Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed on the Pleadings; Court Cites Absence of Racially Derogatory Statements

In a decision handed down yesterday, Collins v. Resource Center for Independent Living, 17-CV-0925, 2018 WL 5983377 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 14, 2018), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion to dismiss – on the pleadings, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) – plaintiff’s Title VII race-based hostile work environment claim.

From the decision:

[T]he Court finds that Plaintiff’s Complaint, even when examined through such a broad lens, fails to state a hostile work environment claim capable of surviving Defendant’s Motion. The factual allegations that could be construed as supporting her claim include: (1) the April 2014 change in her responsibilities and work conditions, which coincided with the promotion and/or retention of certain white employees; (2) Ortis’s requirement that Plaintiff inform him of her whereabouts at all times; (3) McCormick’s post-October 2015 decision to assign the OPWDD training to Murphy, rather than Plaintiff; and (4) McCormick’s post-October 2015 decision denying Plaintiff the opportunity to attend the Baltimore WIPA training. Those events—even when considered as a whole—fall well short of the “severe or pervasive” standard required for showing the existence of “an objectively hostile or abusive work environment.” … Plaintiff does not claim that any racially derogatory statements were made either to her or any other of Defendant’s employees, and the allegations in the Complaint “contain no suggestion of hostility or offensiveness” based on race.

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