Pediatric Nurse’s Sexual Harassment and Disability Discrimination Claims Against NYU Langone Medical Center Survive Summary Judgment

In Haight v. NYU Langone Med. Ctr., Inc., No. 13 CIV. 4993 (LGS), 2016 WL 29628 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 4, 2016), the Southern District of New York denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s sex-based hostile work environment (sexual harassment) and disability discrimination claims, but granted it with respect to her negligent supervision/retention claims. (2014 court ruling summarized here.)

As to her sexual harassment/hostile work environment claim, the court held:

When viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the acts and comments of Dr. Wisoff, Blate and Plaintiff’s other co-workers are sufficient for a fact finder to conclude that a hostile work environment existed because of Plaintiff’s sex in violation of the NYSHRL. In particular, Plaintiff has proffered evidence that Blate placed her hands inside Plaintiff’s pants and that, after Blate illegally entered Plaintiff’s medical records, Blate and other NYU employees harassed Plaintiff in 2009 and/or 2010 regarding her virginity, future sexual experiences, potential pregnancy and gynecological problems, and made gestures and comments with sexual innuendo. …

A reasonable fact finder could conclude that these actions, taken together, were sufficiently severe and pervasive to create a hostile work environment. … Plaintiff has also proffered evidence that, despite her complaints, Defendants failed to address these matters.

The court also denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s disability discrimination claim, holding that “[a] reasonable fact finder could conclude … that Plaintiff’s PTSD was triggered by proximity to Blate and Dr. Wisoff … and that Defendants could have provided reasonable accommodation by, among other things, reassigning Plaintiff to a different position in a different location.”

It dismissed plaintiff’s negligent supervision and retention claim as preempted by New York’s Workers’ Compensation statute.