Teacher’s Age-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Dismissal

In Gross v. Hatboro-Horsham School District, No. 23-0633, 2023 WL 4867423 (E.D.Pa. July 31, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s age-based hostile work environment claim asserted under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

From the decision:

Plaintiff’s factual allegations satisfy the pleading requirements for an ADEA hostile work environment claim, as Plaintiff plausibly alleges harassment in connection with his age. As noted, in the complaint, Plaintiff alleges two women over the age of forty were similarly forced into retirement as Plaintiff, and that he suffered continued mistreatment from Principal Kircher and assistant principals at KVMS. For example, Plaintiff alleges Principal Kircher shouted down the hallways during the school day to Plaintiff, calling him a “pussy.” Likewise, Principal Kircher, Assistant Principal Ewerth, and teacher Wendy King made comments to Plaintiff about his retirement. Taking these and Plaintiff’s other allegations as true, as this Court must, this Court finds Plaintiff has sufficiently pleaded facts sufficient to show severe or pervasive discrimination in connection with his hostile work environment claim under the ADEA. Furthermore, respondeat superior liability can be inferred in the instant case because Principal Kircher and the various assistant principals who are alleged to have discriminated against Plaintiff were his supervisors. There is no debate that Principal Kircher was Plaintiff’s supervisor. Likewise, Plaintiff alleges that Guidance Counselor Osborne was a friend of Principal Kircher, who ostensibly knew of the discriminatory conduct coming from Osborne. [Cleaned up.]

The court concluded that, taking all of these allegations as true, plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a hostile work environment claim under the ADEA.

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