Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed Against SUNY Downstate Medical Center

In Sedhom v Suny Downstate Medical Center, No. 155837/2017, 2020 WL 1514710, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op. 30881(U) (N.Y. Sup Ct, New York County Mar. 27, 2020), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claim for hostile work environment under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

As to the state law, the court held: :

Plaintiff fails to provide any factual allegations to demonstrate that defendants subjected her to an environment “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult” in violation of the NYSHRL. La Marca-Pagano v Dr. Steven Phillips, P.C., 129 AD3d at 919 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). For example, plaintiff claims that defendants subjected plaintiff to prolonged threats of termination, and that Silas repeatedly threatened plaintiffs livelihood. However, the record indicates that plaintiff was advised, in advance, that SUNY Downstate would terminate her to allow Cruz-Richman’s replacement to appoint a new Associate Dean. Plaintiff was not “repeatedly” threatened that she would lose her job if she did not meet certain performance standards. Further, plaintiff spoke to Silas no more than two times, whereby Silas provided plaintiff with information related to her pension.6 Based on the record, the statements allegedly made to plaintiff do not support a viable claim for hostile work environment under the NYSHRL.

The court reached the same conclusion under the city law, finding the complained-of actions amounted to “no more than ‘petty slights or trivial inconveniences.'”