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Dillon v. Ned Management, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 12, 2014

MICHAL DILLON, Plaintiff,
v.
NED MANAGEMENT, INC., JACOB FREIDMAN individually, ERIC VAINER individually, POLINA VAINER individually, JOE MILLIGIAN individually, Defendants.

ORDER

JACK B. WEINSTEIN, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff brings claims of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"); New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296 ("NYSHRL"); and New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107 ("NYCHRL").

The corporate defendant moves for judgment on the First Claim for Relief - alleging discrimination, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The motion is denied.

I. Facts

The following statement of facts is based on allegations in the complaint as orally amended at the January 29, 2013 hearing. Compl., ECF No. 1; Oral Mot. to Amend Compl., ECF No. 38; Hr'g Tr. 10-14.

Three incidents of harassment by defendant Jacob Friedman, manager and step-father to the owner of NED Management, serve as the basis of plaintiffs hostile work environment claim. Compl. ¶¶ 23-25; Hr'g Tr. 3-5; 6-7. The first occurred around August 17, 2012, when Jacob referred to plaintiffs breasts. Id. ¶ 23. The second was a few days later, when Jacob alluded to paying her for sexual favors. Id. ¶ 24. The third was on October 1, 2012 when he "touched" her buttock. Id.

Shortly after the third incident, plaintiff complained to a corporate manager, Joe Milligan. Id. ¶ 26. Milligan reported it to Eric Vainer who informed Polina Vainer. Compl. ¶ 27-28, 34. NED Management is a family business owned entirely by Eric Vainer. Hr'g Tr. 3: 17-4:3, 4:17-20, 7:14-15. Polina Vainer is a manager and supervisor. Hr'g Tr. 7:14-15. She is also Eric Vainer's mother and Jacob Friedman's wife. Compl. ¶¶ 13-14; Hr'g Tr. 3:17-4:14, 5:4-11.

NED Management did nothing to investigate. Instead, it retaliated by docking plaintiffs pay for the day she complained and for a second day later that month. Id. ¶¶ 29-36. When plaintiff inquired about her complaint, she was called a "trouble maker" and a "liar, " and told that the incident "did not happen." Id. ¶¶ 40-41.

Plaintiff was eventually fired.

II. Rule 12(c) Standard for Judgment on the Pleadings

On a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, "the same standards that are employed for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) are applicable." Ad-Hoc Comm. v. Bernard M Baruch College, 835 F.2d 980, 982 (2d Cir. 1987) (citations omitted). All factual allegations contained in the complaint are assumed to be true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. See Patel v. Searles, 305 F.3d 130, 135 (2d Cir. 2002) (internal quotations omitted). A complaint may not be dismissed on the pleadings unless the movant demonstrates "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 249-50 (1989); Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). In determining the sufficiency of the complaint, consideration is limited to the factual allegations it contains. Alonzo v. Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., 25 F.Supp.2d 455, 457 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) ( citing Valmonte v. Bane, 18 F.3d 992, 998 (2d Cir.1994)).

III. Hostile Work Environment Claim Under Title VII

A. Law

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for gender discrimination. In ...


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