In Gruber v. Glam, Inc., No. 654719/2018, 2020 WL 5590259, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 33088(U) (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Sep. 18, 2020), the court, inter alia, held that plaintiff stated claims of discrimination based on religion (Judaism) and pregnancy under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.
After summarizing the “black letter” law relating to these claims, the court explained:
Here, the Court finds that plaintiff has stated causes of action for religious and pregnancy discrimination under both the NYSHRL and NYCHRL. The adverse actions are clear: termination and refusal to publish articles on the basis that they were “too Jewish” or because plaintiff is Jewish. This is not a case where plaintiff complains about isolated incidents or was inconvenienced. She says she was hindered in her job by colleagues who openly expressed animus about her religion and she was eventually terminated. It is critical to point out that in employment discrimination cases, a plaintiff need only allege circumstances that give rise to the inference of discrimination. At the motion to dismiss stage, plaintiff met her burden.
Plaintiff’s affidavit makes clear that she told defendant Ben-Or that she was pregnant right before she was terminated, Ben-Or claimed the position was being eliminated and then it was advertised as being an open position right after plaintiff was let go (NYSCEF Doc. No. 25 at 5). The inference is that the reason for her termination was her pregnancy. Discovery may reveal that defendants had good reason to terminate plaintiff but at this stage plaintiff has alleged pregnancy discrimination under both the NYCHRL and NYSHRL.
The court observed that while certain text messages submitted in reply arguably supported defendants’ denial of any pregnancy discrimination, such evidence “submitted in isolation before any depositions have occurred is not sufficient to dismiss” the pregnancy discrimination claim.
It further explained that “[d]ocumentary evidence must utterly refute a cause of action,” that “a single page of a text conversation that is contradicted by plaintiff’s affidavit is not a basis to dismiss at this stage of the litigation,” and that “[t]he Court cannot make a credibility determination or make a factual ruling on this motion.”