Hostile Work Environment Claims Dismissed; Rudeness Insufficient

In Singa v. Corizon Health, Inc., 2018 WL 324884 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 8, 2018), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment and discrimination (based on national origin) and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law.

Among other claims, plaintiff asserted, inter alia, that her supervisor, Dr. Aung (of Chinese-Burmese descent) gave plaintiff bad write-ups and “ignored her when she greeted him.”

Judge Cogan summarized the law:

To state a hostile-work-environment claim under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, or New York State Human Rights Law, New York Executive Law § 290-301, a plaintiff must plead facts showing that her workplace is “permeated with ‘discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult’ that is ‘sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.’ ” Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993) (citation omitted) (quoting Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 65, 67 (1986)). The plaintiff must also show “either that a single incident was extraordinarily severe, or that a series of incidents were ‘sufficiently continuous and concerted’ to have altered the conditions of her working environment.” Cruz v. Coach Stores, Inc., 202 F.3d 560, 570 (2d Cir. 2000) (quoting Perry v. Ethan Allen, Inc., 115 F.3d 143, 149 (2d Cir. 1997)), superseded on other grounds by N.Y.C. Local L. No. 85.

Applying the law, he explained:

There is not a single fact in the amended complaint alleging the kind of hostility required by the caselaw. Plaintiff does not allege that she suffered racial epithets, disparaging remarks, or insults delivered in front of co-workers, and certainly does not allege any physical confrontations, or degrading or humiliating conduct. See Alfano v. Costello, 294 F.3d 365, 380 (2d Cir. 2002) (collecting cases); see also Petrosino v. Bell Atl., 385 F.3d 210, 223 (2d Cir. 2004).

The closest that plaintiff gets to a hostile-work-environment claim is that Dr. Aung was rude to her by not greeting her on her first day. That is far from sufficient.

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