Court Dismisses Christian’s “Anti-Religion” Discrimination/Hostile Work Environment Claim; Comments Not Made Directly to Plaintiff Deemed “Stray Remarks”

From Gebrial Rasmy, Plaintiff, v. Marriott International, Inc., d/b/a JW Marriott Essex House Hotel, et al., Defendants., 2018 WL 4682231 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2018):

Plaintiff writes in his opposition brief that Efstratiou would tell Plaintiff, who he knew to be a devout Christian, that “God is garbage” and “Religions [are] for the stupid people,” but in his deposition Plaintiff does not allege that Efstratiou said any of these statements to him.5 See Tr. 400:12-19 (“He believe that the idea of God is garbage. Religions [are] for the stupid people.”). While discriminatory behavior not directed at the plaintiff can still contribute to the creation of an overall hostile work environment, see Cruz v. Coach Stores, Inc., 202 F.3d 560, 571 (2d Cir. 2000), general anti-religion statements of this nature not directed at the plaintiff personally are “stray remarks at best.” See Velez v. SES Operating Corp., 07-CV-10946 (DLC), 2009 WL 3817461, at *11 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 12, 2009) (noting that a discriminatory comment overheard by plaintiff is best characterized as a “stray remark” that is not probative of a discriminatory motive); Green v. Harris Publ’ns, Inc., 331 F. Supp. 2d 180, 192 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (granting summary judgment on the hostile work environment claim and finding that two racially discriminatory comments overheard by the plaintiff “were stray remarks at best”). There are no facts in the record to support the inference that Plaintiff was personally targeted by any anti-Christian animus, nor that he experienced anything more than a petty slight in his work environment regarding his religious practice.