Hostile Work Environment Claims Dismissed Against NYS Gaming Commission

In Wolfe-Santos v NYS Gaming Com’n, No. 160963/16, 2018 WL 4350325, at *4, 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 32247(U), 4 (Sup Ct, New York County Sep. 12, 2018), the court dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under the NYS and NYC Human Rights Laws.

Initially, the court explained the legal standards for such claims:

A hostile work environment under the NYSHRL (Executive Law § 296) exists where the 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” (Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 310 [2004]). To state a hostile work environment claim under the NYCHRL, however, plaintiff must demonstrate that she has been treated less well than other employees because of her disability (Williams v New York City Hous. Auth., 61 AD3d 62 [1st Dept 2009]).

In determining whether a plaintiff was subject to a hostile work environment under the NYSHRL, the court must look at the totality of the circumstances and may consider “the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.

Applying the law, the court explained:

[Plaintiff’s] claims about the individual defendants’ conduct amount to nothing more than “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.” Further, plaintiff has failed to allege any facts which would demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct was motivated by discriminatory animus based on plaintiff’s disabilities. Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under the NYCHRL also fail because she has not alleged how she was treated differently from other similarly situated employees.



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