Disability (Heart Condition)-Related Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed

In Hanafy v. Hill International, Inc., No. 22-878, 2023 WL 3010176 (E.D.Pa. April 19, 2023), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim asserted under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

After summarizing the black-letter law applicable to this claim, the court applied it to the facts:

Plaintiff has not demonstrated he endured severe or pervasive harassment in respect to any discriminatory conduct based on his heart condition—the only disability he claims. Plaintiff points only to a very slim body of evidence in the summary judgment record to support he faced harassment based on his heart condition. For instance, Plaintiff points to his own deposition testimony that Banks “made comments … about me being sick. And if I called out sick, you know, she was like, oh, he has lots of issues. You have lots of issues, aren’t you [sic], and things like that.” At the same time, Plaintiff acknowledged he could not recall any specific times or dates when such comments were made. Plaintiff also points to his own deposition testimony that Cream “attempt[ed] to write me up for a no show/no call while I was in the emergency room. And her statement was, you could have let your son or your daughter call us.” As stated supra, it is not clear from his testimony why he was in the emergency room, and Plaintiff acknowledged in his deposition that he was not ultimately “written up” for missing work while he was in the emergency room. Additionally, while Plaintiff contends there were instances following his heart attack where he was “harangue[d]” by Christina Klemp, in support Plaintiff only points to emails between Klemp and Banks regarding his work performance that do not support that harassing remarks were made to Plaintiff on the basis of his heart condition.

This evidence does not demonstrate severe or pervasive harassment. Plaintiff has not pointed to evidence supporting that any discriminatory conduct on the basis of his heart condition was severe, frequent, physically threatening or humiliating, or that it unreasonably interfered with his work performance. See Triangle Doughnuts, 472 F. Supp.3d at 132; cf. Hamera, 248 F. App’x at 425 (affirming district court conclusion that nine comments made over a year or more were not sufficiently severe nor pervasive to rise to an “actionable level of harassment”). Indeed, Plaintiff expressly stated in his deposition testimony that the comments made by the Klemps and Banks that he found to be offensive or harassing “did not impact [his] ability to do [his] job.”

Based on this, the court held that summary judgment was warranted in defendant’s favor.

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