New York State Division of Human Rights Dismisses Sex and Age Discrimination Suit Against Community College
Case Study

New York State Division of Human Rights Dismisses Sex and Age Discrimination Suit Against Community College

October 14, 2020

A senior executive’s high-profile discrimination complaint against a community college ended in dismissal before the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), thanks to a successful defense by Goldberg Segalla’s Julie P. Apter, a Buffalo-based partner and leader in the firm’s Municipal Law and Employment and Labor practices.

In the complaint, a former vice president alleged that the college had eliminated her position due to her sex, that no male vice president positions had been cut for the upcoming year, and that she had been paid less than her male counterparts. The documentation provided to the NYSDHR revealed that the college was faced with a $1 million budget gap, and that a necessary reorganization resulted in the elimination of the complainant’s position. However, the college had agreed to continue the complainant’s employment until the end of the school year allowing her to collect her benefits. Despite this, she filed a complaint alleging that her salary was lower and she was targeted based on her age and sex.

Julie argued that the evidence demonstrated that not only was the complainant’s pay comparable to the other similarly situated vice presidents, but one of those departments that survived was, and continues to be, operated by an older female vice president.

NYSDHR found that although the complainant had previously complained of pay disparity, she had never raised any concern or issue based on her age or sex. Therefore, the NYSDHR found that her charge for age and sex discrimination was untimely, and there was no evidence or information to show that the action taken was a pretext for unlawful discrimination. The NYSDHR issued a no probable cause determination and dismissed the complaint.

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Attorneys on Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor team view our representation of employers as a strategic partnership aimed at protecting the enterprise and its leaders while helping the organization advance its management philosophy and maintain its company culture. We understand the risks employers face, along with the pressures placed on management, because attorneys on this team have experienced them firsthand as in-house counsel and human resources officers at various companies in multiple industries.