Lebanese Muslim Plaintiff Plausibly Alleges National Origin and Religion-Based Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment Claims

In Adlah v. Emergency Ambulance Services, 17-CV-4688, 2018 WL 3093972 (E.D.N.Y. June 22, 2018), the court held that plaintiff – who worked for defendant as an EMT – pleaded enough facts to support his claims of employment discrimination and hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the basis of his national origin (Lebanese) and religion (Muslim).

As to his discrimination claim, the court found that his termination, shift changes, and suspension qualified as “adverse employment actions.”

The court also found that plaintiff set forth sufficient allegations to meet his (minimal) burden of raising a plausible inference of discrimination:

When pieced together, the Court finds that the allegations in the Amended Complaint create a “mosaic” of facts, which if true, give rise to a plausible inference that the defendant was motivated by bias against plaintiff’s national origin and religion. See Vega, 801 F.3d at 87. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that coworkers were making inappropriate comments to plaintiff about his nationality and religion. (AC at 4-7.) When plaintiff complained to management, he was allegedly told that there was nothing wrong with what his coworkers were saying and that plaintiff should not tell anyone that he felt targeted. (Id. at 6-7.) Further, plaintiff alleges that those coworkers were “rewarded … by allowing both of them to work with one another on the same ambulance” whereas plaintiff was removed from his shift that worked around his children and school schedule. (Id. at 5.) Though plaintiff does not specifically identify the religion or national origin of his coworkers, drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff’s favor, this is sufficient to state a plausible inference of discrimination.

In finding that plaintiff sufficiently asserted a hostile work environment claim, noting plaintiff’s allegations that, inter alia, “for approximately six months he was subjected to repeated comments about his national origin and religion from both coworkers and supervisors,” and that “when he informed management that he felt targeted because of his religion and national origin, he was told that he was not allowed to state that he felt targeted.” These allegations, held the court, “are sufficient to state a plausible claim and give defendant fair notice of plaintiff’s claim.”