Supervisor Breast-Touch Results in Continuation of Title VII Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Case

In Hand v. NYC Housing Preservation and Development Division of Code Enforcement, a summary order decided by the Second Circuit on May 26, 2015, the courtvacated the district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s hostile work environment sexual harassment claim.

The court explained:

Based on record evidence that Hand’s supervisor felt her breast and repeatedly invaded her personal space, a reasonable factfinder could find that these incidents were “sufficiently severe . . . to alter the conditions” of Hand’s employment and “create an abusive working environment.”

These facts are reminiscent of the Second Circuit’s 2012 decision in Redd v. New York State Division of Parole, 678 F.3d 166 (2d Cir. 2012), which, in vacating summary judgment for defendant on plaintiff’s hostile work environment sexual harassment claim, noted that “[d]irect contact with an intimate body part constitutes one of the most severe forms of sexual harassment.”

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