In Montanez v. McDean LLC, 2019 WL 2153298 (2d Cir. May 16, 2019) (Summary Order), the Second Circuit, inter alia, affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim.
The law, as summarized by the court:
To establish a hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must show, inter alia, that “the workplace was permeated with discriminatory intimidation that was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his or her work environment.” Petrosino v. Bell Atl., 385 F.3d 210, 221 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). A “[p]laintiff must show not only that she subjectively perceived the environment to be abusive, but also that the environment was objectively hostile and abusive.” Demoret v. Zegarelli, 451 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2006). “[A] mild, isolated incident does not make a work environment hostile.” Terry v. Ashcroft, 336 F.3d 128, 148 (2d Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, “the test is whether the harassment is of such quality or quantity that a reasonable employee would find the conditions of her employment altered for the worse.” Id. (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted).
Applying the law, the court held:
Montañez failed to offer sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment. He stated that two managers, Carriann Schaub and Margarita Nunez, made sexual jokes and comments about him and coworkers, and that Schaub once asked him on a date. However, “the ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language,” do not rise to a level constituting a hostile work environment. Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 788 (1998) (internal quotation marks omitted). Likewise, “[i]solated, minor acts or occasional episodes do not warrant relief.” Brennan v. Metro. Opera Ass’n, Inc., 192 F.3d 310, 318 (2d Cir. 1999).
Montañez argues that the restaurant managers also made him clean, screamed at him in front of customers, and set him up to breach the restaurant’s security system as a part of the harassment. But additional work and inappropriate or wrongful reprimands are insufficient to establish a hostile work environment. See Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d 297, 321 (2d Cir. 2015) (allegations such as additional work, changes in schedule, removal from meetings, and wrongful reprimands were insufficient to establish a hostile work environment). Even if Montañez was set up by Schaub to breach the security system, he was ultimately not disciplined, given his job back, and merely cautioned not to smoke on duty again. The district court properly granted summary judgment on this claim.