Religion-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Sufficiently Alleged

In Stancu v. New York City/Parks Dept., 20-CV-10371(ALC), 2022 WL 4581844 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2022), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s religion-based hostile work environment claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

To establish a hostile work environment … 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 working environment.’ ” Littlejohn v. City of New York, 795 F.3d 297, 320 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993)). “This standard has both objective and subjective components: the conduct complained of must be severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find it hostile or abusive, and the victim must subjectively perceive the work environment to be abusive.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Courts consider “the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with [the] employee’s work performance.” Feingold v. New York, 366 F.3d 138, 150 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). While Plaintiff is not required to “present a list of specific acts,” he must demonstrate that the instances of hostility were “sufficiently continuous and concerted.” Kassner v. 2nd Ave. Delicatessen Inc., 496 F.3d 229, 240–41 (2d Cir. 2007).

Plaintiff provides detailed allegations of repeated instances of intimidation and ridicule that go beyond a “mere offensive utterance.” For example, he alleges that a supervisor left a note in Plaintiff’s locker telling him to “get the fuck out of here” and to work at his church instead, that he was asked to “prove his religious beliefs” with a letter from church, that he was made to work in a facility with a known health risk, and that he was told by his supervisors to “choose between keeping his job or his beard,” and that “no religion Union crook will change our rules.”

The court found that these allegations sufficiently support plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim.

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