Age Discrimination Claims Dismissed; Younger Workers Also Suffered Detriment

In Wetzel v. Systra USA Inc., No. 151707/2022, 2022 WL 16574840 (N.Y. Sup Ct, N.Y. Cty. Nov. 01, 2022), the court dismissed plaintiff’s age discrimination claims asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

After holding that plaintiff failed to state a claim under the New York State Human Rights Law, court turned to the comparatively broader City Law:

To state a claim for age discrimination under the NYCHRL, a Plaintiff must allege that (1) he was a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified for his position; (3) he was treated differently or less well, and (4) such treatment occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Claims for discrimination under the NYCHRL are analyzed under a more lenient standard than claims under the NYSHRL. However, even under this more liberal standard, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s allegations fails to adequately plead that he was treated differently under the circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.

Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that similarly situated individuals younger than him also had their hours cut and pay reduced in the same pattern as Plaintiff. The only difference alleged between Plaintiff and the other individuals is that allegedly the other individuals retained their 401k plans while Plaintiff lost his 401k benefits. However, this allegation is contradicted by the documentary evidence. Therefore, given other individuals who were younger than Plaintiff also suffered the same adverse employment actions, the Court finds it implausible that, based on the pleadings, there is an inference of age-based discrimination behind the adverse employment actions Plaintiff suffered.

[Cleaned up.]

The court concluded that plaintiff’s “bare legal conclusions” as alleged did not support a claim for disparate treatment based on age under the NYCHRL.

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