New York court places burden on employers in discrimination cases

Employers must prove beyond dispute their nondiscriminatory motives

On Tuesday, a New York state appeals court set a high standard for employers charged with discrimination actions under New York City’s human rights law. While the particular case in question was decided in favor of the employers, the court took the opportunity to issue a more general ruling that in such cases, the burden lies on employers to prove their nondiscriminatory motives beyond dispute.

In the case, Kenneth Bennett filed suit against his former employer Health Management Systems Inc., claiming the company fired him for reasons related to his age and race, Thomson Reuters reports. The Manhattan Supreme Court granted summary judgment in favor of Health Management Systems, which said it had received reports of Bennett consuming alcohol on the job, according to court documents.

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