Lacking Link to Plaintiff’s Age, Plaintiff’s Age-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Fails

In Renk v. Renk, No. 153019/2020, 2020 WL 7046642 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Nov. 25, 2020), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s age-based hostile work environment claim asserted under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision:

To establish a hostile work environment under the NYSHRL and NYCHRL, plaintiff must show that defendants created, encouraged, approved, condoned, or acquiesced in an objectively hostile or abusive workplace environment, which altered the conditions of her employment. N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(1); N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(1)(a) and (13)(b)(1); Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind. 3 N.Y.3d at 310-11; Bateman v. Montefiore Med. Ctr., 183 A.D.3d at 490; Doe v. Bloomberg L.P., 178 A.D.3d at 45, 48; Gordon v. Barock Sapir Org. LLC, 161 A.D.3d 480, 481 (1st Dep’t 2018). Again, while plaintiff may allege that defendants actively encouraged, approved, participated, or were involved in conduct that created a hostile work environment for her, she fails to allege the elemental facts of how defendants’ hostility was based on her age. Mejia v. T.N. 888 Eighth Ave. LLC Co., 169 A.D.3d 613, 614 (1st Dep’t 2019); Abe v. New York Univ., 169 A.D.3d at 447; Arifi v. Central Moving & Stor. Co., Inc., 147 A.D.3d 551, 551 (1st Dep’t 2017); Llanos v. City of New York, 129 A.D.3d 620, 620 (1st Dep’t 2015). Instead, she specifically alleges that her hostile work environment was motivated by defendants’ “unbridled greed” and “concerted effort to literally steal Kimberley’s ownership and equity interests in Sequin LLC.” …

Plaintiff also claims that defendants condoned or acquiesced in her hostile work environment by not intervening or taking corrective action, but there was no hostility based on her age to intervene in or to correct. Defendants are not liable under the NYSHRL or NYCHRL for any hostile work environment. They are liable only for hostility based on plaintiff’s membership in a protected class.

For similar reasons, the court held that plaintiff failed to state a claim for constructive discharge, noting that “[a]t most, the amended complaint alleges Sequin’s lack of concern and negligence about plaintiff’s alleged hostile work environment” and that “[e]ven if Sequin’s response to plaintiff’s concerns was completely ineffective, negligence does not demonstrate the deliberateness required to sustain a claim for constructive discharge.”

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