The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the dismissal of the hostile work environment causes of action by the federal court did not collaterally estop plaintiff’s hostile work environment cause of action in state court pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL):
Supreme Court erred in granting dismissal of the cause of action alleging hostile work environment pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(5). The District Court analyzed the hostile work environment claims under the standards set by Title VII and NYSHRL, and determined that those claims were neither “pervasive” nor “extraordinarily severe.” Under NYCHRL, a claimant must only prove that they were “treated less well than other employees” because of their gender … . As the plaintiff’s allegations of sexual harassment and improper touching could constitute “more than petty slights and trivial inconveniences” without rising to the level of being severe and pervasive, Supreme Court should not have granted dismissal of this cause of action pursuant to the doctrine of collateral estoppel … . Domingo v Avis Budget Group, Inc., 2023 NY Slip Op 04463, Second Dept 8-30-23
Practice Point: The New York City Human Rights Law has less stringent standards for a hostile work environment cause of action than those required by the New York State Human Rights Law.