National Origin-Based Hostile Work Environment Dismissed Against Amazon

In Baez v. Services, LLC, 2023 WL 2390539 (E.D.N.Y. March 7, 2023), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s national origin-based hostile work environment claim.

After summarizing the “black letter” law applicable to this claim, the court applied it to the facts, as follows:

Here, Plaintiff alleges that ever since the July 15, 2020 incident, during which an employee allegedly used a profanity against Plaintiff, Ryan Tenney “want[ed] to humiliate [Plaintiff], be offensive,” and was “basically hostile” to Plaintiff and her daughter. Plaintiff also alleges that she felt “discriminated against because of … the way [she] speak[s],” that Tenney “has used threats, verbal intimidation on a routine basis at work,” and that Tenney’s “behavior has extended to many people on the staff.” In her “Witness Statement Form” dated February 23, 2021, Plaintiff also states that there were “recent events that have created a hostile atmosphere in my working environment.”

Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint does not sufficiently plead a hostile work environment claim. Plaintiff does not allege how Tenney’s purportedly hostile behavior, occurring “on a routine basis,” had any relationship or connection at all to Plaintiff’s protected characteristic of her national origin. Other than a brief mention that Plaintiff believes Tenney’s behavior was because of the way she speaks, Plaintiff fails to make even the slightest of allegations as to how the hostile work environment “occurred under circumstances raising a reasonable inference” that her national origin “was a determining factor in the creation of the hostile work environment.”

[Cleaned up.]

This is yet another among several decisions illustrating the point that even assuming the alleged wrongful conduct was “hostile”, it will not necessarily rise to the level of a “hostile work environment” as an actionable claim.

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