NYPD Detective Sufficiently Alleges Retaliation Under the NYC Human Rights Law

In Pelepelin v. City of New York, No. 12535, 154246/18, 2019-5743, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 07291, 2020 WL 7061886 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., Dec. 03, 2020), the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, inter alia, held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged retaliation claims under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

Here is the court’s discussion of that claim:

In support of his causes of action for retaliation under the State and City HRLs, plaintiff alleges that, in October 2016, he emailed defendant Inspector Howard Redmond to complain that a younger, non-Russian, less senior, and less qualified, detective (whom plaintiff names in the complaint), had been promoted ahead of him. Inspector Redmond responded by having plaintiff, a detective with over 20 years of plainclothes experience, assigned to uniformed guard duty at the gates of City Hall. The reassignment to guard duty, without any change in pay, did not by itself constitute an adverse employment action for purposes of the State HRL (see Ragoo v New York City Taxi & Limousine Commn., 132 AD3d 562, 562 [1st Dept 2015]; Gaffney v. City of New York, 101 AD3d 410, 411 [1st Dept 2012], lv denied 21 NY3d 858 [2013]. It did, however, constitute a disadvantageous action for purposes of the City HRL. Plaintiff’s email to Redmond constituted a protected activity, and a causal connection can be inferred from close temporal proximity of the immediate reassignment (see Krebaum v. Capital One, N.A., 138 AD3d 528, 528–529 [1st Dept 2016]).

Based on this, the court concluded that plaintiff adequately pled a claim for retaliation under the NYC Human Rights Law.

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