Hostile Work Environment Claims Properly Dismissed; Reliance on Defendants’ “Demeanor” Insufficient

In Kunik v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ., 20-741-cv (2d Cir. Jan. 15, 2021) (Summary Order), the court, inter alia, affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s age and religion-based hostile work environment and constructive discharge claims.

From the Order:

The district court correctly determined that Kunik’s amended complaint failed to state a claim for hostile work environment or constructive discharge because, drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor, it did not plausibly allege that her work environment was “permeated” with discrimination based on her age and religion, or that a reasonable person would have felt “compelled to resign” based on such discriminatory hostility[.] Kunik did not allege any overt discrimination based on her age or religion, much less any facts showing that “discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult” was “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to alter the conditions of her employment or created an abusive working environment. While she did allege “religious discrimination and/or age discrimination” based on defendants’ “demeanor,” her allegations of implicit discrimination were speculative and conclusory. [Citations omitted.]

It also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s discrimination claim, on the ground that plaintiff’s unsatisfactory performance review and being denied the opportunity to earn income were not “adverse employment actions” and that – although the record contained evidence that plaintiff was treated differently from other teachers in her department – there was no “evidence from which a reasonable jury could find the disparate treatment was motivated at least in part by her age or religion.”

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