Hostile Work Environment

Kosarin-Ritter v. Mrs. John L. Strong, LLC, decided by the First Department on May 22, 2014, illustrates the often difficult burden encountered by a discrimination plaintiff. In affirming the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for defendants, the court stated: Defendants established that there is no evidentiary route that could allow a jury to believe…

Read More Alleged Ageist Remarks Insufficient to Support Discrimination Claim
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In Lehman v. Bergmann Associates (decided March 31, 2014), the Western District of New York held that plaintiff adequately pleaded some, but not other, employment discrimination claims. The case provides a good review of federal pleading standards for various employment-related claims. Plaintiff alleged that she was the first woman to hold a senior management position at…

Read More Court Provides Guidance on Pleading Employment Discrimination Claims
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In Kaplan v. NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (NY Sup. Ct. Kings Cty. Index No. 506658-2013), the court dismissed plaintiff’s sexual harassment and retaliation claims – asserted under the NYC Human Rights Law – arising from a male boss’s masturbating in front of his female subordinate. Plaintiff alleged that, at the beginning of a training…

Read More Male Boss Masturbating in Front of Female Subordinate Was Merely a “Trivial Inconvenience”, and Hence Not Sexual Harassment, Court Rules
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A recent Southern District decision, James v. NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, illustrates that the anti-discrimination laws are not a “general civility code” and underscores the critical requirement that, in order to be actionable, any alleged discrimination or harassment must be “because of” a protected characteristic (here, the plaintiff’s sex). Plaintiff, a female Special Officer in…

Read More Workplace Slap Was Not “Because Of” Plaintiff’s Sex; Sexual Harassment Claim Dismissed
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The Second Department’s recent decision in Croci v. Town of Haverstraw et al. is instructive as to how to plead causes of action, under the New York State Human Rights Law, against co-workers engaging in allegedly discriminatory conduct. In this case plaintiff sued one of her co-employees and their employer, alleging “ that she was subjected…

Read More Co-Worker Harassment Suit Dismissed Due to Failure to Allege Aiding and Abetting Theory Against Individual Defendant
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Here is the complaint, captioned Jackson v. OpenCommunications Omnimedia LLC et al, Index No. 151596/2014, filed on February 24, 2014 in New York State Supreme Court by a male plaintiff against his former employer, New York City media company OpenCommunications Omnimedia and three of its principals. Plaintiff claims he was sexually harassed by his female bosses and…

Read More Male Employee Asserts Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claims Against Female Bosses at NYC Media Company
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In Donohue v. Finkelstein Memorial Library, the Southern District of New York recently denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ sexual harassment (hostile work environment) claims. Generally, a plaintiff asserting a hostile work environment claim must establish two things: first, conduct rising to a sufficient level that constitutes a “hostile” or “abusive” working environment, and second,…

Read More SDNY Applies “Alter Ego/Proxy” Theory in Denying Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment Case
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Generally speaking, sexual harassment[1]This discussion is confined to the employment context. is a form of sex-based discrimination typically characterized by unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical sexual conduct. The cause of action for sexual harassment is statutory, and is prohibited (in New York City) by Title VII of the…

Read More What is Sexual Harassment?
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Below is the federal complaint, captioned Chang et al. v. Phoenix Satellite Television (US), Inc. et al., 1:14-cv-02686, filed yesterday by three plaintiffs against Phoenix Satellite Television US, Inc., Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Limited, and Zhengzhu Liu. Gothamist reported on the lawsuit here. Mr. Liu, it might be recalled, was featured as the alleged harasser…

Read More Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Phoenix Satellite Television and Alleged Intern Harasser Zhengzhu Liu
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Below is the complaint recently filed by Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera against the State of New York, in light of the Supreme Court’s March 7, 2014 dismissal of their claims against the Assembly of the State of New York. Their claims arise, as before, from the alleged sexual harassment committed by Vito Lopez and condoned by…

Read More Lawsuit: Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera’s Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Against New York State
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