Court Dismisses Hostile Work Environment Claim Based on Arab Ancestry

In Karam v. Cty. of Rensselaer, New York, 13-cv-1018, 2016 WL 51252 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 4, 2016), the court (among other things) granted defendants’ motion dismissing plaintiff’s claim that he was subjected to a hostile work environment claim based on his Arab ancestry.

It explained:

[O]nly two statements concerning Plaintiff’s ancestry were made within the applicable statute of limitations period. Defendant Russo stated that Plaintiff had better shave his goatee or he would be placed back on the no fly list, and Defendant Mahar stated that Plaintiff did not like working with women because of his ancestry, Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to establish that these sporadic comments were objectively so severe or pervasive that an ordinary person would find them hostile or abusive.

It also held that plaintiff failed to present evidence on the “subjective” prong of the hostile work environment analysis, noting among other things that plaintiff “made no mention of being the subject of racially insensitive jokes or comments in his initial workers compensation application” and “joined in the use of abusive language by calling [a defendant] a ‘cunt’ and joking about Defendant Smith’s Polish heritage.”

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