Gender-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Sufficiently Alleged Against Bloomberg L.P.

In Ndugga et al v. Bloomberg L.P. et al, 20-cv-7464, 2021 WL 4952486 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 25, 2021), the court, inter alia, held that a plaintiff sufficiently alleged a gender-based hostile work environment (specifically, that she was “treated less well”) because of her gender, under the New York City Human Rights Law.

From the decision:

Ms. Ndugga adequately pleads a claim for” hostile work environment” under the NYCHRL. “In order to succeed on a NYCHRL hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must show that he was treated ‘less well than other employees’ on the basis of a protected characteristic.” Alvarado v. Nordstrom, Inc., 685 F. App’x 4, 8 (2d Cir. 2017) (citing Mihalik, 715 F.3d at 110). Thus, at a minimum, a plaintiff must “plead facts tending to show that actions that created the hostile work environment were taken against him because of a prohibited factor.” Williams v. Metro-N. Commuter R. R. Co., No. 11 CIV. 7835, 2012 WL 2367049, at *13 (S.D.N.Y. June 20, 2012) (emphasis added).

Here, Ms. Ndugga has plausibly alleged that she was “treated less well” due to her gender. In addition to Ms. Ndugga’s claims that she was paid less for similar work than her male comparators, Ms. Ndugga also alleges that she was denied resources, such as certain remote-work technologies, that were provided to her male colleagues, SAC ¶ 100, and that male reporters were consulted regarding thematic topic areas that they would cover, but Ms. Ndugga was assigned to cover “scraps,” id. ¶ 102. Under the NYCHRL’s broad pleading standards, Ms. Ndugga’s allegations, all of which suggest that she was treated less well than her male colleagues, are sufficient to state a claim. See Lenart., 131 F. Supp. 3d at 69 (finding the plaintiff’s “thin” allegations were nonetheless sufficient to state a claim under the NYCHRL where the plaintiff alleged that he had to “undergo extra interviews and psychological testing, whereas his female colleagues did not,” and that he had heard his supervisors expressed a preference for working with women); Encarnacion v. Isabella Geriatric Ctr. Inc., No., No. 11-cv-3757, 2014 WL 7008946, at *11 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2014) (finding that plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims under Title VII’s more rigorous standard survived summary judgment where she showed, among other things, that her supervisors “confin[ed] plaintiff to the most difficult assignments” and “refused to meet with her”).

Based on this, the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss this plaintiff’s NYCHRL claim based on her contention that she was “treated less well” than others based on her gender.

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