Home » Blog » Employment Discrimination » Retaliation Claims, But Not Discrimination & Hostile Work Environment Claims, Remain Against Deutsche Bank

Retaliation Claims, But Not Discrimination & Hostile Work Environment Claims, Remain Against Deutsche Bank

by mjpospis on December 2, 2015

in Employment Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, Retaliation, Same-Sex Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment

In Erasmus v. Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. et al, No. 15 CIV. 1398 (PAE), 2015 WL 7736554 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2015), the Southern District of New York (Judge Engelmayer) dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment and discrimination claims, but permitted plaintiff’s retaliation claims (albeit in limited form) to continue.

Plaintiff, a heterosexual male, alleged in his amended complaint (among other things) that

23. During [a] conversation [an unnamed] Co-worker stated, “TO GET INTO A NIGHTCLUB JUST PUT A SOCK IN YOUR PANTS AND PRETEND LIKE YOU HAVE A REALLY BIG DICK AND THEN WHEN THE BOUNCER SEES IT YOU ARE GUARANTEED TO GET IN TO THE CLUB.”

24.CO-WORKER THEN PROCEEDED TO MOTION TO PLAINTIFF WHEN POINTING TO HIS PENIS.

25.Plaintiff rejected these sexual advances and became increasingly offended by these continuing and escalating sexual advances by Co-worker.

26.In retaliation, Co-worker made Plaintiff’s work experience unbearable and hostile.

27.Co-worker defamed Plaintiff’s good name and professional reputation.

He claims that the defendants terminated him two days after he filed a second complaint against defendants with the EEOC.

Hostile Work Environment

The court dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims, finding (among other things) that plaintiff’s complaint contained merely “conclusory allegations as to the severity and pervasiveness of the Co-worker’s behavior” and that the identified acts “while crude” did not rise to the level of a hostile work environment under Title VII. It cited various Second Circuit decisions finding “similar and even substantially more serious conduct to fall short of creating a hostile work environment.”

Retaliation

The court held, however, that plaintiff sufficiently alleged retaliation under Title VII based on his co-worker’s relocation and plaintiff’s termination:

Here, as pled, only approximately two weeks passed between [plaintiff]’s November 12, 2014 EEOC mediation with Deutsche Bank and the placement of the Co-worker next to [plaintiff] in late November 2014, and just over one month passed between the mediation and [plaintiff]’s December 17, 2014 termination. As to both adverse acts, such short intervals support a causal inference of retaliation sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Deutsche Bank will, of course, be at liberty in discovery to adduce evidence that undermines this inference, much as [plaintiff] may adduce evidence supporting it. But the close temporal proximity of these events clears the requisite pleading bar.

In addition, “[b]ecause the Amended Complaint adequately pleads a retaliation claim against Deutsche Bank under Title VII, it necessarily states a claim for retaliation under the NYSHRL and the more liberally construed NYCHRL.”

Categories: Employment Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, Retaliation, Same-Sex Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Previous post:

Next post: