Asbestos Handler’s Disability-Based Hostile Work Environment Dismissed

In Alexander Guerrero Toro v. Northstar Demolition & Remediation, 2019 WL 1396751 (W.D.N.Y. March 28, 2019), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claim of a disability-based hostile work environment claim.

From the decision:

Plaintiff testified that he was subject to workplace harassment because he was assigned to jobs he could not complete, his supervisors wanted him to quit, and his co-workers would laugh at him during morning meetings. (Dkt. 43-1 at 106-07). Plaintiff has also claimed that he was mocked, assigned unnecessary and/or unsafe jobs, issued unwarranted written warnings, denied overtime wages, temporarily suspended, and subjected to changes to his work and lunch hours. (See Dkt. 43-2 at 24-28, 32, 34, 36, 59-60, 62-63). Nonetheless, the type of “conduct of which [P]laintiff complains is far from ‘offensive, pervasive, and continuous enough’ to meet the ‘demanding’ standard for establishing an abusive working environment under the ADA.” Monterroso, 591 F. Supp. 2d at 585 (quoting Scott v. Mem’l Sloan-Kettering Cancer Ctr., 190 F. Supp. 2d 590, 599 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)). The mere fact that others might have laughed at Plaintiff is insufficient to establish a hostile workplace environment, especially where Plaintiff testified that Defendant’s employees never made “derogatory comments” to him about his disability. … [T]here is no admissible evidence demonstrating that any laughter was directed at Plaintiff because of his disability, outside his subjective beliefs.

Other evidence proffered by plaintiff – including the assignment of difficult/unpleasant tasks, written reprimands, a one-week suspension from work, and being deprived of overtime opportunities – did not amount to an actionable hostile work environment.