A federal lawsuit brought by a job applicant against a hotel and its owner claims unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability. Anderson v. HotelsAB, LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00712, complaint (S.D.N.Y., Jan. 30, 2015). The plaintiff alleges that the hotel owner stated during her job interview that he would not hire her because she has a disabled son. Her complaint alleges a single cause of action for employment discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq. It names the two limited liability companies (LLCs) that own and operate the hotel, as well as the individual owner of the LLCs, as defendants. In late August 2015, a judge denied a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case.
The plaintiff applied for a job as controller for the defendants, which own and operate a hotel located on Shelter Island, near the eastern end of Long Island. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the job would involve working from the defendants’ Manhattan office from October through April, and at the hotel on Shelter Island from May through September. The plaintiff lived in Connecticut at the time she applied for the job.
After several telephone interviews, the plaintiff visited the hotel in August 2014 for an in-person interview with several hotel officers. The hotel owner arrived to meet her and allegedly began “posing extremely personal questions” about her marriage and living arrangement and repeatedly calling her a “crazy person.” Anderson, complaint at 5. When asked about her “ideal job,” the plaintiff states that she mentioned running a nursing home because of her disabled son, who lives in Maine. She alleges that the owner “abruptly ended the interview” at this point, telling her that she could not “devote adequate time to her professional responsibilities.” Id.
The plaintiff claims that she attempted to follow up with one of the hotel officers several times, but she had no contact from anyone at the hotel. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Citing diversity jurisdiction, she filed suit in federal court under the NYCHRL, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(1). Disability discrimination may include discrimination not only on the basis of a plaintiff’s own disability but also on the basis of a disability of someone with “a known relationship or association” with the plaintiff. Id. at § 8-107(20). She states that she will amend the complaint with an ADA claim when the EEOC completes its investigation.
The two LLC defendants moved to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a valid claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Much of the defendants’ argument involved a claim that a federal court in Manhattan, which is in the Southern District of New York, lacks jurisdiction under the NYCHRL, since the alleged acts of discrimination occurred on Shelter Island in the Eastern District. The court held that the NYCHRL deals more with where a plaintiff feels the impact of allegedly discriminatory conduct and that Manhattan meets this standard.
If you need to speak to a disability discrimination attorney in New Jersey or New York, contact the Resnick Law Group today through our website, at 973-781-1204, or at (646) 867-7997.
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