Employment-Second Circuit Rules That Plaintiff’s Claims Of Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Under New York City Human Rights Law Survive Summary Judgment

In Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc., Docket No. 11-3361-cv. (2nd Cir. 2013), plaintiff Renee Mihalik (“Mihalik”) sued her former employer, defendant Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc. (“Cheuvreux”), alleging that her supervisor ran the office like a “boys’ club,” subjecting her to sexually suggestive comments and twice propositioning her for sex. She alleges that when she refused his sexual advances, he retaliated by berating her in front of other employees and ultimately firing her. Mihalik asserted claims of gender discrimination and retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law (the “NYCHRL”) (N.Y.C Admin. Code § 8-107(1)(a), (7)). The district court granted summary judgment to Cheuvreux, dismissing the complaint.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) reviewed the case, and concluded that the district court erred in its application of the NYCHRL, primarily since it applied the NYCHRL with analogy to federal law even though the New York City Civil Rights Restoration Act of 2005 (the “Restoration Act”) requires a separate, independent and more employee friendly analysis from and than federal law. The Court found that Mihalik presented sufficient evidence to show there are genuine disputes of material fact regarding both her claims under the NYCHRL. Consequently, the Court vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case back to the district court for trial.