The Third Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff stated a cause of action for age discrimination/hostile work environment. Plaintiff, aged 61, was hired as a corrections officer. She only lasted a couple of days at the training academy. She allegedly was immediately nicknamed “Grandma” and was subjected to ridicule:
Even though plaintiff admitted that she was prepared for the intensive, para-military nature of an academy, she testified that she was not prepared for the humiliation based on the discriminatory conduct that was “singling [her] out by [her] age.” Despite that many of defendant’s witnesses — including the drill sergeant — did not have a recollection of the alleged discriminatory conduct, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission still had determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that defendant discriminated against plaintiff; such finding, although not dispositive, is some evidence of discrimination … . Given that the conduct spread beyond staff and plaintiff’s trainee class, but also to members of a previous class, further demonstrates the pervasive nature of the alleged discriminatory conduct — particularly in such a short period before plaintiff’s resignation. Accordingly, based on the foregoing, particularly plaintiff’s account of the drill sergeant’s conduct and the candid admissions by the administrative sergeant as to the objective nature of the comments being discriminatory … , we are satisfied that this proof, when viewed in a light most favorable to plaintiff, is sufficient to survive summary judgment and warrant a trial on plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim … . White-Barnes v New York State Dept. of Corr. & Community Supervision, 2023 NY Slip Op 01561, Third Dept 3-23-23
Practice Point: Plaintiff was hired as a corrections officer at age 61. At the training academy she was called “Grandma” and ridiculed. She resigned after two days. The Third Department held the complaint stated an age-discrimination/hostile-work-environment cause of action and should not have been dismissed.