Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed Against NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation

In Anderson v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation et al, 16-cv-1051, 2020 WL 1528101 (S.D.N.Y. March 31, 2020), the court, inter alia, upheld the dismissal on summary judgment of plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law.

The court summarized the law as follows:

To establish a prima facie case of hostile work environment under Title VII, a plaintiff must “show that the discriminatory harassment was ‘sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment,’ and ‘that a specific basis exists for imputing’ the objectionable conduct to the employer.” Tolbert v. Smith, 790 F.3d 427, 439 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). “It is axiomatic that the plaintiff also must show that the hostile conduct occurred because of a protected characteristic.” Id. (citation omitted). A plaintiff asserting such a claim under the NYCHRL must show that the defendant treated him “less well” because of his membership in a protected class. Mihalik, 715 F.3d at 110 (quoting Williams v. N.Y.C. Hous. Auth., 872 N.Y.S.2d 27, 39 (1st Dep’t 2009)).

Applying the law, the court held:

Here, as Magistrate Judge Parker correctly found, the alleged incidents giving rise to Plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims—including, inter alia, that he was told that “management did not like him” and that he did not “fit in,” (Pl.’s Mem. of Law in Opp’n to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 183, at 26)—do not provide a basis for such a claim under Title VII. (Report at 71–72.) Namely, the incidents were, “at most, episodic rather than pervasive,” and Plaintiff fails to connect these incidents to any discriminatory animus. (Id.) Nor does Plaintiff allege facts showing that he was treated less well due to a protected characteristic, as is required to establish a hostile work environment claim under the NYCHRL.