Race-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Under the New York City (But Not New York State) Human Rights Law

In Gomez v. Cablevision Sys., 2016 NY Slip Op 31177(U) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. June 20, 2016), the court held that plaintiff presented enough evidence to survive summary judgment on his race-based hostile work environment under the NYC Human Rights Law (but not under the NYS Human Rights Law). This case is another example of the comparative breadth of the City law.

From the decision:

Plaintiff alleges that two of his coworkers used the “n-word”, and after he advised them that their use of the “n-word” bothered him, they ceased directing it at him. However, plaintiff testified that the word was still used in and around the workplace. While these allegations may not be actionable under the NYSHRL, as they do not meet the severe or pervasive standard and did not interfere with plaintiffs work, the court finds that a jury may find that permissive use of such an offensive word is more than a petty slight or trivial inconvenience, sufficient to sustain a claim under the NYCHRL. Therefore, the motion for summary judgment dismissal of the hostile work environment cause of action under NYSHRL is granted but denied under NYCHRL.

The court, however, dismissed his other claims, such as for race discrimination (unlawful termination) and retaliation. As to his discrimination claim, the court noted that the only person plaintiff identified as discriminating against him was not involved in the termination decision, “aside from providing HR with a time line of events concerning plaintiff’s personnel issues during his employment.”

Share This: