In Polite v. Marquis Marriot Hotel et al, No. 509830/15, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 04046, 2021 WL 2558121 (N.Y.A.D. 2 Dept. June 23, 2021), the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s employment discrimination, unlawful retaliation, and hostile work environment claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws. This decision is instructive as to how courts evaluate challenges to the facial sufficiency of a complaint alleging employment discrimination.
From the decision:
When a party moves to dismiss a complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), the standard is whether the pleading states a cause of action, not whether the proponent of the pleading has a cause of action. In considering such a motion, the court must accept the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, accord plaintiffs the benefit of every possible favorable inference, and determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory. Conclusory allegations or bare legal assertions with no factual specificity are not sufficient, and will not survive a motion to dismiss.
Here, accepting as true the facts alleged in the complaint, and according the plaintiff the benefit of every favorable inference, the complaint fails to state causes of action to recover damages for employment discrimination, unlawful retaliation, or hostile work environment. The allegations made in the complaint were conclusory and vague[.] (Citations and internal quotation marks omitted.)
While the appellate decision does not provide detail regarding plaintiff’s claims, the lower court’s August 24, 2017 Order (NY Supreme Court, Kings Cty., Index No. 509830/2015, NYSCEF Doc. No. 116) found that “a single statement allegedly made by [defendant] does not give rise to an inference of discrimination without establishing a nexus between the remark made and plaintiff’s termination.”