Hostile Work Environment Not Established; Alleged Incidents Were “Only Mild or Isolated Instances of Harassment”

In Daniel v. T&M Protection Resources, LLC, 2019 WL 2754961 (2d Cir. July 2, 2019) (Summary Order), the court affirmed the lower court’s finding, after a bench trial, in defendant’s favor on plaintiff’s employment discrimination and hostile work environment claims.

As to plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, the court summarized the law as follows:

In order to establish a hostile work environment claim under Title VII, a plaintiff must produce enough evidence to show that the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.” Rivera v. Rochester Genesee Reg’l Transp. Auth., 743 F.3d 11, 20 (2d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). A “[p]laintiff must show not only that she subjectively perceived the environment to be abusive, but also that the environment was objectively hostile and abusive.” Demoret v. Zegarelli, 451 F.3d 140, 149 (2d Cir. 2006). “[A] mild, isolated incident does not make a work environment hostile[.] [Instead,] the test is whether the harassment is of such quality or quantity that a reasonable employee would find the conditions of her employment altered for the worse.”

Applying the law to the facts, that court explained:

Daniel alleges, and the district court found, that Melidones: (1) sang a calypso song in Daniel’s presence; (2) occasionally mocked Daniel’s accent; (3) occasionally called another guard “Manny the homo” in Daniel’s presence; (4) occasionally asked Daniel to define large words; and (5) asked Daniel if he supported Barack Obama. These allegations, even if true, established only mild or isolated instances of harassment, which are insufficient to create a hostile work environment.

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