NY Court Beats Back Age-Related Firing Challenge

July 2, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A New York state appellate court has ruled that a 62-year-old executive located in Atlanta can’t challenge his firing under Empire State age discrimination statutes. 

The New York Law Journal said the state Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 3 in Hoffman v. Parade Publications that plaintiff Howard Hoffman’s attempt to sue under New York law over his 2007 discharge failed because he didn’t show the employer’s allegedly discriminatory conduct had an impact in New York City or elsewhere in the state. City and state laws both ban firing workers because of their age.  

Referring to the state Human Rights Law, Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. wrote for the court, “Under this statutory scheme, while New York residents may bring a claim against New York residents and corporations who commit ‘unlawful discriminatory practices’ outside the state, the Legislature plainly has not extended such protections to non-residents like Hoffman, who are unable to demonstrate that the impact of the discriminatory act was felt inside the State.”  

Parade Publications is headquartered in New York City, but most of the judges held that Hoffman was neither a resident of, nor employed in, the city or state of New York.  The ruling upset a determination by the Appellate Division, 1st Department, which found that there was enough to give New York jurisdiction because the decision to terminate Hoffman was made in New York, the Law Journal reported. 

Hoffman, a managing director for newspaper relations in the Parade group, argued that he was the oldest employee fired during 2007 cutbacks and that his termination was directly related to his age.