“Reverse” Race Discrimination (Hostile Work Environment) Claim Sufficiently Alleged, Colorado District Court Holds

In Garcia v. Denver Health Medical Center, Civil Action No. 22-cv-01651-CNS-MEH, 2023 WL 22186 (D.Colo. January 3, 2023), the court, inter alia, found that plaintiff plausibly alleged her claim of “reverse” race discrimination, asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, be denied.

From the decision:

Plaintiff also claims that she suffered from a hostile work environment due to her race. To prevail on a claim of hostile work environment, the Plaintiff must prove “under the totality of the circumstances (1) the harassment was pervasive or severe enough to alter the terms, conditions, or privilege of employment, and (2) the harassment was racial or stemmed from racial animus. A plaintiff must produce evidence to show that the workplace was permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of her employment and create an abusive working environment.

As noted above, Plaintiff alleges that she was continuously called “Ancina Blaca,” meaning “Old White Lady” and “T,” referring to “trouble”; Hispanic management required her to watch Spanish TV and set yearly goals for her to learn Spanish; and that she was segregated from other employees and excluded from team events. Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s allegations lack factual support. However, this argument applies a higher pleading standard than is required for an employment discrimination claim under Title VII. Plaintiff may survive a motion to dismiss by simply pleading a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and she need not plead specific facts to establish a prima facie case. The prima facie case should not be transposed into a rigid pleading standard for discrimination cases.

Defendant also argues that Plaintiff’s failure to alleges facts to support the prima facie case for discrimination causes her hostile work environment claim to fail as well. However, Defendant cites no authority to this end. Considering the perspective of a reasonable person in the Plaintiff’s position and the frequency of the above instances of harassment, the Court finds that Plaintiff sufficiently pleaded a claim for hostile work environment in violation of Title VII.

[Cleaned up.]

Based on this, the court recommended that this claim not be dismissed, and that defendant’s motion be denied.

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