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Columbia University Custodian’s Hostile Work Environment

Columbia University custodian’s hostile work environment claim was reinstated.

In the case of Sidney Sims, a custodian at Columbia University, the state appeals court has determined that his claims of a discriminatory and hostile work environment should not have been dismissed outright. The court acknowledged that Sims provided evidence indicating that his supervisors had repeatedly made derogatory comments related to his race, age, and disability. This evidence, according to the Appellate Division, First Department panel, warranted a closer examination of the alleged discriminatory conduct.

Despite acknowledging the validity of Sims’ claims regarding a hostile work environment, the court upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss his related state and city Human Rights Laws claims for retaliation and discrimination. The panel reasoned that Sims failed to establish a clear link between the complained-of behavior and bias based on race, age, or disability. Additionally, the court found that certain actions taken against Sims did not rise to the level of adverse actions, a necessary element for claims of retaliation and discrimination.

In essence, while Sims’ assertions about a hostile work environment were deemed credible and meriting further consideration, the court determined that the specific legal criteria for proving retaliation and discrimination were not met, justifying the dismissal of those particular claims by the lower court.

You may read the whole article at New York Law Journal.

Sidney Sims’ related state and city Human Rights Laws claims for retaliation and discrimination were rightfully dismissed by a lower court

Jason Grant (staff reporter New York Law Journal)

Stewart Lee Karlin Law Group, PC Employment Attorneys

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