UNI TED STATES DI STRI CT COURT

SOUTHERN DI STRI CT OF NEWYORK
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - :
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNI TY : 13 Ci v. 6088 ( J PO) ( J CF)
COMMI SSI ON, :
: REPORT AND
Pl ai nt i f f , : RECOMMENDATI ON
:
- agai nst - :
:
VAMCO SHEET METALS, I NC. , :
:
Def endant . :
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - :
TO THE HONORABLE J . PAUL OETKEN, U. S. D. J . :
On August 29, 2013, t he Equal Empl oyment Oppor t uni t y
Commi ssi on ( “EEOC”) br ought sui t agai nst Vamco Sheet Met al s, I nc.
( “Vamco”) , al l egi ng unl awf ul empl oyment di scr i mi nat i on based on sex
i n vi ol at i on of Ti t l e VI I of t he Ci vi l Ri ght s Act of 1964 and Ti t l e
I of t he Ci vi l Ri ght s Act of 1991. Pl ai nt i f f - I nt er venor s Kesha
Wat ki ns, Anna Qui t or i ano, Ni l sa Lopez, and Mel ani e DeMi cco now
r equest l eave t o i nt er vene, br i ngi ng cl ai ms under Ti t l e VI I , t he
New Yor k Human Ri ght s Law, N. Y. Exec. Law § 296 ( “NYHRL”) , and t he
New Yor k Ci t y Human Ri ght s Law, Admi ni st r at i on Code of t he Ci t y of
New Yor k §§ 8- 101 et seq. ( “NYCHRL”) . Ms. DeMi cco al so br i ngs
cl ai ms pur suant t o t he Fai r Labor St andar ds Act of 1938, 29 U. S. C.
§ 207( r ) ( 1) ( “FLSA”) , and New Yor k St at e Labor Law, Ar t . 7 § 206- c
( “NYLL”) . For t he r easons t hat f ol l ow, t he mot i on shoul d be
gr ant ed i n par t and deni ed i n par t .
Backgr ound
The def endant i s a New Yor k cor por at i on t hat pr ovi des sheet
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 1 of 19
met al f abr i cat i on and i nst al l at i on ser vi ces on const r uct i on
pr oj ect s. ( Compl ai nt ( “Compl . ”) , ¶¶ 4, 7) . Bet ween J ul y 2008 and
Apr i l 2011, t he def endant subcont r act ed f or a const r uct i on pr oj ect
at t he J ohn J ay Col l ege of Cr i mi nal J ust i ce i n New Yor k Ci t y.
( Compl . , ¶ 8) . Due t o t he l ocat i on of t he pr oj ect , Vamco was
r equi r ed t o hi r e empl oyees f r om Local 28 of t he Sheet Met al
Wor ker s’ I nt er nat i onal Uni on ( “Local 28”) . ( Compl . , ¶ 9) . The
pr oj ect was al so subj ect t o f eder al r equi r ement s mandat i ng t hat 6. 9
per cent of t he t ot al const r uct i on wor k hour s be per f or med by women.
( Compl . , ¶ 15; Pr oposed Compl ai nt ( “Pr op. Compl . ”) , ¶ 16) .
Despi t e t hi s r equi r ement , Vamco empl oyed seven t o t en women
f or t he dur at i on of t he pr oj ect ( Compl . , ¶ 14; Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 17) ,
as compar ed t o al most 200 men. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 17) . The EEOC and
t he pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s al so al l ege t hat mal e Vamco empl oyees
enj oyed l onger t enur e t han f emal e empl oyees, i n par t t hr ough
del i ber at e mani pul at i on of t he Local 28 r ef er r al syst em. ( Compl . ,
¶¶ 14, 20- 21, 39; Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 18) . Local 28 f i l l s empl oyment
r equest s by mai nt ai ni ng a l i st r anki ng i t s member s by empl oyment
st at us; t hose who have been unempl oyed t he l ongest ar e put at t he
t op of t he l i st and r ef er r ed f i r st i n r esponse t o empl oyment
r equest s. ( Compl . , ¶ 10) . The f i r st t i me a member accept s a j ob
t hat l ast s f i ve days or l ess, hi s or her name r et ur ns t o i t s
or i gi nal posi t i on on t he l i st , r at her t han bei ng pl aced at t he
2
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 2 of 19
bot t om. ( Compl . , ¶ 11) . Dur i ng t he J ohn J ay pr oj ect , t he l i st
cont ai ned hundr eds of names, wi t h a wai t i ng per i od of appr oxi mat el y
one year f or t hose on t he bot t omof t he l i st . ( Compl . , ¶ 12) . At
l east t wi ce, Vamco di smi ssed f emal e empl oyees and t hen r equest ed
new r ef er r al s f r om Local 28 i n an at t empt t o ci r cumvent t he
r ef er r al syst em. ( Compl . ¶¶ 20- 21, 38- 39) .
Four women who wer e t er mi nat ed by Vamco f i l ed char ges of
unl awf ul gender di scr i mi nat i on wi t h t he EEOC. ( Compl . , ¶ 6) .
Af t er t he EEOC conduct ed an i nvest i gat i on i nt o t hei r cl ai ms, i t
i ssued a combi ned det er mi nat i on f i ndi ng t hat Vamco subj ect ed t hose
f our f emal e empl oyees and a cl ass of f emal e sheet met al wor ker s t o
“di spar at e t r eat ment i n t he t er ms and condi t i ons of t hei r
empl oyment , unj ust i f i ed negat i ve eval uat i ons as compar ed wi t h mal e
co- wor ker s, and l ayof f s when mal e wor ker s wer e r et ai ned” i n
vi ol at i on of Ti t l e VI I . ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 21) . The EEOC f i l ed sui t
agai nst Vamco on August 29, 2013. The pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s - - t he
f our women on whose behal f t he EEOC f i l ed sui t - - now seek t o
i nt er vene and br i ng addi t i onal char ges agai nst Vamco.
A. Pr oposed Compl ai nt
Al t hough t he under l yi ng al l egat i ons di f f er i n t hat t hey
descr i be each pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor ’ s i ndi vi dual exper i ence wi t h
Vamco, t her e ar e common t hr eads t o t he cl ai ms. Al l f our women
al l ege t hat t hey wer e exper i enced met al wor ker s who wer e assi gned
3
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 3 of 19
l ow l evel wor k, i n cont r ast t o t hei r mal e co- wor ker s. ( Pr op.
Compl . , ¶¶ 22, 27, 38, 42, 51, 56, 57, 64, 71) . They di d not
r ecei ve t he same t r eat ment as t hei r mal e co- wor ker s wi t h
per f or mance or at t endance pr obl ems ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 33, 34, 47) ,
and wer e of t en subj ect ed t o host i l e t r eat ment by management ( Pr op.
Compl . , ¶¶ 26, 44, 46, 58, 69, 70) . Two of t he pl ai nt i f f -
i nt er venor s - - Ms. Qui t or i ano and Ms. Lopez - - wer e cal l ed “ol d
l adi es” and “ol d hags” and t ol d t hat women wer e “l ow- pr oduct i on. ”
( Compl . , ¶ 32; Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 44, 70) . Af t er t er mi nat i ng t hr ee
of t he pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s, ei t her f or l ack of wor k or wi t hout
pr ovi di ng an expl anat i on, Vamco cont i nued t o hi r e mal e empl oyees.
( Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 30, 48, 76) . Onl y t hr ee women hi r ed f r omLocal
28 wer e empl oyed f or l onger t han f i ve mont hs, whi l e t he maj or i t y
wer e t er mi nat ed “wi t hi n weeks or days. ” ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 18) .
One i nt er venor - pl ai nt i f f , Mel ani e DeMi cco, was br east f eedi ng
her el even- week- ol d son at t he t i me she was hi r ed by Vamco. ( Pr op.
Compl . , ¶ 72) . I n addi t i on t o br i ngi ng cl ai ms of unl awf ul gender
di scr i mi nat i on under Ti t l e VI I , Ms. DeMi cco al l eges t hat Vamco
vi ol at ed § 207( r ) of t he FLSA and i t s New Yor k anal og, NYLL 206- c,
by f ai l i ng t o pr ovi de her wi t h r easonabl e br eaks and l ocat i ons t o
expr ess br east mi l k. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 100, 106) . Vamco al l owed
Ms. DeMi cco a t en mi nut e mor ni ng br eak t o pump mi l k, i n addi t i on t o
her l unch br eak. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 73) . However , Ms. DeMi cco
4
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 4 of 19
cont ends she exper i enced har assment f or t aki ng t hese br eaks.
( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 73) . And, al t hough she r equest ed an appr opr i at e
l ocat i on t o expr ess mi l k, Vamco di d not pr ovi de her wi t h a
desi gnat ed ar ea. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 73- 74) . As a r esul t , she
expr essed mi l k i n “i mpr ovi sed l ocat i ons” t hat r equi r ed a co- wor ker
t o act as l ook- out , i ncl udi ng a cl oset , a make- shi f t bat hr oom, and
an ai r condi t i oni ng uni t . ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 74- 75) . Ms. DeMi cco
al l eges t hat t hi s si t uat i on was so st r essf ul t hat she st opped
br east f eedi ng her chi l d ear l i er t han she had pl anned and cont i nues
t o suf f er emot i onal di st r ess. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 75, 102)
Di scussi on
A. I nt er vent i on
Rul e 24( a) of t he Feder al Rul es of Ci vi l Pr ocedur e pr ovi des
t hat “[ o] n t i mel y mot i on, t he cour t must per mi t anyone t o i nt er vene
who . . . i s gi ven an uncondi t i onal r i ght t o i nt er vene by f eder al
st at ut e. ” Fed. R. Ci v. P. 24( a) ( 1) . I n consi der i ng a mot i on t o
i nt er vene, t he cour t “must accept as t r ue non- concl usor y
al l egat i ons of t he mot i on. ” Uni t ed Par cel Ser vi ces of Amer i ca,
I nc. v. Net , I nc. , 225 F. R. D. 416, 421 ( E. D. N. Y. 2005) .
Ti t l e VI I gr ant s t he r i ght t o i nt er vene t o any i ndi vi dual
whose i ni t i al EEOC compl ai nt t r i gger s an EEOC enf or cement act i on.
42 U. S. C. § 2000e–5( f ) ( 1) ; EEOC v. Mavi s Di scount Ti r e, No. 12 Ci v.
0741, 2013 WL 5434155, at *3 ( S. D. N. Y. Sept . 30, 2013) . The
5
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 5 of 19
def endant does not cont est t he pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s’ r i ght t o
i nt er vene and asser t Ti t l e VI I cl ai ms or t o br i ng associ at ed cl ai ms
under NYHRL. ( Memor andumof Law i n Par t i al Opposi t i on t o Mot i on t o
I nt er vene ( “Def . Memo. ”) at 3) . As out l i ned above, t he pl ai nt i f f -
i nt er venor s al l f i l ed char ges wi t h t he EEOC r el at ed t o t hei r
empl oyment wi t h Vamco, and wer e i ssued a j oi nt det er mi nat i on bef or e
t he EEOC f i l ed sui t on t hei r behal f . Fur t her , t he i nt er vent i on i s
t i mel y. The pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s f i l ed t hei r mot i on f our mont hs
af t er t he compl ai nt was f i l ed, l ess t han t wo weeks af t er t he
def endant f i l ed an amended answer , and bef or e t he st ar t of
di scover y. See Mavi s Di scount Ti r e, 2013 WL 5434155, at *4; EEOC
v. Mer r i l l Lynch & Co. , I nc. , No. 07 Ci v. 6017, 2007 WL 2846361, at
*1 ( S. D. N. Y. Sept . 26, 2007) ( f i ndi ng i nt er vent i on t i mel y wher e
mot i on was f i l ed t wo mont hs af t er compl ai nt ) . Accor di ngl y, t he
pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s’ mot i on t o i nt er vene shoul d be gr ant ed as t o
t hei r Ti t l e VI I and NYHRL cl ai ms.
B. Suppl ement al J ur i sdi ct i on
Vamco ar gues, nonet hel ess, t hat t he Cour t shoul d decl i ne t o
exer ci se suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over t he pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s’
Ci t y l aw cl ai ms. When a cour t has or i gi nal j ur i sdi ct i on under 28
U. S. C. § 1367, i t al so “shal l have suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over
al l ot her cl ai ms t hat ar e so r el at ed t o cl ai ms i n t he act i on wi t hi n
such or i gi nal j ur i sdi ct i on t hat t hey f or mpar t of t he same case or
6
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 6 of 19
cont r over sy under Ar t i cl e I I I of t he Uni t ed St at es Const i t ut i on. ”
28 U. S. C. § 1367( a) . Cl ai ms ar e par t of t he same case or
cont r over sy when t hey ar i se out of a “common nucl eus of oper at i ve
f act . ” Br i ar pat ch Lt d. , v. Phoeni x Pi ct ur es, I nc. , 373 F. 3d 296,
308 ( 2d Ci r . 2004) ( i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks omi t t ed) ; Tr egl i a v.
Town of Manl i us, 313 F. 3d 713, 723 ( 2d Ci r . 2002) ( exer ci se of
suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on pr oper wher e st at e and f eder al cl ai ms
der i ve f r om “appr oxi mat el y t he same set of event s”) . “Typi cal l y,
suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on i s appr opr i at e f or cl ai ms dur i ng t he
empl oyment r el at i onshi p because t hose cl ai ms ar i se f r om t he same
under l yi ng f act ual basi s. ” Ri ver a v. Ndol a Phar macy Cor p. , 497 F.
Supp. 2d 381, 393 ( E. D. N. Y. 2007) .
Once t he cour t has f ound a common nucl eus, i t may onl y decl i ne
suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over r el at ed cl ai ms i f :
( 1) t he cl ai m r ai ses a novel or compl ex i ssue of St at e
l aw, ( 2) t he cl ai m subst ant i al l y pr edomi nat es over t he
cl ai m or cl ai ms over whi ch t he di st r i ct cour t has
or i gi nal j ur i sdi ct i on, ( 3) t he di st r i ct cour t has
di smi ssed al l cl ai ms over whi ch i t has or i gi nal
j ur i sdi ct i on, or ( 4) i n except i onal ci r cumst ances, t her e
ar e ot her compel l i ng r easons f or decl i ni ng j ur i sdi ct i on.
28 U. S. C. § 1367( c) ; see al so Shahr i ar v. Smi t h & Wol l ensky
Rest aur ant Gr oup, I nc. , 659 F. 3d 234, 245 ( 2d Ci r . 2011) ; Vi ncent
v. Money St or e, No. 03 Ci v. 2876, 2011 WL 5977812, at *2 ( S. D. N. Y.
Nov. 29, 2011) .
Si mpl y i dent i f yi ng an appl i cabl e except i on does not r equi r e a
7
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 7 of 19
cour t t o decl i ne j ur i sdi ct i on, however . See Val enci a ex r el .
Fr anco v. Lee, 316 F. 3d 299, 305 ( 2d Ci r . 2003) ( not i ng t hat §
1367( c) i s “per mi ssi ve r at her t han mandat or y”) ; see al so Ri ver a,
497 F. Supp. 2d at 393 ( descr i bi ng exer ci se of suppl ement al
j ur i sdi ct i on as “t he pr ef er r ed cour se of act i on unl ess t her e i s a
compel l i ng r eason not t o”) . I f an except i on under § 1367 appl i es,
t he cour t t hen consi der s whet her r et ai ni ng or decl i ni ng
j ur i sdi ct i on over t he suppl ement al cl ai m best sat i sf i es t he
pr i nci pl es of “‘ economy, conveni ence, f ai r ness, and comi t y. ’ ”
Met r o Foundat i on Cont r act or s, I nc. v. Ar ch I nsur ance Co. , 498 F.
App’ x 98, 103 ( 2d Ci r . 2012) ( quot i ng I t ar - Tass Russi an News Agency
v. Russi an Kur i er , I nc. , 140 F. 3d 442, 446 ( 2d Ci r . 1998) ) ; see
al so J ones v. For d Mot or Cr edi t Co. , 358 F. 3d 205, 214 ( 2d Ci r .
2004) ; I n r e Met hyl Ter t i ar y But yl Et her ( “MTBE”) Pr oduct s
Li abi l i t y Li t i gat i on, 613 F. Supp. 2d 437, 442 ( S. D. N. Y. 2009) .
Exer ci si ng suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over di scr i mi nat i on cl ai ms i n
par t i cul ar , “whi l e not aut omat i c, i s a f avor ed and nor mal cour se of
act i on. ” Pr omi sel v. Fi r st Amer i can Ar t i f i ci al Fl ower s, 943 F. 2d
251, 254 ( 2d Ci r . 1991) ; see al so Ri ver a, 497 F. Supp. 2d at 387.
Whet her suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on shoul d be exer ci sed r emai ns an
open quest i on t hat may be r ai sed at any st age i n t he l i t i gat i on.
See I t ar –Tass Russi an News Agency, 140 F. 3d at 445; Chenensky v.
New Yor k Li f e I nsur ance Co. , 942 F. Supp. 2d 388, 391 ( S. D. N. Y.
8
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 8 of 19
2013) .
1. NYCHRL Cl ai ms
Whi l e i t i s wel l - est abl i shed i n t he Second Ci r cui t t hat cl ai ms
br ought under NYHRL ar e “anal yt i cal l y i dent i cal ” t o cl ai ms br ought
under Ti t l e VI I , Mavi s Di scount Ti r e, 2013 WL 5434155, at *5
( i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks omi t t ed) , t he same i s not t r ue f or NYCHRL
cl ai ms. Mi hal i k v. Cr edi t Agr i col e Cheuvr eux Nor t h Amer i ca, I nc. ,
715 F. 3d 102, 108- 09 ( 2d Ci r . 2013) ( not i ng t hat cour t s “must
anal yze NYCHRL cl ai ms separ at el y and i ndependent l y f r omany f eder al
and st at e l aw cl ai ms”) . NYCHRL cr eat es a l ower t hr eshol d f or
act i onabl e conduct and must be const r ued br oadl y i n f avor of
di scr i mi nat i on pl ai nt i f f s, cr eat i ng a si t uat i on wher e a def endant
mi ght be l i abl e under NYCHRL but not under st at e or f eder al
st at ut es. I d. at 109- 13; see al so Ander son v. Davi s Pol k &
War dwel l , 850 F. Supp. 2d 392, 403- 404 ( S. D. N. Y. 2012) . Thi s does
not , however , i nvar i abl y pr ohi bi t such cl ai ms f r om bei ng t r i ed
concur r ent l y. See, e. g. , EEOC v. Bl oomber g LP, __ F. Supp. 2d __,
__, 2013 WL 4799161, at *3- 10 ( S. D. N. Y. 2013) ( eval uat i ng Ti t l e
VI I , NYHRL, and NYCHRL cl ai ms r el at ed t o empl oyment
di scr i mi nat i on) ; Sampson v. Ci t y of New Yor k, No. 07 Ci v. 2836,
2009 WL 3364218, at *7 ( S. D. N. Y. Oct . 19, 2009) ( f i ndi ng
suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on appr opr i at e wher e pl ai nt i f f ’ s st at e and
l ocal cl ai ms der i ved f r omsame oper at i ve f act s as f eder al cl ai ms) ;
9
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 9 of 19
I nt er nat i onal Heal t hcar e Exchange, I nc. v. Gl obal Heal t hcar e
Exchange, LLC, 470 F. Supp. 2d 345, 357- 58 ( S. D. N. Y. 2007)
( r et ai ni ng j ur i sdi ct i on over st at e and l ocal l aw cl ai ms t o “avoi d
t he pot ent i al f or dupl i cat i ve l i t i gat i on over t he same conduct ”) ;
but see EEOC v. Rekr em, I nc. , 199 F. R. D. 526, 529 ( S. D. N. Y. 2001)
( decl i ni ng t o exer ci se suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over st at e and
ci t y human r i ght s l aw cl ai ms wher e cl ai ms woul d “undul y compl i cat e
t he pr oceedi ngs and f ocus t he t r i al away f r omt he par t i es’ Ti t l e
VI I cl ai ms”) .
The cl ai ms t he Pl ai nt i f f - I nt er venor s seek t o asser t under
NYCHRL ar i se out of t he same conduct as t hei r Ti t l e VI I and NYHRL
cl ai ms. Vamco ar gues, nonet hel ess, t hat r equi r i ng a j ur y t o
eval uat e t he same conduct under t wo di f f er ent l egal st andar ds
pr esent s t oo di f f i cul t a t ask f or t he j ur or s. ( Def . Memo. at 4- 5) .
Cour t s may decl i ne suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on wher e “t he l i kel i hood
of j ur y conf usi on i n t r eat i ng di ver gent l egal t heor i es of r el i ef [ ]
woul d j ust i f y separ at i ng st at e and f eder al cl ai ms f or t r i al . ”
Uni t ed Mi ne Wor ker s of Amer i ca v. Gi bbs, 383 U. S. 715, 726 ( 1966) ;
see al so SST Gl obal Technol ogy, LLC v. Chapman, 270 F. Supp. 2d
444, 459 ( S. D. N. Y. 2003) . However , “[ w] hi l e t her e ar e di f f er ent
pr oof i ssues i n t hese [ f eder al and st at e di scr i mi nat i on] cl ai ms,
t hi s r esul t occur s i n vi r t ual l y al l ci vi l r i ght s cases and cannot
al one be t he basi s upon whi ch t o deny pendent j ur i sdi ct i on. ”
10
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 10 of 19
Wi l l i ams v. Chase Manhat t an Bank, N. A. , 728 F. Supp. 1004, 1010
( S. D. N. Y. 1990) . Ther e ar e a var i et y of t ool s avai l abl e t o l i mi t
pot ent i al j ur y conf usi on, i ncl udi ng j ur y i nst r uct i ons and speci al
ver di ct f or ms. See Kl ei n v. London St ar Lt d. , 26 F. Supp. 2d 689,
694 ( S. D. N. Y. 1998) ( not i ng j ur y conf usi on “may be abat ed by pr oper
j ur y i nst r uct i ons and speci al ver di ct f or ms”) . Gi ven t hese t ool s,
I can see “no r eason why compet ent counsel . . . wi l l l ack t he
abi l i t y t o pr esent t he i ssues t o t he j ur y cogent l y and
under st andabl y, or why f eder al j ur or s wi l l not be abl e t o
under st and t he i ssues t hat wi l l be pr esent ed t o t hem. ” Ansoumana
v. Gr i st ede’ s Oper at i ng Cor p. , 201 F. R. D. 81, 95 ( S. D. N. Y. 2001) .
Ther ef or e, I r ecommend t hat t he pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s be al l owed t o
br i ng cl ai ms under NYCHRL.
C. I ndi vi dual Cl ai ms Rel at ed t o Br east f eedi ng
1. Ti t l e VI I Cl ai m
Ti t l e VI I encompasses t he Pr egnancy Di scr i mi nat i on Act of
1978, enact ed by Congr ess t o ensur e t hat Ti t l e VI I sex
di scr i mi nat i on cl ai ms i ncl ude di scr i mi nat i on based on pr egnancy,
chi l d bi r t h, or r el at ed medi cal condi t i ons. 42 U. S. C. § 2000e- ( k) .
Vamco poi nt s t o a pr evi ous case i n t hi s di st r i ct t hat di smi ssed a
Ti t l e VI I cl ai mbr ought by a br east f eedi ng mot her al l egi ng “sex-
pl us” di scr i mi nat i on. Mar t i nez v. NBC, I nc. , 49 F. Supp. 2d 305,
308–10 ( S. D. N. Y. 1999) . Sex- pl us di scr i mi nat i on occur s when one
11
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 11 of 19
gender exper i ences di spar at e t r eat ment when consi der ed i n
conj unct i on wi t h a secondar y char act er i st i c shar ed by bot h gender s.
The cour t i n t hat case f ound t hat because men cannot l act at e, t her e
i s no shar ed “pl us” char act er i st i c. I d. ( “The dr awi ng of
di st i nct i ons among per sons of one gender on t he basi s of cr i t er i a
t hat ar e i mmat er i al t o t he ot her , whi l e i n gi ven cases per haps
depl or abl e, i s not t he sor t of behavi or cover ed by Ti t l e VI I . ”) .
Vamco cl ai ms t hat t hi s f or ecl oses any Ti t l e VI I cl ai mbased on Ms.
DeMi cco’ s br east f eedi ng. ( Def . Memo. at 11) .
However , a r ecent Fi f t h Ci r cui t case expr essl y hel d t hat
adver se empl oyment act i on agai nst a f emal e empl oyee because she was
expr essi ng mi l k vi ol at es Ti t l e VI I . EEOC v. Houst on Fundi ng I I ,
Lt d. , 717 F. 3d 425, 428- 30 ( 5t h Ci r . 2013) ; see al so Fal k v. Ci t y
of Gl endal e, No. 12 Ci v. 925, 2012 WL 2390556, at *4 ( D. Col o. J une
25, 2012) ( t heor i zi ng t hat Ti t l e VI I coul d suppor t l act at i on-
r el at ed cl ai ms “i f ot her cowor ker s wer e al l owed t o t ake br eaks t o
use t he r est r oom whi l e l act at i ng mot her s wer e banned f r om
pumpi ng”) . I n par t i cul ar , t he Fi f t h Ci r cui t hel d t hat “l act at i on
i s a r el at ed medi cal condi t i on of pr egnancy f or pur poses of t he
PDA, ” based on t he pl ai n meani ng of t he st at ut e’ s t ext . I d. The
Fi f t h Ci r cui t di st i ngui shed Mar t i nez as hol di ng t hat pr egnancy and
r el at ed medi cal condi t i ons ar e not “di sabi l i t i es” t hat r equi r e
accommodat i on f or pur poses of t he Amer i cans wi t h Di sabi l i t i es Act ,
12
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 12 of 19
and f ai l i ng t o addr ess whet her l act at i on i s a medi cal condi t i on
pr ot ect ed under t he PDA. 717 F. 3d at 429 n. 6. Wher e a pl ai nt i f f ’ s
cl ai mf ocuses on adver se empl oyment act i ons or condi t i ons r el at i ng
t o her l act at i on br eaks, as opposed t o an al l eged f ai l ur e t o
accommodat e a di sabi l i t y, an empl oyer may be l i abl e under Ti t l e
VI I .
1
I d.
I n t he Pr oposed Compl ai nt , Ms. DeMi cco al l eges t hat she was
har assed f or t aki ng l act at i on br eaks and event ual l y t er mi nat ed.
( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 73) . Ther ef or e, i t appear s t hat Ms. DeMi cco may
be abl e t o st at e a cl ai mf or di spar at e t r eat ment under Ti t l e VI I
based on di scr i mi nat i on i n connect i on wi t h her at t empt s t o cont i nue
br east f eedi ng her i nf ant .
2. Pr i vat e Ri ght of Act i on under t he FLSA and NYLL
i . Sect i on 207( r ) of t he FLSA
As amended by t he Pat i ent Pr ot ect i on and Af f or dabl e Car e Act ,
t he FLSA now r equi r es empl oyer s t o pr ovi de br eaks f or nur si ng
1
The Depar t ment of Labor ( “DOL”) al so endor ses t he i dea t hat
a Ti t l e VI I cl ai m may be pr emi sed on di scr i mi nat i on r el at ed t o
br east f eedi ng. See Reasonabl e Br eak Ti me f or Nur si ng Mot her , 75
Fed. Reg. 80073, 80078 ( Dec. 21, 2010) ( “I f an empl oyer t r eat s
empl oyees who t ake br eaks t o expr ess br east mi l k di f f er ent l y t han
empl oyees who t ake br eaks f or ot her per sonal r easons, t he nur si ng
empl oyee may have a cl ai m f or di spar at e t r eat ment under Ti t l e
VI I . ”) . Whi l e t he DOL i s not t he agency char ged wi t h enf or ci ng
Ti t l e VI I , i t s i nt er pr et at i on i s nonet hel ess i nst r uct i ve, and
conf or ms wi t h t he EEOC’ s i nt er pr et at i on. See Houst on Fundi ng I I ,
Lt d. , 717 F. 3d at 429.
13
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 13 of 19
mot her s t o expr ess br east mi l k, f or up t o one year post - par t um.
See 29 U. S. C. § 207( r ) ( 1) ( A) . Si nce Mar ch 23, 2010, al l empl oyer s
have been r equi r ed t o of f er el i gi bl e empl oyees an appr opr i at e
l ocat i on, ot her t han a bat hr oom, and r easonabl e t i me t o pump br east
mi l k f or t hei r nur si ng i nf ant s. 29 U. S. C. § 207( r ) ( 1) . Such
br eaks need not be pai d. 29 U. S. C. § 207( r ) ( 2) . Empl oyer s who
vi ol at e § 207 ar e “l i abl e t o t he empl oyee or empl oyees af f ect ed i n
t he amount of t hei r unpai d mi ni mumwages, or t hei r unpai d over t i me
compensat i on, as t he case may be, and i n an addi t i onal equal amount
as l i qui dat ed damages. ” 29 U. S. C. § 216( b) . New Yor k has enact ed
si mi l ar pr ot ect i ons f or nur si ng mot her s, mandat i ng up t o t hr ee
year s of l act at i on br eaks. NYLL § 206- c.
The def endant asser t s t hat Ms. DeMi cco’ s FLSA and NYLL cl ai ms
f ai l because t her e i s no pr i vat e r i ght of act i on under ei t her l aw.
( Def . Memo. at 6- 7, 8–10) . Vamco r el i es on a r ecent deci si on by a
di st r i ct cour t i n I owa, Sal z v. Casey’ s Mar ket i ng Co. , No. 11 CV
3055, 2012 WL 2952998, at *3 ( N. D. I owa J ul y 19, 2012) , whi ch
di smi ssed a pl ai nt i f f ’ s cl ai m asser t i ng di r ect vi ol at i on of §
207( r ) . The pl ai nt i f f ’ s cl ai ms of const r uct i ve di schar ge and
r et al i at or y act i on based on t he same conduct wer e al l owed t o go
f or war d. I d. at *4. The cour t concl uded t hat because § 207( r )
does not r equi r e empl oyer s t o compensat e empl oyees f or l act at i on
br eaks and t he enf or cement pr ovi si ons f or § 207 ar e l i mi t ed t o
14
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 14 of 19
unpai d wages, see 29 U. S. C. 216( b) , “t her e does not appear t o be a
manner of enf or ci ng t he expr ess br east mi l k pr ovi si ons. ” I d. at
*3. The cour t al so r el i ed on a not i ce i ssued by t he DOL t hat “i n
most ci r cumst ances” t her e wi l l not be any unpai d mi ni mumwage and
over t i me compensat i on r esul t i ng f r om t he f ai l ur e t o pr ovi de
l act at i on br eaks. Reasonabl e Br eak Ti me f or Nur si ng Mot her s, 75
Fed. Reg. 80073, 80078. The DOL not ed t hat wher e an empl oyer
vi ol at ed t he r equi r ement s of § 207( r ) , t he DOL “may seek i nj unct i ve
r el i ef i n f eder al di st r i ct cour t , and may obt ai n r ei nst at ement and
l ost wages f or t he empl oyee. ” I d. The onl y ot her cour t t o
ent er t ai n a § 207( r ) cl ai m br ought by an i ndi vi dual r eached t he
mer i t s and di smi ssed t he cl ai mwi t hout addr essi ng whet her a pr i vat e
cause of act i on exi st ed. Mi l l er v. Roche Sur et y & Casual t y Co. ,
I nc. , 502 F. App’ x 891, 893 ( 11t h Ci r . 2012) .
I n any event , t hi s i ssue need not be deci ded now. Even i f
t her e wer e a pr i vat e cause of act i on t o enf or ce § 207( r ) , Ms.
DeMi cco does not al l ege any l ost compensat i on r esul t i ng f r om
Vamco’ s conduct . ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶ 102) . Pr i vat e l i t i gant s seeki ng
r el i ef f or vi ol at i ons of t he FLSA’ s wage and over t i me pr ovi si ons
ar e l i mi t ed t o r ecover y of unpai d mi ni mum wages, over t i me
compensat i on, and an equal amount i n l i qui dat ed damages. 29 U. S. C.
§ 216( b) ; see al so Ruggl es v. Wel l poi nt , I nc. , 253 F. R. D. 61, 68
( N. D. N. Y. 2008) . Ther e ar e no such damages cl ai med her e. Whi l e
15
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 15 of 19
t he FLSA’ s ant i - r et al i at i on pr ovi si on does al l ow f or i nj unct i ve
r el i ef , see 29 U. S. C. § 216( b) , Ms. DeMi cco does not seek t o br i ng
a r et al i at i on cl ai m r el at ed t o Vamco’ s al l eged f ai l ur e t o
accommodat e her br east f eedi ng needs. ( Pr op. Compl . , ¶¶ 98- 102) .
I t her ef or e r ecommend t hat Ms. DeMi cco not be per mi t t ed t o j oi n an
FLSA cl ai mf or vi ol at i on of § 207( r ) .
i i . Sect i on 206- c of t he NYLL
The st at ut or y t ext of t he NYLL § 206- c i s si l ent as t o whet her
i t cr eat es a pr i vat e r i ght of act i on. To det er mi ne whet her such a
r i ght may nonet hel ess be “f ai r l y i mpl i ed” i n t he st at ut e and i t s
l egi sl at i ve hi st or y, New Yor k cour t s consi der “( 1) whet her t he
pl ai nt i f f i s one of t he cl ass f or whose par t i cul ar benef i t t he
st at ut e was enact ed; ( 2) whet her r ecogni t i on of a pr i vat e r i ght of
act i on woul d pr omot e t he l egi sl at i ve pur pose; and ( 3) whet her t he
cr eat i on of such a r i ght woul d be consi st ent wi t h t he l egi sl at i ve
scheme. ” Mar ai a v. Or ange Regi onal Medi cal Cent er , 63 A. D. 3d 1113,
1116, 882 N. Y. S. 2d 287, 289- 90 ( 2d Dep’ t 2009) ( i nt er nal quot at i on
mar ks ommi t t ed) . The t hi r d f act or i s t he most i mpor t ant i nqui r y.
I d. , 882 N. Y. S. 2d at 290 ( ci t i ng Br i an Hoxi e’ s Pai nt i ng Co. v.
Cat o- Mer i di an Cent r al School Di st r i ct , 76 N. Y. 2d 207, 212, 557
N. Y. S. 2d 280, 282 ( 1990) ) . The onl y cour t t o pass on t hi s pr eci se
i ssue hel d t hat NYLL § 206- c does not cr eat e a pr i vat e r i ght of
act i on. Kr at zer t v. Whi t e Lodgi ng Ser vi ces, I nc. , No. 1- 09- CV- 597,
16
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 16 of 19
2010 WL 883677, at *1 ( N. D. N. Y. Mar ch 8, 2010) . I n a spar e
opi ni on, t he cour t f ound t hat t o i mpl y a pr i vat e r i ght of act i on
woul d be i nconsi st ent wi t h t he l egi sl at i ve scheme, as “t he
l egi sl at i ve goal was t o i mpr ove wor kpl ace condi t i ons gener al l y and
not t o est abl i sh a vehi cl e f or t he compensat i on of par t i cul ar
i ndi vi dual s. ” I d.
However , t he Cour t her e does not need t o r each t hi s i ssue as
i t pr esent s an unset t l ed quest i on of st at e l aw. ( Def . Memo. at 9) .
Concer ns of “comi t y [ ar e] especi al l y i mpl i cat ed when st at e l aw has
not been def i ni t i vel y i nt er pr et ed by t he st at e cour t s. ” Chenensky,
942 F. Supp. 2d at 395; see al so Br ay v. Ci t y of New Yor k, 356 F.
Supp. 2d 277, 283- 84 ( S. D. N. Y. 2004) ( cl ai ms pr esent i ng “novel
quest i ons of st at e and l ocal l aw [ ] mi l i t at e st r ongl y agai nst
exer ci si ng suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on”) . Gi ven t hat no New Yor k
st at e cour t has yet addr essed t hi s i ssue, i t i s appr opr i at e t o
decl i ne t o exer ci se suppl ement al j ur i sdi ct i on over Ms. DeMi cco’ s
NYLL cl ai m.
Concl usi on
For t he f or egoi ng r easons, I r ecommend t hat t he pl ai nt i f f -
i nt er venor s’ mot i on t o i nt er vene ( Docket no. 21) be gr ant ed i n par t
and deni ed i n par t . The pl ai nt i f f - i nt er venor s shoul d be per mi t t ed
t o br i ng cl ai ms agai nst t he def endant under Ti t l e VI I , t he NYHRL,
and t he NYCHRL, but not under 29 U. S. C. § 207( r ) and NYLL § 206- c.
17
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 17 of 19
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b} (I) and s 72, 6(a}, and 6(d} of
the Rules of Civil Procedure, the parties shall have
fourteen (14) days from this date to file written objections to
this and Recommendation. Such objection shall be filed with
the Clerk of the Court, with extra copies delivered to the chambers
of the Honorable J. Paul Oetken, Room 2101, 40 Foley Square, New
York, New York, 10007 and to the chambers of the undersigned, Room
1960, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007. Failure to file
t objections will preclude appellate review.
Respectfully Submitted,
AMES C. FRANCIS IV
NITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Dated: New York, New York
March 4, 2014
Copies mailed this date:
Thomas Lepak, Esq.
Elizabeth A. Grossman,
Nora E. Curtin, Esq.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
18 
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 18 of 19
Barbara  A.  Gross,  Esq. 
Jean  L.  Schmidt,  Esq. 
Joshua  S.  Hurwit,  Esq. 
Littler  Mendelson,  P.C. 
900  Third  Avenue 
7th  Floor 
New  York,  NY  10022 
Michelle  A.  Caiola,  Esq. 
Legal  Momentum 
5  Hanover  Square 
New  York,  NY  10004 
19 
Case 1:13-cv-06088-JPO-JCF Document 33 Filed 03/04/14 Page 19 of 19