Hostile Work Environment, Sexual Harassment Claims Sufficiently Alleged Based on Pejorative Hispanic Comments, Pornographic Images

In Farber Schneider Ferrari LLP v. Slowik, No. 157630/2019, 2022 WL 114106 (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Jan. 12, 2022), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims for hostile work environment and sexual harassment.

From the decision:

Defendants’ motion to dismiss the cause of action alleging violations of the State and City Human Rights Laws for a hostile work environment is denied. The Court finds plaintiffs have articulated sufficient facts at this stage of the litigation to sustain their harassment claims, particularly under the standards set forth in the City Human Rights Law in which the individual plaintiffs asserted abuse and hostile work environment. For instance, plaintiffs allege Klein emailed Farber using pejorative words referring to people of Hispanic origin, to wit “wetback,” and Slowik’s inappropriate conduct manifested in “explosive emotional outbursts.” Additionally, the Court finds the pleadings adequately state such cause of action in light of Slowik’s conduct of utilizing pornographic images into work product documents he edited for Farber or Schneider and emailed similar content.

The court further denied the motion against the corporate entity, since the individual defendants’ conduct, as its sole partners and owners, “may be imputed to the law firm as plaintiffs’ employer who may be liable for the allegedly abusive and hostile conduct of its corporate officers.”

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