Gender Discrimination Claim Stated; Allegations Included Male Coworker Calling Plaintiff a “Bitch”

In Richardson v. Manhattan New York City Transit Authority, 2018 WL 1547593 (2d Cir. March 29, 2018) (Summary Order), the Second Circuit vacated the lower court’s decision dismissing the pro se plaintiff’s Title VII gender discrimination claim, on the ground that plaintiff did not allege facts showing that the alleged harassment was “motivated by” her gender.[1]The court also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim.

The court summarized plaintiff’s allegations as follows:

Richardson alleged that she “was yelled at [and] called a ‘bitch’ … in front of other coworkers … because [she] would not entertain their advances, nor go out with them let alone have sex with these men.” Am. Compl. at 18, Richardson v. Manhattan Transit Auth. N.Y.C. Headquarters, No. 16-cv-1304-CM (S.D.N.Y. Feb 22, 2017), ECF No. 5 (“Am. Compl.”). One male coworker, who Richardson alleged was “infatuated with [her]” (and whom she had reported for unrelated misconduct), allegedly posted notices calling her a “SNITCH BITCH” and took other actions to intimidate her, such as urinating in a booth while she was inside and bumping her hard enough to knock her down. Id.; see Raniola v. Bratton, 243 F.3d 610, 622 (2d Cir. 2001) (“[P]rior derogatory comments by a co-worker may permit an inference that further abusive treatment by the same person was motivated by the same sex-bias manifested in the earlier comments.”). Richardson alleged that a supervisor “left the notices up for viewing,” and that her “coworkers[,] especially the male coworkers[,] mocked [her] with the very words that were on the [notices].” Am. Compl. at 18. Richardson also alleged that she “would not entertain” another male coworker’s “verbal advances asking [her] about [her] clothing and hair,” which angered him, and that he physically pushed past her in an intimidating manner. Id. at 15, 17. She further alleged that a supervisor told her to give that coworker “the benefit of the doubt” during a meeting attended by many male coworkers, which she understood as the supervisor giving permission for further harassment.

These allegations, held the court, permitted the inference that the alleged mistreatment occurred “because of” plaintiff’s sex within the meaning of Title VII.

References
1 The court also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim.
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