DiPasquale v. State of New Jersey, 2009 WL 1686186 (App. Div., June 18, 2009) – In this case, the Appellate Division reversed a grant of summary judgment for the employer, determining that calling the plaintiff a “psycho bitch” was sufficient to send her claim to a jury. Relying specifically on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Cutler v. Dorn, 196 N.J. 419 (2008) (see the August 2008 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority), the Appellate Division rejected the trial court’s conclusion that the comment was not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment, and that it was not actionable because it was not made directly to the plaintiff. The term “bitch”, the court said, clearly has gender-specific connotations, and it can give rise to a claim, even if not stated directly to the plaintiff, if the plaintiff can prove that it created a hostile environment that affected her.
Note: This article was published in the July 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.