Sexual Harassment Hostile Work Environment Claim Survives Summary Judgment Against NYC Health & Hospitals Corp.

From James v. NYC Health & Hospitals Corp. et al, 2017 WL 3923675 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 6, 2017):

Defendants argue that Waiters’s alleged conduct was not sufficiently severe or pervasive as a matter of law. See Def. Br. at 12 (claiming conduct “lacks any semblance of concreteness, vulgarity or even obscenity”). That evidence, however, is sufficient to meet James’ burden. James testified to numerous instances of consistent harassing behavior. As noted, James testified that Waiters—“frequent[ly]” and “continuous[ly],” for a period of months—followed her around their mutual workplace making sexual innuendos and attempting to grab her, touch her, and rub up against her. See James Depo. 75-76. She testified that—weekly—Waiters would imitate sex acts while moving his head towards James and making crude comments about his own sexual prowess. Id. at 38-39. James testified to specific statements made to her by Waiters, including: regarding Waiters’s own sexual activity and genitals, see id. at 38-39 (“I know I can satisfy a woman.”); id. at 33 (“A woman would never have a problem with me, ‘cause I’m well hung.”); statements regarding James’s genitals and sexual activity with James, see id. at 30-31 (“A pussy has to be clean for me to eat it[.] I know you’re clean.”); and regarding sexual activity with another female employee, see id. at 35 (“All you have to do is buy her a pack of cigs for her to give it up.”). James also recounted sexually aggressive incidents in which Waiters began to unzip his pants in her face while asking her the color of her underwear, and in which Waiters encouraged her to keep a layer of clothing off while telling her he would not stare at her “too much.” Id. at 74-57. And, most dramatically, James testified that Waiters attacked her in the workplace by attempting to rub up against her, and then, when she rebuffed his advances, by physically assaulting her by grabbing her and “flipping” her over a garbage bin. Id. at 87-90. This conduct is sufficiently severe and pervasive to satisfy Title VII.

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