Age Discrimination Case ruling: An out-of-state employee can now sue a New York employer in New York courts following the decision in Hoffman v. Parade.
Howard Hoffman, a traveling salesman who resided in Atlanta, Georgia, brought an age discrimination suit against his former employer Parade Magazine, a New York State employer, after he was terminated and replaced by a younger employee. Hoffman received the phone call informing him of his termination from Parade Magazine while he was sitting on a plane in Atlanta.
Parade moved to dismiss the claim on grounds that New York court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, since the termination did not occur in New York City or New York State citing Shah v. Wilco Sys., Inc. 27 A.D.3d 169 (N.Y. App. Div. 2005). Shah had held that “the locus of the decision to terminate is of no moment, and that what was significant is where the impact was felt."
However, on appeal the Appellate Division, 1st Department on May 7, 2009, declined to apply Shah’s “impact rule” and instead chose to focus on whether the discriminatory action took place within New York, which was the reasoning applied in the federal district court in Rylott-Rooney v. Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane-Socita Per Azioni, 549 F.Supp.2d 549 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). The First Department held that “Shah could not be applied so broadly as to preclude a discrimination action where the allegations support the assertion that the act of discrimination, the discriminatory decision, was made in this state.” The court further declared that “application of logic and common sense alone would dictate that if an employer located in New York made discriminatory hiring and firing decisions, those decisions would be properly viewed as discriminatory acts occurring within the boundaries of New York.”