Hostile Work Environment Claim Sufficiently Alleged; Allegations Include Use of “Retard” Slur

In Roxanne Mongillo et al. v. Town Fair Tire Centers, Inc., NNHCV206107390, 2021 WL 5911661 (Conn. Super. Dec. 6, 2021), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to strike plaintiff’s claim of disability-based hostile work environment.

From the decision:

The plaintiff’s allegations of repeated verbal and physical abuse, when considered cumulatively, are sufficiently frequent, severe, and physically threatening or humiliating to support a hostile work environment claim. Though the plaintiff does not explicitly allege the frequency of Harrison’s conduct, he does allege that the conduct was “continued” and occurred “incessantly” and “repeatedly,” giving rise to a reasonable inference of sufficient frequency. As to severity and physicality, the plaintiff alleges that Harrison used the slur “retard” when referring to him, “would verbally and physically abuse the plaintiff in front of other employees,” “would reveal private medical information” including “embarrassing side effects” of some medications “in front of other employees,” and would “humiliate the plaintiff regarding his [disabilities] in front of other staff at Town Fair Tire.” Other courts have found similar allegations sufficient to state a hostile work environment claim.

[Citations omitted.]

The court proceeded to cite what it regarded as analogous cases, and distinguished cases cited by defendant that found the allegations/evidence insufficient.

As to this point, the court concluded that “plaintiff’s allegation that the defendant allowed its service manager to engage in a continued campaign of verbal and physical abuse against the plaintiff based on the plaintiff’s disabilities, when construed broadly and realistically and in favor of the non-moving party, supports either an inference that the defendant knew of another employee’s harassing behavior but failed to stop it or an inference that the plaintiff was harassed by a supervisor.”

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