Religious Discrimination (Hostile Work Environment) Claim Not Stated

In Salas v. New York City Department of Investigation, 2018 WL 1614339, 16-cv-8573 (S.D.N.Y. March 30, 2018), the court (inter alia) held that plaintiff failed to state a religious discrimination (hostile work environment) claim.

From the decision:

Salas has failed to allege even a single instance where she or a coworker was personally harassed on the basis of religion. The closest she comes to alleging religious harassment against her is a generalized assertion that “[h]er religion has repeatedly been mocked.” This assertion, however, does not specify whether anyone at her office mocked her or others; what the “mocking” consisted of; how the mocking affected the conditions of her work environment, if at all; or how often the purportedly “repeated” mocking occurred. See Alleyne v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, Inc., No. 14-CV-6675 MKB, 2015 WL 6869731, at *11 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 6, 2015) (dismissing without prejudice a pro se plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims where she “assert[ed] that she was harassed by her co-workers” but did “not indicate how she was harassed or allege any specific conduct”).
The only personal abuse to which Salas points—when Calvi allegedly sneered at her, made vulgar remarks, and said some other things in a menacing manner in response Salas’s objections to the September 2015 incident—does not suggest the existence of a religiously hostile work environment. Those statements, or the little we know about them, focus on Salas’s interference in and decision to report Calvi’s conduct, not on Salas’s religion. See Perez v. Commc’ns Workers of Am., 210 Fed.Appx. 27, 31 (2d Cir. 2006) (noting that “many of the instances of verbal abuse” were “unrelated” to the plaintiff’s protected characteristics, and holding that the remaining “isolated examples” of “ethnic or religious animus or insensitivity on the part of various coworkers” were not sufficiently severe or pervasive). Moreover, the comments appear to have been isolated to the September 2015 incident. See id.; see also Shultz v. Congregation Shearith Israel of City of New York, 867 F.3d 298, 309 (2d Cir. 2017). The limited and vague allegations about religious harassment in Salas’s pleadings do not plausibly allege that she was the victim of a hostile work environment.

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