Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed; “Sarcastic” Comments About “Looks” Etc. Insufficient

In Rojas v. Human Resources Administration, 2022 WL 3716851 (E.D.N.Y. August 29, 2022), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In support of this claim, plaintiff pointed to four incidents that occurred over roughly five months, namely: (1) Plaintiff’s supervisor telling two other employees that Plaintiff “should be applying for a construction job instead of” an administrative job; (2) being told that he was not promoted due to, in part, his “looks”; (3) being told that he looked like an “INCA”; and (4) a colleague asking him whether he is Mexican.

Plaintiff also alleged that he was the target of “sarcastic remarks” regarding his “origin” and “Spanish accent,” but did not specify “when, how many times, or what the remarks were.”

The court held that the alleged comments were “episodic and do not rise to the level of permeating the workplace, and though offensive and insensitive, are not sufficiently severe to create an abusive working environment,” 2022 WL 3716851, at *12, and on that basis dismissed plaintiff’s Title VII for failure to state a claim.

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