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N.Y. Lab. Law § 201-d(1)(b) defines "recreational activities" as: any lawful, leisure-time activity, for which the employee receives no compensation and which is generally engaged in for recreational purposes, including but not limited to sports, games, hobbies, exercise, reading and the viewing of television, movies and similar material.
On November 30, 1999, the plaintiff, Jess D. McCavitt, brought suit against the defendant, Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation ("Swiss Re"), in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff alleges that he was hired by Swiss Re (or by a company related to Swiss Re; the complaint is unclear) in 1996, and that by January 1999, he was a Swiss Re officer whose performance was highly regarded by his superiors. According to the complaint, "since 1999, McCavitt has been involved in a personal relationship with Diane Butler [also a Swiss Re officer] The complaint alleged that even though "the personal relationship between plaintiff and Ms. Butler has had no repercussions whatever for the professional responsibilities or accomplishments of either" and "Swiss Re . . . has no written anti-fraternization or anti-nepotism policy," McCavitt was passed over for promotion and then discharged from employment largely because of their dating. McCavitt asserted that his termination violated New York Labor Law § 201-d. Swiss Re filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), arguing that romantic dating was not a protected "recreational activity" under § 201-d. The district court agreed with Swiss Re and granted defendant's motion to dismiss. McCavitt appealed.
Did romantic dating constitute a "recreational activity" as defined in New York Labor Law § 201-d?
The court found no persuasive evidence that the highest court in the state would hold that romantic dating was a "recreational activity" under N.Y. Lab. Law § 201-d(1)(b). Therefore, the dismissal was affirmed.