Outten & Golden LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Over New York Life’s Alleged Use of Arrest Records to Reject Job Applicants

PRNewswire—Outten & Golden LLP
December 4, 2020

A job applicant to New York Life filed a class action alleging that the company denied employment to her because of arrests that never resulted in conviction. The complaint specifically alleges that New York Life’s uniform policy and practice, to deny applicants with such arrests, “flout[s] New York law, treating individuals as guilty of crimes for which they were never convicted, and inverting the fundamental U.S. legal principle that an individual is innocent until proven guilty.”

New York City and State make it an unlawful discriminatory practice to deny employment to an individual or group of persons because of arrests that were terminated in their favor. As the New York City Human Rights Law explains, “there is no greater danger to the health, morals, safety and welfare of . . .  [New York City] and its inhabitants than the existence of groups prejudiced against one another and antagonistic to each other because of their actual or perceived differences, including those based on . . . conviction or arrest record.”  

Outten & Golden attorney, Christopher M. McNerney, says: “This lawsuit is crucial to ensuring that New Yorkers are no longer denied gainful employment because of arrests that did not even result in any conviction, and have absolutely no bearing on their suitability for employment.” Youth Represent attorney, Michael C. Pope, adds: “These legal protections have been on the books for years now. For a corporation to still be ignoring the law, and harming New Yorkers in the process, is simply not acceptable.”

Causes of Action: New York City Human Rights Law, New York State Human Rights Law.

Relief: Injunction barring unlawful practices; class certification; compensatory and punitive damages.

Potential Class Size: All job applicants and employees denied employment because of arrests by NY Life throughout New York State.

Attorneys: Ossai Miazad and Christopher M. McNerney with Outten & Golden LLP and Michael C. Pope and Eric Eingold with Youth Represent filed the complaint.

The case is Hughes-Phillips v. New York Life, No. 1:20-cv-10158, filed 12/3/2020. 

Outten & Golden LLP focuses on advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters both domestically and internationally. The firm counsels individuals on employment and severance agreements; handles complex compensation and benefits issues (including bonuses, equity agreements, and partnership interests); and advises professionals (including doctors and lawyers) on contractual issues. It also represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, as well as retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm handles class actions involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, gender- and race-based discrimination, wage-and-hour violations, violations of the WARN Act, and other systemic workers’ rights issues.

Outten & Golden has nine practice groups: Executives & Professionals, Financial Services, Sexual Harassment & Sex Discrimination, Family Responsibilities & Disabilities Discrimination, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Workplace Rights, Discrimination & Retaliation, Whistleblower Retaliation, Class & Collective Actions, and WARN Act. 

Outten & Golden has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Youth Represent, a legal nonprofit based in New York, ensures that young people affected by the criminal legal system are afforded every opportunity to reclaim lives of dignity, self-fulfillment, and engagement in their communities. Through strategic litigation, individual legal representation, and policy advocacy, Youth Represent improves the lives and futures of thousands of youth a year.

For media inquiries, contact Christopher M. McNerney at (212) 245-1000 or @email

SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP