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“Leering” And Gestures With Tongue Did Not Create A Hostile Work Environment

Plaintiff’s openly gay supervisor “leered” at him, made gestures with his tongue, complimented his taste in clothing, invited him to join his gym so that they could work out together, invited him out for drinks, and complained of loneliness and asking for help in dealing with it. Plaintiff claimed that this conduct created a hostile work environment.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in New York disagreed, finding in Lewis v. City of Norwalk, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6821 (2d Cir. 2014), that:


The only arguably overt sexual conduct was …[the supervisor’s] alleged licking of his lips and so-called “leering,” which, by …[plaintiff’s] own admission occurred only sporadically over time…. [This] is insufficiently severe or pervasive to qualify as having created a hostile work environment. The other “facially sex-neutral incidents” – invitations to join [a] gym, invitations to have drinks with other co-workers, and discussions about. …[the supervisor’s] personal life – even if they made [plaintiff] subjectively uncomfortable, do not, under a “totality of the circumstances” inquiry, “create . . . an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive.”