Employment Discrimination

In employment discrimination law, the phrase “hostile work environment” has a very specific meaning that does not encompass all circumstances that the word “hostile” might suggest. Courts repeatedly say, for example, that the employment laws do not provide a “general civility code” for the workplace. In addition, as set forth below, in order to be actionable, the…

Read More What is a “Hostile Work Environment”?
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The New York State Division of Human Rights recently awarded substantial damages to a corrections officer who alleged that she suffered a hostile work environment and that her supervisor turned a blind eye to what was going on. The recommended findings of fact, opinion and decision, and order in Lora Abbott Seabury v. Rensselaer County et…

Read More Supervisor’s Inaction Leads to Substantial Award for Victim of Sexual Harassment
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Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux N. Am., Inc., decided by the Second Circuit today, again illustrates the breadth of the New York City Human Rights Law’s protections against employment discrimination and retaliation.  The Second Circuit vacated the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment to defendant and remanded the case for trial. Plaintiff alleged that her supervisor [CEO…

Read More Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Based On “Boys’ Club” Atmosphere Proceeds To Trial
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In a recent complaint, captioned Gurievsky v. Saatch & Saatchi, NY Sup. Ct. NY Cty., Index 151547/2013, plaintiff alleges (among other things) that a creative director referred to women as “pretty prostitutes” and said that he liked the style of plaintiff’s hair “because it made her look like she had ‘just been fucked’”, and that plaintiff…

Read More Sexual Harassment Suit Filed Against Branding Company
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In Farren v. Shaw Environmental, No. 12-1008 (2d Cir. Jan. 31, 2013), the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s case due to a failure to exhaust administrative remedies in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and New York State Division of Human Rights (“DHR”), as required by Title VII of the…

Read More 2nd Circuit Explains Difference Between “Disparate Treatment” and “Hostile Work Environment” Theories As Relevant To Title VII’s Administrative Exhaustion Requirement
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Last week in Simmons-Grant v. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, the Southern District of New York held that defendant law firm did not engage in race discrimination against an African American contract attorney.  Plaintiff argued that, as an African American attorney, she was given less lucrative work than other non-African American contract attorneys retained…

Read More Court Dismisses Attorney’s Race Discrimination and Retaliation Claims Against Law Firm
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In E.E.O.C. v. KarenKim, Inc., 116 Fair Empl Prac Cas (BNA) 385 (2d Cir. Oct. 19, 2012), No. 11-3309, the Second Circuit addressed when injunctive relief is proper to prevent further harassment.  Title VII itself provides for injunctive relief where a “court finds that the respondent has intentionally engaged in or is intentionally engaging in…

Read More Second Circuit: Injunctive Relief Should Have Been Granted In Harassment Case
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In Donnelly v. Greenburgh Central School Dist. (2d Cir. Aug. 10, 2012), plaintiff, a former high school teacher, alleged that his employer unlawfully denied him tenure in retaliation for taking protected leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Plaintiff received negative reviews and was denied tenure shortly after he took medical leave…

Read More Second Circuit Reverses FMLA Decision Against High School Teacher
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Below is a recently-filed complaint alleging race discrimination and retaliation against Mercedes Benz of Manhattan, its general manager, and its director of human resources.  Plaintiffs Guyton and Grammer, two African Americans who held high-level managerial positions, claimed that after encountering and complaining about racist graffiti – consisting of a swastika, a stick figure hanging from a…

Read More Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Mercedes
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