Sex Discrimination Claims Dismissed Against NYS Department of Financial Services

In Seemungal v. New York State Dept. of Financial Services, No. 151495/2021, 2022 WL 2191380 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County June 17, 2022), the court dismissed plaintiff’s claims for sex discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment under the New York State Human Rights Law.

As to plaintiff’s discrimination claim, the court explained:

As an initial matter, plaintiff failed to state a cause of action for sex discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law. Plaintiff’s allegations are conclusory in nature, and fail to explain how defendants’ actions were based on plaintiff’s sex, and not his lengthy history of poor time keeping and low attendance at work. While plaintiff’s pleading is to be afforded a liberal construction under the CPLR, Plaintiff does not explain how any actions by defendants, occurring within the statute of limitations period, were motivated by plaintiff’s sex. For instance, plaintiff states that he was instructed to speak with a supervisor in order to call in sick, he was monitored by a supervisor when he was at his desk, and he witnessed female employees arriving late who were not directed to charge late arrivals. Plaintiff indicates these examples show disparate treatment between male and female employees, however, plaintiff fails to recognize that these actions could just as well be based on plaintiff’s extensive history of missing work, and not accurately reporting his time-sheet. Plaintiff does not set forth any sufficient evidence to prove that defendants’ actions were rooted in discrimination, rather than, defendants following protocol to ensure that plaintiff fulfilled his employment obligations. Likewise, plaintiff does not set forth any factual evidence to prove that female employees were not penalized for late arrivals, nor does he compare the female employees’ history of absences or time related issues to his own. Plaintiff has taken sixty-two unscheduled full or partial day absences, totaling 368.5 hours between January 8, 2019, and August 5, 2019. Plaintiff merely concludes that defendants’ actions were motivated by his sex, but offers no evidence to rebut the idea that defendants were acting in regards to plaintiff’s lengthy record of absences and false time-keeping. This Court must not regard plaintiff’s bare legal conclusions as true; therefore, plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action for sex discrimination.

As to plaintiff’s retaliation claim (based on complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the NYS Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER), the court concluded that “plaintiff has been given warnings and faced disciplinary actions prior to and long after each of the complaints were filed” and that he “merely presents a timeline of events, and fails to show a connection between the complaints being filed, and defendants’ actions resulting from the complaint being filed.”

Finally, the court dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, noting that the “continuing violation doctrine” did not apply since plaintiff “did not present sufficient evidence to show that there was a pattern of ongoing discrimination against him, and failed to adequately show how the 2019 allegations were a continuance of the pre-2018 claims about a hostile work environment.”

Share This: