Monday, September 20, 2021

Judge Allows Gay Social Worker's Bias Suit to Proceed

U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla let stand a social worker's hostile work environment claim under the NYCHRL, which the judge noted has a looser standard of review than its state or federal counterparts, as well as his claims of termination because of sexual orientation under federal, state and city law. However, the judge dismissed his claims of unlawful retaliation for making complaints.

The judge also dismissed claims alleging that he was subjected to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law. 
Attorney Jillian Weiss, representing the plaintiff, said "While federal law stands idly by except for the  most obvious hostility in the workplace, New York state and city law refuse to allow their workers to be treated differently because of who they are." 
Weiss noted that the New York State Human Rights Law has since changed to provide more robust protections. 

Judge Failla concluded that his supervisor's conduct, "even if occasionally insulting or even demeaning," didn't involve physical threats to Barney, was "not particularly severe," didn't create an abusive environment or meaningfully interfere with his work.