Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claim Against Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Survives Summary Judgment

In Woolcock v. Lukes-Roosevelt, No. 518301/2016, 2019 WL 1206356 (N.Y. Sup Ct, Kings County Mar. 11, 2019), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s hostile work environment sexual harassment claim under the NYC Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

[D]efendant fails to set forth that a reasonable victim of discrimination would consider plaintiff’s allegations as nothing more than petty slights and trivial inconveniences. Summary judgment must be granted only where the movant can demonstrate “that the alleged discriminatory conduct in question does not represent a ‘borderline’ situation but one that could only be reasonably interpreted by a trier of fact as representing no more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences” (Williams v. New York City Hous. Auth., 61 A.D.3d 62, supra). Here, plaintiff alleges that Lewis made physical contact with her, including groping her breasts and buttocks, rubbing his body against hers and making offensive and explicit comments. A jury could reasonably find that this behavior allegedly experienced by the plaintiff constitutes more than “petty slights and trivial inconveniences”. Accordingly, defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law dismissing plaintiff’s NYCHRL claim for hostile work environment based on sexual harassment is denied. There are issues of fact as to whether the incidents alleged by plaintiff are more than petty slights and trivial inconveniences.

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