Delayed Paycheck Insufficient to Make Out Hostile Work Environment Claim, Court Holds

In Jackson v. Beacon City School District, No. 19-CV-08164 (PMH), 2022 WL 17904563 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2022), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

With respect to Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, Plaintiff has failed to proffer any evidence showing that the alleged harassment was “sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions” of his employment or that “a specific basis exists for imputing the objectional conduct to the employer.” Alfano, 294 F.3d at 374. As stated supra, Plaintiff admitted at deposition that his delayed paycheck is the sole basis for his claims. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 64). However, “[a]s a general rule, incidents must be more than episodic; they must be sufficiently continuous and concerted in order to be deemed pervasive.” Feingold v. New York, 366 F.3d 138, 150 (2d Cir. 2004). A single instance of a delayed paycheck is not “continuous and concentrated” such that it would be deemed pervasive. Id. Further, given that Plaintiff admitted at deposition that he received his paycheck for the work performed for the period in question, he cannot show that the delayed paycheck altered the conditions of his employment in any meaningful manner. (Doc. 50, Ex. C at 51:8-54:15). To the extent that Plaintiff seeks to argue that Kiskis’s “aggressive” tone towards him created a hostile work environment, this too fails. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 25). Plaintiff offers no evidence that Kiskis’s tone altered the conditions of his employment in any way. Plaintiff further fails to offer any evidence that a basis exists for imputing Kiskis’s tone onto her employer, Beacon. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is granted with respect to Plaintiff’s Title VII hostile work environment claim.

This decision is instructive, in that it illustrates the basic principle of black-letter law that not every negative work-related incident will give rise to an actionable claim under the anti-discrimination laws.

Share This: