New York Expands Anti-Discrimination Laws for Nonresident Job Seekers

On March 14, 2024, the New York Court of Appeals held that nonresident prospective employees who seek employment opportunities in New York State or New York City and are denied due to discriminatory conduct are eligible to assert claims under the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL") and New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL").

Case Background

In Nafeesa Syeed v. Bloomberg L.P., the plaintiff, a South Asian-American woman who resides in California, filed suit against Bloomberg, which is headquartered in New York City, for the discrimination she allegedly experienced while working as a reporter in Bloomberg's Washington D.C. bureau. The plaintiff alleged that she applied for a position in Bloomberg's New York office but was denied that position for a man with less experience and less formal education than her.

Job Applicants Sitting on Chairs - Hinshaw - New York Expands Anti-Discrimination Laws for Nonresident Job SeekersAdditionally, the plaintiff claimed that her managing editor told her that Bloomberg was not going to convert the position she applied for to a "diversity slot," which she understood to mean that "she would only be considered for promotions to positions identified as such." Accordingly, the plaintiff sued Bloomberg under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL, alleging that Bloomberg discriminated against her on the basis of sex and race by denying her promotions.

The question before the Court was "whether a nonresident plaintiff not yet employed in New York City or State satisfies the impact requirement of the New York City Human Rights Law or the New York State Human Rights Law if the plaintiff pleads and later proves that an employer deprived the plaintiff of a New York City-or State-based job opportunity on discriminatory grounds."

Case Decision

In reaching its decision, the Court revisited a previous decision in Hoffman v. Parade Publs. 15 N.Y.3d 285 (2010), which established an "impact" test for nonresidents asserting claims under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL. In Hoffman, the court held there are "two ways in which a nonresident may satisfy the impact requirement:

(1) working in New York or

(2) establishing that the challenged conduct had some impact on the plaintiff within the respective New York geographic boundaries."

The Court in Syeed addressed whether "Hoffman's impact test governs a situation where, as here, a nonresident plaintiff alleges a failure to promote or hire." The Court held that the NYSHRL and NYCHRL protect nonresidents who proactively seek a job opportunity in New York City or the State.

Moreover, a nonresident prospective employee who has been denied a job opportunity in New York City or State "personally feels the impact of a discriminatory refusal to promote or hire in New York City or State, because that is where the person wished to work (and perhaps relocate) and where they were denied the chance to do so."

How Does this Decision Impact New York Employers?

The Court's decision expands the protections provided under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL to nonresidents who seek employment in New York.

Critically, the Court's decision was limited to "a position that requires the employee to be physically present in New York." The Court did not elaborate on what exactly such a position entails.

However, the Court's decision seems to forge the possibility that a nonresident prospective employee who applies for a fully remote job opportunity in New York can be covered under NYSHRL or NYCHRL.