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Robledo v. Bond No. 9

United States District Court, S.D. New York

September 3, 2013

Veronica Robledo and Karin Maria Widmann, Plaintiff, -
v.
- Bond No. 9 a/k/a Bond No. 9 Parfume Leasehold, Inc. a/k/a No. 9 Parfume Leasehold, Inc. a/k/a and incorporated as Bond No. 9 Fragrance, Inc., and Laurice Rahme, Individually, Defendants

Page 471

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 472

For Veronica Robledo, Karin Maria Widmann, Plaintiffs: Kimberly Suzanne Thomsen, The Harman Firm, New York, NY; Peter J. Andrews, Walker Green Harman, Jr., The Harman Firm PC, New York, NY.

For Bond No. 9, also known as Bond No. 9 Parfume Leasehold, Inc., also known as No. 9 parfume Leaseholding, Inc., also known as and incorporated as Bond No. 9 Fragrance, Inc., Laurice Rahme, Individually, No. 9 Parfume Leasehold Inc., Bond No. 9 Fragrance Inc., Defendants: Jon Schuyler Brooks, LEAD ATTORNEY, Marc Brian Zimmerman, Phillips Nizer LLP, New York, NY.

OPINION

Page 473

Memorandum & Order

Andrew L. Carter, Jr., United States District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) and 12(b)(1). For the reasons set forth below, this Court denies in part and grants in part Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. Defendants' motion to dismiss is denied.

FACTS

On August 10, 2012, Plaintiffs Veronica Robledo (" Robledo" ) and Karin Maria Widmann (" Widmann" ) filed this lawsuit against their former employer, Defendants Bond No. 9 and Laurice Rahme (collectively " Defendants" ) alleging discrimination against Robledo in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (" Section 1981" ); race discrimination, disparate treatment, hostile work environment in violation of New York City Human Rights Law § 8-101; and retaliation under New York City Administrative Code § 8-107(4)(a).

Defendant Laurice Rahme (" Rahme" ) hired Robledo as a Sales Representative in 2001 (Compl. ¶ 13). Robledo considers herself " Spanish-Black," but " never disclosed her self-assessed identity of " Black" to Defendant Rahme" ( Id . at ¶ ¶ 2-3). Robledo worked for Rahme and the companies she owns for over a decade, both as a Sales Representative and Store Manager ( Id . at ¶ ¶ 14-17). During her tenure, Robledo was subject to the direction, supervision and control of Rahme ( Id . at ¶ 19), who promoted Robledo to a Store Manager position at Rahme's flagship store ( Id . at ¶ 16) and nearly doubled Robledo's pay rate (from $18 to $30 hourly, with two separate raises occurring in 2010) ( Id . at ¶ 14, 16). In 2005, Rahme relocated Robledo to Defendants' flagship store ( Id . at ¶ ¶ 2, 15). Robledo was considered the " top selling associate" at Rahme's flagship store ( Id . at ¶ 50). Like other sales associates, Robledo's job responsibilities entailed greeting customers visiting the store ( Id . at ¶ 1), assisting walk-in customers to purchase store merchandise ( Id . at ¶ 18), answering customers' questions concerning store merchandise ( Id .), assisting in maintaining the orderly appearance of the store ( Id .) and performing sales-related paperwork and computerized tasks ( Id .).

Rahme hired Widmann, who is Caucasian, as a Store Manager on July 5, 2011 ( Id . at ¶ 4-5). Rahme fired Widmann 7 months later (on February 16, 2012) for, among other things, stealing $25,000 in store products ( Id . at ¶ ¶ 4-5, 59). Robledo and Widmann allege extensively that Rahme displayed bias towards black customers, and used a " code term 'we need the light bulbs changed'" to signal that black shoppers were in the store ( Id . at ¶ 24, passim ). However, Defendants never refused or denied such customers from making store purchases, and " [B]lack shoppers were some of the top customers at the flagship store" ( Id . at ¶ ¶ 25, 29, 31-37, 47).

On November 30, 2012, Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) and 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On January 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions against Defendants. For the reasons that follow, the Court ...


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