Monday, May 24, 2021

Plaintiff alleges employment discrimination under Littlejohn test

The plaintiff wins this appeal in a decision that can only be characterized as short and sweet. The Court of Appeals says the plaintiff has sufficiently alleged employment discrimination.

The case is Sapio v. Selux Corporation, a summary order issued on April 22. Pleading standards for these claims have been relaxed in the Second Circuit, ever since the Court issued Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d 297 (2d Cir. 2014). Every plaintiff's lawyer who deals with a motion to dismiss under Rule 12 must review Littlejohn. Every defendant's lawyer seeking to dismiss the case under Rule 12 must find a way around Littlejohn. Every district court that wants to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit must learn to live with Littlejohn.

The district court said the complaint failed because plaintiff only alleged that he was fired because is Asian and defendant wanted to replace her with a white employee. As the district court saw it, that was not enough to assert a plausible discrimination claim. But what the Court said in Littlejohn was that an employment discrimination plaintiff "will ordinarily satisfy her 'minimal' burden to allege facts supporting an inference of discrimination by alleging her replacement by someone outside her protected class." Plaintiff did that here, and the case heads back to the Northern District of New York.

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