Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Summary Judgment; Court Cites Derogatory Terms and Threatening Behavior

From Petterson v. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2019 WL 367840, at *7 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2019):

While the alleged statements, such as “Barbara’s bush” and “sucking dick” by themselves are insufficient to show a hostile work environment, when coupled with the other evidence presented, a jury could conclude that Plaintiff was subjected to support a hostile work environment claim. First, it was not until she received her promotion, in a field allegedly dominated by males, that such comments were made. It was thereafter that she was referred to as “cunt” and “bitch,” epithets used to demean women and as such comments “that could be viewed as reflecting discriminatory animus.” Patane v. Clark, 508 F.3d 106, 112 (2d Cir. 2007). After her complaints regarding sexual innuendos and comments, her office was moved to a storage closet and her personal belonging were disturbed. The alleged incidents with Dwyer wherein he shoved her, drove his car so close to her she could feel the engine’s heat, and urinated in the women’s bathroom, constitute physically threatening actions. Other alleged incidents interfered with her ability to work; they include her work vehicle being plowed in after a snow storm, interference in the contracts for which she was responsible, and mulch being placed in an inaccessible area. While not overwhelming, the evidence presented is sufficient to raise a question of fact as to whether Plaintiff was faced with “harassment … of such quality or quantity that a reasonable person would find the conditions of her employment altered for the worst.

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