Hostile Work Environment

In Bright v. Coca Cola, 12-cv-234 (EDNY Nov. 3, 2014), an employment discrimination case, the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment in defendant’s favor. Judge Cogan’s decision is instructive regarding the use of depositions in employment litigation. For non-lawyers/litigators, a “deposition” is (briefly and generally speaking) a witness’s out-of-court testimony that is reduced to…

Read More “Have You Identified All Facts Supporting Your Claims?”

In EEOC v. Suffolk Laundry Services, 48 F.Supp.3d 497 (2014), the Eastern District of New York denied defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on plaintiffs’ hostile work environment claims. (Here is the complaint and here is the EEOC press release about the lawsuit.) One point this decision makes is that “conduct directed at other employees is part of the…

Read More “Hostile Work Environment” Can Be Shown By Conduct Directed at Other Employees

Generally speaking, sexual harassment[1]This discussion is confined to the employment context. is a form of sex-based discrimination typically characterized by unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical sexual conduct. The cause of action for sexual harassment is statutory, and is prohibited (in New York City) by Title VII of the…

Read More What is Sexual Harassment?

Happy Valentine’s Day! In keeping with what I hope will be a continued practice of keying blog posts to holidays, I present to you the case of Ashok v. Barnhart, 289 F. Supp. 2d 305 (EDNY 2003). In Ashok, plaintiff claimed that she was subjected to retaliation and a hostile work environment based on national…

Read More Allegedly “Humiliating” Valentine’s Day Poster Did Not Support Hostile Work Environment Claim

‘Tis the season for company holiday parties, where the awkward mingling with co-workers and the free flow of alcohol can combine to create uncomfortable and humiliating social situations and, in some cases, possible legal liability for discrimination and harassment. Despite various warnings about maintaining professionalism, it seems that every year there are people who embarrass themselves…

Read More Company Holiday Parties, Professionalism, and Discrimination/Sexual Harassment

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”?

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

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

In Hernandez v. Kaisman, 2012 NY Slip Op 09191 [103 AD3d 106], the Appellate Division, First Department recently clarified that hostile work environment claims brought under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) must be analyzed separately from, and more broadly than, similar claims brought under state and federal law. In this case the motion court…

Read More First Department Reinstates Plaintiff’s Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment Claims Under the NYC Human Rights Law