In Sheerer v. Angiodynamics, 2022 WL 17074913 (Sup. Ct. Warren Cty. Nov. 18, 2022), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s disability-based hostile work environment claim.
From the decision:
Insofar as the third cause of action is concerned, “[a] hostile work environment claim requires proof of a workplace ‘permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of [the plaintiff’s] employment and create an abusive working environment’ ” (Long v Aerotek, Inc., 202 AD3d 1216, 1218 , quoting Forrest v Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d 295, 310  [internal quotation marks, citations and brackets omitted]; see Bilitch v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 194 AD3d 999, 1003 ; Pawson v Ross, 137 AD3d 1536, 1537 ). “In assessing whether a plaintiff has made that showing, ‘a court must consider all the circumstances, including the frequency of the discriminatory conduct, its severity, whether it was physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance, and whether it unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s work performance’ ” (Long v Aerotek, Inc., 202 AD3d at 1218, quoting Bilitch v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 194 AD3d at 1003; see Pawson v Ross, 137 AD3d at 1537; Minckler v United Parcel Serv., Inc., 132 AD3d at 1187). “The workplace must also ‘be both subjectively and objectively hostile,’ meaning that ‘a plaintiff must not only perceive that the conditions of his or her employment were altered because of discriminatory conduct, but the conduct also must have created an environment that a reasonable person would find to be hostile or abusive’ ” (Long v Aerotek, Inc., 202 AD3d at 1218, quoting Pawson v Ross, 137 AD3d at 1537; see Forrest v Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 NY3d at 311).
Here, defendant contends that— even if Beckwith did harass plaintiff based on her medical condition — such harassment is not sufficient to sustain a hostile work environment claim. Indeed, plaintiff testified that Beckwith made comments to her on a “weekly” basis, saying “she didn’t really think [plaintiff] needed a doctor’s note, and [that plaintiff] was lazy.” June likewise testified that Beckwith was “a bully” who was “not nice and made [her] cry a lot of times.” June further testified that Beckwith was ultimately fired, although it is unclear if she was fired because of her behavior or her job performance. In any event, this is the extent of the evidence relative to Beckwith’s harassment of plaintiff and others — and such evidence fails to demonstrate a workplace permeated so severely with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult as to alter the conditions of plaintiff’s employment (see Novak v v Royal Life Ins. Co. of NY, 284 AD2d 892, 893 ; cf. Pawson v Ross, 137 AD3d 1536, 1538 ; Minckler v United Parcel Serv., Inc., 132 AD3d at 1187-1188).
Based on this, the court concluded that defendant satisfied its initial burden of demonstrating its entitlement to summary judgment, and that plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition.