Does New York City Anti-Discrimination Law Apply Outside of the Five Boroughs?

As one of the most diverse cities in the world, New York City has adopted its own local laws designed to combat problems such as race and nationality discrimination. The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) offers similar–yet in many cases broader–protections against employment discrimination than either federal or state laws. Of course, such protections assume the discriminatory conduct has some connection to New York City itself.

Judge Rejects Latest Allegation in Ex-Bloomberg Housekeeper's Lawsuit

Earlier this year, we discussed an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by a former housekeeper to ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg against the management company that runs his private estate in the Hamptons. The base allegation is that several employees of the defendant management company subjected the plaintiff to harassment and discrimination based in part on the fact she was from Ecuador. Back in March, the federal judge overseeing the case allowed the plaintiff to proceed with her allegations under a specific federal civil rights law and the New York State Human Rights Law.

More recently, on November 20, 2018, the judge rejected an amended complaint filed by the plaintiff that alleged violations of the NYCHRL. The plaintiff said the discrimination she suffered had an “impact” on New York City, and therefore she could sue for damages under the NYCHRL. The judge disagreed.

As the judge explained, the plaintiff herself lives in Southampton, which is in eastern Suffolk County. She worked for the defendants at Mayor Bloomberg's Southampton home. At no point did the plaintiff physically work in New York City. The judge noted, “All of the discriminatory conduct occurred at [Bloomberg's residence], far from the five boroughs of New York City.”

There are situations in which discriminatory conduct can occur outside the “geographical bounds of New York City,” yet still fall under the NYCHRL because it affects the “term and conditions of the plaintiff's employment within the city.” In this case, the plaintiff alleged such an impact existed for several reasons, such as the “decision to hire and fire her was made in New York City” at the defendants' corporate offices, and she in fact “attended several meetings” at that office. But the judge explained the New York Court of Appeals has rejected similar arguments in the past, noting that “an employer's decision to terminate a non-resident employee who did not work in New York City” simply did not have enough of an “impact on the five boroughs” to sustain a lawsuit under the NYCHRL. Along similar lines, the “location of employment-related meetings does not adequately impact the terms and conditions of employment within New York City.”

Contact a NYC Race and National Discrimination Lawyer Today

Not every employment discrimination law is applicable to every case. That is why it is important to work with an experienced New York City employment attorney who can review the facts of your particular case and advise you on the best course of action. Contact the Law Offices of Mahir S. Nisar to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team today.