Hostile Work Environment, Retaliation, Discrimination Claims Survive Summary Judgment Against Trump Soho

In Gordon v. Bayrock Sapir Organization LLC, 2018 NY Slip Op 03425, 2018 WL 2141237 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 2018), the court held that plaintiff survived summary judgment on her gender- and race-based hostile work environment claims and retaliation claims under the NYS and NYC Human Rights Laws, and on her discrimination claim under the NYC Human Rights Law (but not on her NYS Human Rights Law discrimination claim).

From the decision:

In opposition to defendants’ prima facie showing of their entitlement to summary judgment, plaintiff submitted evidence that, after she complained about an assault by one of defendant Trump Soho’s engineering department employees, other members of that department engaged in a campaign of harassment against her, directing deeply offensive race- and gender-based slurs at her and sitting near her in the workplace lunchroom to intimidate her. Plaintiff complained to defendant Dana Sholl, Trump Soho’s human resources director, about the name calling, but no corrective action was taken, and, consequently, the name calling and harassment continued. Plaintiff continued to complain, and defendants continued to take no action.

Plaintiff’s evidence raises issues of fact as to her claim under the State and City HRLs that she was subjected to a hostile work environment (see Ferrer v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 82 A.D.3d 431, 431, 918 N.Y.S.2d 405 [1st Dept. 2011]; Diggs v. Oscar De La Renta, LLC, 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 33173 [U], *4–5, 2014 WL 7054635 [Sup. Ct., Queens County 2014] ). Plaintiff’s evidence also raises issues of fact as to her claim under both HRLs that defendants retaliated against her (see Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 N.Y.3d 295, 312–113, 786 N.Y.S.2d 382, 819 N.E.2d 998 [2004]; Fletcher v. Dakota, Inc., 99 A.D.3d 43, 51–52, 948 N.Y.S.2d 263 [1st Dept. 2012] ). Plaintiff engaged in the protected activity of complaining to defendants about other employees’ offensive conduct toward her, and defendants allowed the offensive conduct to continue, thereby condoning it (see Boyce v. Gumley–Haft, Inc., 82 A.D.3d 491, 918 N.Y.S.2d 111 [1st Dept. 2011]; Matter of Father Belle Community Ctr. v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 221 A.D.2d 44, 53, 642 N.Y.S.2d 739 [4th Dept. 1996], lv denied 89 N.Y.2d 809, 655 N.Y.S.2d 889, 678 N.E.2d 502 [1997] ).

Plaintiff’s evidence raises issues of fact as to her discrimination claim under the City HRL by showing that she was “treated differently” or “less well” than other employees (see Askin v. Department of Educ. of the City of N.Y., 110 A.D.3d 621, 622, 973 N.Y.S.2d 629 [1st Dept. 2013] ). However, it does not raise an issue of fact as to the discrimination claim under the State HRL, because it fails to show an adverse employment action within the meaning of that statute.

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