Plaintiff Overcomes Summary Judgment on Race Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment, and Retaliation Claims

In Turner v. Manhattan Bowery Mgmt. Corp., 49 Misc. 3d 1220(A) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015), the court held that plaintiff (an African American maintenance worker) presented sufficient evidence to overcome summary judgment on his race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims.

As to his hostile work environment claim, the court held:

[P]laintiff presented sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that he was subjected to conduct so severe or pervasive as to have unreasonably interfered with his work performance … to support a hostile environment claim. Racial slurs and use of the “N” word on a daily or weekly basis over several years, repeated references to Hispanics “being too Black,” and repeatedly assigning African–Americans to undesirable and potentially more dangerous locations to work, sufficiently support such a claim.

As to his race discrimination claim, “defendants established that they terminated plaintiff based on their investigation of an incident where it was reported that plaintiff punched a co-worker while at work.”

However, plaintiff presented evidence that a supervisor “assigned plaintiff and other African Americans to areas with higher crime rates”, which was among factors that were “sufficient to raise an issue of fact as to whether the proffered reason for plaintiff’s termination was pretextual.”