2nd Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Hostile Work Environment Claim Based on Marital/Partnership Status

In Owens v. Centene Corporation, Centene Management Company, LLC, 2023 WL 5970954 (2d Cir. Sept. 14, 2023), the court, inter alia, affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s hostile work environment asserted under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

To succeed on a hostile work environment claim under the NYCHRL, Owens must demonstrate that she was “treated less well than other employees because of the relevant [protected] characteristic.” Golston-Green v. City of New York, 123 N.Y.S.3d 656, 670 (2d Dep’t 2020) (quoting Nelson v. HSBC Bank USA, 929 N.Y.S.2d 259, 264 (2d Dep’t 2011)). We conclude that she does not. To support her hostile work environment claim, Owens contends that she experienced “abusive treatment by coworkers.” Appellant’s Br. at 17. She points to an incident where a coworker threatened her over text message and three incidents where coworkers alleged that Owens engaged in favoritism. Owens does not, however, offer any evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer that these incidents were based on her perceived marital or partnership status. Indeed, Owens testified that she believed her coworkers’ behavior was motivated by dissatisfaction with internal restructuring decisions and anger at Owens for reprimanding them for poor performance.

The court thus concluded that “[b]ecause Owens herself concedes that her coworkers’ conduct was not motivated by her perceived marital or partnership status, her hostile work environment claim fails.”

Share This: