“Reverse” Race Discrimination Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Summary Judgment

In Geras v. Hempstead Union Free Sch. Dist., No. 13-CV-5094(ADS)(AYS), 2015 WL 9182980 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2015), the court noted that “although the standard for establishing a hostile work environment is high, … [t]he environment need not be unendurable or intolerable.”

From the decision:

[T]here is testimonial evidence that the Plaintiff was “harassed [and] belittled on a daily basis” by Cross, beginning on “day one” of his employment, and that he had complained to the District Superintendent “all the time” about Cross’s treatment of him. Dr. Garcia recalled “numerous occasions” in Board meetings where Cross would “be extremely disrespectful to Mr. Geras” and would direct racially-charged comments at him. This is consistent with the Plaintiff’s testimony that he was regularly “degraded” and “berated” by Cross, who called him such names as a “no good white man”; “white boy”; and “white racist.”

The court concluded that, although the question was “close”, summary judgment was not warranted for defendant due to the evidence presented and “in light of the Second Circuit’s instruction that the existence of a hostile work environment is especially well-suited for jury determination rather than on a motion for summary judgment”.