Hostile Work Environment Claim Properly Dismissed; While Properly Pled, Not Administratively Exhausted

From McGuirk v. Swiss Re Financial Services Corp., 2017 WL 4857450 (2d Cir. Oct. 26, 2017) (Summary Order):

We agree with McGuirk that she properly pled a hostile work environment claim, but affirm the district court’s dismissal because she failed to properly exhaust that claim before the New York State Division of Human Rights. See Leon v. Murphy, 988 F.2d 303, 308 (2d Cir. 1993) (we may affirm “on any basis for which there is a record sufficient to permit conclusions of law, including grounds upon which the district court did not rely”). Exhaustion of administrative remedies is a pre-condition to bringing suit in federal court, though not a jurisdictional requirement. Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 384 (2d Cir. 2015). McGuirk’s complaint before the Division of Human Rights did not raise her hostile work environment claim. No equitable defense to the failure to exhaust applies. Since McGuirk exhausted other claims, she was not prevented from raising the hostile work environment claim. The hostile work environment claim was not reasonably related to the other claims, so the agency did not have a basis to investigate McGuirk’s allegations. See Williams v. New York City Hous. Auth., 458 F.3d 67, 70 (2d Cir. 2006) (“The central question is whether the complaint filed with the [agency] gave that agency adequate notice to investigate [the unexhausted claims].” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

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