In August 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that four Caucasian flight engineers can pursue their employment discrimination claims in New York, against a Japanese air cargo carrier.
“In [the case of] Baker v. Nippon Cargo Airlines, 09-CV-3374 (RRM), four former flight engineers sued for discrimination, based on national origin, race, and age, when they were fired, while their younger, Japanese counterparts were offered new opportunities when Nippon Cargo Airlines changed its equipment.”
The Court held that the case should remain under New York jurisdiction due to three of the Plaintiffs having a New York choice of law provision in their written employment agreements which preserves jurisdiction for any suits arising from the employment based on the agreement. While none of the Plaintiffs live in New York, their employment is based at the NCA hub at the John F. Kennedy International Airport located in Queens, New York.
In response to Defendants’ objection to jurisdiction being held in New York, the Court states: “Surely, [D]efendants cannot be suggesting that [P]laintiffs’ primary place of employment, where they ‘spent most of their working hours’ is in the air, and that therefore, there is no physical location that can serve as a proper forum for the litigation of plaintiffs’ employment discrimination claims.”
The Plaintiffs were flight engineers who had flown 747-Cargo planes for at least seven years prior to being terminated from employment. The Plaintiff’s sue under federal, state and city anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII, ADEA, Sec. 1981, NYS & NYC Human Rights Law and will now be able to litigate this matter in New York Courts.