Dollman v. Mast. Indus., 731 F. Supp. 2d 328 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 2010);[] Bronson v. Bd. of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of Cincinnati, 550 F.Supp. 941, 959 (W.D.Ohio 1982);[] Fowler v. Visiting Nurse Serv. of N.Y., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81139, 13-14 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 30, 2007).

The court similarly disposed of plaintiff’s state-law claim, explaining that “[s]ince discrimination claims under the NYSHRL are governed by the same principles as those which apply in Title VII cases, it necessarily follows that plaintiff’s employment discrimination claims under the NYSHRL are also not actionable.”

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1. The court also denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s “associational discrimination” claim under the New York City Human Rights Law.