Hostile Work Environment Claim, Based on Anti-Hispanic Ridicule, Sufficiently Alleged

In Quinones v. City of Binghamton et al, No. 3:19-cv-1460,  2022 WL 43764 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 5, 2022), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim of a race-based hostile work environment asserted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

After summarizing the “black letter” law governing plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, the court applied it to the facts:

With respect to the existence of a hostile work environment, Quinones alleges that Ryan “repeatedly” called him “Ricky Ricardo,” “mimick[ed] [him] when he was speaking Spanish by imitating him in a derogatory manner,” and made numerous other insulting comments about his background, and that other Hispanic officers have been called racial slurs. According to Quinones, this alleged race-based harassment has been constant and continuous, and has been perpetrated by both supervisors and patrol officers at the Binghamton Police Department. (Id.) As to Zikuski, Quinones asserts that, as Chief of Police, he knew, or should have known, about the alleged harassment.

At this juncture, the court is satisfied that Quinones has established that he has faced discriminatory ridicule that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of his employment, and, thus, defendants’ motion to dismiss in this regard is denied. See Avent v. Target Corp., No. 1:19-CV-1565, 2021 WL 3089120, at *6 (N.D.N.Y. July 22, 2021) (“Plaintiff alleges that [defendants] failed to address harassment directed at him by white employees. At this stage, that is enough, albeit barely, to keep them in the case.” (citations omitted)); Ramirez v. NYP Holdings, Inc., No. 18 Civ. 12058, 2020 WL 470011, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 29, 2020) (denying a motion to dismiss a hostile work environment claim, based on allegations that, throughout his employment, the plaintiff was subjected to racial slurs and degrading comments regarding his Hispanic heritage, and that “he and other Hispanic employees were isolated and given the worst work assignments on the least desirable shifts”); see also Patane, 508 F.3d at 114 (“[W]hether a particular work environment is objectively hostile is necessarily a fact-intensive inquiry.” (citation omitted)).

[Citations omitted.]

The court noted, however, that defendants are “free to renew their arguments on summary judgment when the parties and the court have the benefit of a more developed factual record.”

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