Edrisse v. Marriott Int’l (S.D.N.Y. 2010): Hostile Work Environment Case

The Court granted the defendant Marriott International’s motion for summary judgment in part and denied it in part. Plaintiff Nagy Edrisse sued Marriott and several of its employees under Title VII, § 1981, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. The plaintiff alleged that the hotel created or tolerated a hostile work environment in that his direct manager made frequent derogatory racial, religious, and ethnic statements, including asking the plaintiff whether he was going to blow up the building and whether he was a terrorist. Furthermore, the plaintiff claimed that the hotel fired him out of discriminatory animus based on his religion, race, and ethnicity. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was fired due to inappropriate behavior at the workplace (including using racial slurs directed at fellow employees), rather than his race, religion, or ethnicity. The Court dismissed the claim against the employees who were not directly involved, but denied summary judgment for the defendants, holding that the facts were sufficient to make out a prima facie case to move forward. In other words, the Court concluded that a jury could consider the evidence presented to be severe and pervasive enough to allow for a finding of a hostile work environment.

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