Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed, Absent Non-Conclusory Link Between Abusive Work Environment and Protected Class

In Rivas v. New York Lottery and The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, 2022 WL 3594944 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2022), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

Plaintiff alleges Defendants subjected her to a hostile work environment based on ethnicity, race, color or national origin. (Dkt. No. 1, ¶¶ 29, 37). Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim is subject to dismissal for the same reason as her race discrimination claim: the Complaint fails to allege facts supporting an inference of race-based conduct.

“To establish a hostile work environment under Title VII … a plaintiff must show that ‘the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive work environment.’ ” Littlejohn, 795 F.3d at 320–21 (quoting Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993)). Even assuming Plaintiff sufficiently alleges an abusive working environment at OTDA, as discussed above, there are no facts alleged in connection with any incident that sufficiently contain or suggest an overtone on the basis of Plaintiff’s race, ethnicity, color or national origin, save for conclusory statements and allegations. Gong v. City Univ. of N.Y., 846 F. App’x 6, 9 (2d Cir. 2021) (affirming dismissal of hostile work environment claim at motion to dismiss stage where “many of the alleged incidents lack any racial overtone”).

Based on this, the court dismissed plaintiff’s Title VII hostile work environment claim against OTDA.

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