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Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Summary Judgment; Evidence Included Racial Epithets

by mjpospis on August 8, 2018

in Age Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, Hostile Work Environment

In McLeod v. General Vision Services, Inc. et al, 13-cv-6824, 2018 WL 3745662 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 6, 2018), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion on plaintiff’s race- and age-based hostile work environment claims.

The court noted – in the portion of the decision where it assessed plaintiff’s race discrimination claims[1]The court dismissed plaintiff’s race discrimination claims asserted under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. 1981, but denied defendants’ summary judgment motion as to plaintiff’s race discrimination claim under the NYC Human Rights Law. – that plaintiff offered a declaration attesting to a number of racial comments made by plaintiff’s manager, Pleshtiyev,

calling Plaintiff his “slave,” stating “all you black people are thieves” in reference to a former African American employee who had allegedly stolen from the store, and commenting, in reference to his transfer to JLS, that all of the sales personnel were “ghetto niggers” and that he would say “yo, what’s up nigger” to the JLS customers.

In denying defendants’ motion, the court explained:

Plaintiff’s declaration contains numerous examples of times she was called old or subjected to negative treatment, along with the various racial epithets hurled at her by Pleshtiyev [plaintiff’s manager], and I find such examples sufficient to create a reasonable issue of fact for the jury with respect to whether Plaintiff was subject to a hostile work environment. See Rivera, 743 F.3d at 24 (“We emphasize that ‘perhaps no single act can more quickly alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment than the use of an unambiguously racial epithet such as nigger by a supervisor in the presence of his subordinates.’ ” (quoting Richardson v. N.Y. State Dep’t of Corr. Serv., 180 F.3d 426, 439 (2d Cir. 1999))); see also Daniel v. T & M Prot. Res., LLC, No. 15-560-cv, 2017 WL 1476598, at *1 (2d Cir. Apr. 25, 2017) (summary order) (rejecting the district court’s decision that the one-time use of a racial slur from a supervisor to a subordinate could not, by itself, support a hostile work environment claim). As a result, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims is denied.

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1. The court dismissed plaintiff’s race discrimination claims asserted under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. 1981, but denied defendants’ summary judgment motion as to plaintiff’s race discrimination claim under the NYC Human Rights Law.

Categories: Age Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, Hostile Work Environment

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