Invitation to “Gun Show” and Other Comments Insufficient to Survive Summary Judgment on Hostile Work Environment Claim

In Marquez v. City of New York, 14-CV-8185, 2016 WL 4767577 (SDNY Sept. 12, 2016), the court granted summary judgment to defendant and dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim.

Plaintiff (a NYPD detective) alleged, among other things, that a male Lieutenant (Castro) told her that she did not need to lose weight and that he “liked her the way she was” – “nice and tight” and invited plaintiff to the “gun show” and asked her if she wanted “to feel it” while flexing his muscles.

These incidents, held the court, were insufficient to overcome summary judgment on plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim: “Castro’s comments concerning Plaintiff’s “nice and tight” physical shape, his own “gun show” muscles, and the “open” state of Plaintiffs’ pants during lunch – while no doubt inappropriate and boorish – are not, as an objective matter, sufficiently severe to be actionable under Title VII. These comments did not, for example, contain profanity, slurs, insults, or threats, and did not explicitly reference sexual acts or specific physical features.” (Emphasis added)

The court also dismissed plaintiff’s retaliation claim, finding that she did not make a prima facie showing that she suffered a materially adverse employment action in retaliation for her alleged activities, or present sufficient evidence of causation. As to causation, the court noted that “the conduct of which Plaintiff complains occurred at least three months and, in several important cases, more than eight months after Plaintiff first submitted complaints to EEO and the union.”