Hostile Work Environment / Constructive Discharge Claim, Based on “Drug” Remark, Properly Dismissed

In Mira v. Kingston et al, 2017 WL 4877290 (2d Cir. 16-4080-cv Oct. 30. 2017) (Summary Order), the Second Circuit held that while the district court should have addressed plaintiff’s requests to amend her complaint, the allegations in that complaint would have been dismissed in any event.

Specifically, plaintiff wanted to present claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 (prevent race discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts) and 1985(3) (which requires a conspiracy motivated by, e.g., racial animus).

In holding that plaintiff’s claims were insufficient, the court explained:

Mira’s only allegation of race-based animus was that a supervisor implied that she was involved with illegal drug activity in Mexico. This comment is insufficient to demonstrate a hostile work environment leading to Mira’s constructive termination.

In reaching this conclusion, the court cited its decision in Littlejohn v. City of N.Y., 795 F.3d 297, 320-21 (2d Cir. 2015) for the proposition that “a plaintiff must show that the discriminatory harassment was ‘severe or pervasive'” in order to prevail. Plaintiff did not meet this standard.

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