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’13 Alumnus Successfully Argues Case of First Impression in New York Supreme Court

Josef Mensah, '13

September 13, 2017

Josef Mensah, ’13, an associate at Mark Lubelsky & Associates in New York City, prevailed in a precedent-setting New York Supreme Court case involving alleged employment discrimination.

In August, a judge allowed Mensah’s client to amend a complaint alleging that he had been terminated because he was believed to be married to a former colleague and dismissed the employer’s motion to dismiss the matter.

Mensah represented a man who was fired because his employer thought he was married to a colleague who took a job with a competitor. Mensah’s client, Christopher Morse, and his wife had divorced but remained in the same household with their children. Morse contends that his employer, when firing him, indicated that he would be considered for future employment if he ended his marriage.

The employer sought a dismissal of the complaint, contending that discrimination based on marital status does not consider the identity of the person to whom someone is married.

The court’s decision established that under New York City’s Human Rights Law, an employer’s conduct towards an employee solely because of perceived marriage status is prohibited.

“It was fun to assist the court in interpreting rather new laws,” Mensah said, alluding to amendments made to the law in 2005 that added protections for “partnership status.”

Mensah, whose practice focuses primarily on employment discrimination, said he hopes that the case will be tried within a year.

As a student, Mensah was a member of the Trial Team, winning the Judge Paul Joseph Kelly Jr. Invitational Trial Competition and, upon graduation, the Outstanding Commitment to the Trial Team Award.  He won an additional award for providing more than 101 hours of pro bono service prior to graduation.