Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissal Affirmed; Insufficient Details Alleged

In Rivera v. JP Morgan Chase, 2020 WL 2787622 (2d Cir. May 29, 2020) (Summary Order), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, inter alia, affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s race- and national origin-based hostile work environment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

To state a claim for hostile work environment under Title VII, Rivera was required to plausibly allege that the unlawful conduct (1) [was] objectively severe or pervasive …; (2) create[d] an environment that [he] subjectively perceive[d] as hostile or abusive; and (3) create[d] such an environment because of [his race or national origin]. Rivera’s complaint broadly alleged that he was subjected to a “pattern and practice of overt ethnic discrimination” involving “verbal bullying and ethnic slurs,” but did not provide details of the alleged hostile acts. App’x at 20. The district court correctly held that these general allegations were insufficient to state a hostile work environment claim because Rivera’s complaint did not provide any details, such as when and how frequently these incidents occurred, who the speakers were, or what was said. See Schwapp v. Town of Avon, 118 F.3d 106, 110-11 (2d Cir. 1997) (“For racist comments, slurs, and jokes to constitute a hostile work environment, there must be more than a few isolated incidents of racial enmity, meaning that [i]nstead of sporadic racial slurs, there must be a steady barrage of opprobrious racial comments.”). [Citations and internal quotation marks omitted.]

While the court did affirm the dismissal of plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, it vacated the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation claim.

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