Workplace Bullying, Hostile Work Environment Claims Dismissed by Court

In Daniels v. American Airlines Inc., 19-cv-3110, 2022 WL 493573 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 17, 2022), the court dismissed “workplace bullying” claims asserted by plaintiff, a former flight attendant for defendant American Airlines.

This decision teaches, and confirms, that while a certain type of bullying – bullying motivated by impermissible factors (i.e., “protected classes” such as sex, race, age, disability, etc.) – there is no standalone claim for “workplace bullying” under the anti-discrimination laws.

From the decision:

Defendant argues that to the extent Plaintiff’s bullying claims sound in discrimination under New York State or City law, the claims fail because Plaintiff fails to plead any discriminatory acts, omissions, or animus by Defendant. Similarly, Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to plead any comments or acts, in particular any discriminatory comments, that would show that he was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of New York State or City law.

Plaintiff does not cite any statutory authority for his workplace bullying and hostile work environment claims. Such claims are normally governed by the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing workplace discrimination and harassment: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e et seq.; the New York State Human Rights Law; and the New York City Human Rights Law. However, any claims Plaintiff seeks to assert under these statutes fail because Plaintiff has not alleged any facts to suggest that Defendant discriminated against him due to any characteristic protected under these statutes.

[Cleaned up.]

The court concluded that “[b]ecause there are no generalized causes of action prohibiting workplace bullying or creation of a hostile work environment where the plaintiff has not identified that he is a member of a protected group, Plaintiff’s workplace bullying and hostile work environment claims fail,” and thus granted defendant’s motion and dismissed plaintiff’s bullying and hostile work environment claims.

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