animus. We pause here to add a few additional comments more appropriate to Iovin's hostile environment claims. First, with respect to Iovin's claims regarding Barford's treatment of him, it is important to note that Iovin has testified (and admitted in his 12(N) statement) that Barford "manipulated" everybody, including "her entire team." (Pl.'s Facts PP 61-66). Thus, by Iovin's own account Barford's conduct was not directed solely at him, and thus his charge of national origin discrimination is completely undermined. Additionally, Iovin's alleged inability to receive direct training from Barford, while perhaps frustrating, cannot be considered sufficient to constitute a hostile work environment. See Saxton, 10 F.3d at 535 (supervisor's inaccessibility, condescension, impatience, and teasing not harassment). With regard to Iovin's allegation that he was required to do a disproportionate amount of copying in comparison to other employees, Iovin offers no evidence as to the amount of copying other co-employees were required to do. Moreover, it is evident that it was not an irregular task to spend some time copying documents. In Iovin's case, during his seven months of employment with NMH he copied in total three to four documents of 400 to 500 pages each; two documents of 200 pages and a dozen shorter documents. (Def.'s Facts P 101). This Court finds that this required copying task was not so severe as to constitute a hostile work environment.
Iovin also points to two comments made by Barford as evidence of her discriminatory animus. In the first, Barford accused Iovin of not understanding plain English; in the second, Barford allegedly told him, "Why don't you go back where you came from if you don't like it here." (Iovin Dep. at 562). Even if the Court reads these comments in the light most favorable to Iovin as reflecting national origin animus,
they cannot support a hostile environment claim because Barford's alleged conduct, when viewed in its totality, does not rise to a sufficient level of severity or pervasiveness to objectively alter Iovin's conditions of employment. "'Mere utterance of an . . . epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee,' does not sufficiently affect conditions of employment to implicate Title VII." Harris, 114 S. Ct. at 370 (quoting Meritor, 477 U.S. at 67).
The most serious conduct raised by Iovin as evidence of a hostile work environment consists of derogatory remarks about immigrants as well as generally rude conduct by Scott Leslie, a co-employee. Leslie's alleged remarks are extremely troubling and offensive to most informed citizens in our cherished country of immigrants. However, in order for NMH to be liable for the discriminatory conduct by a coworker, Iovin must demonstrate that NMH's response or lack thereof to Leslie's harassing behavior was negligent. Carr v. Allison Gas Turbine Div., General Motors Corp., 32 F.3d 1007, 1009 (7th Cir. 1994); Guess v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 913 F.2d 463, 465 (7th Cir. 1990). NMH argues that it took prompt remedial action to remedy Scott Leslie's conduct once it learned of the situation. We agree.
Iovin's own testimony establishes that although he was aware of NMH's policy against discrimination and harassment, he did not specifically inform his immediate supervisor, Barford, that Leslie had made derogatory remarks to him until October 27, 1993.
Once informed of Leslie's alleged comments, Purdy told Iovin that "we don't tolerate that kind of thing here, not at NMH." Purdy then met with Scott Leslie and advised him that a co-worker had complained to management that he had been making unfriendly remarks about immigrants and warned him that, if true, such conduct was inappropriate and must cease immediately. (Purdy Aff. P 11). On November 3, 1993, Barford met with Leslie and issued a written warning to him that explicitly detailed NMH's policy against discrimination and harassment and warned Leslie that such conduct was grounds for immediate termination. A few days after the Iovin's complaint, on November 3, 1993, Iovin's work station was moved away from that of Leslie. Under these facts, there is no basis upon which a jury could conclude that NMH did not take prompt and appropriate measures to remedy Leslie's conduct once it received proper notice of that conduct. Accordingly, a reasonable factfinder could not find NMH liable for Leslie's alleged harassment of Iovin.
The Court has closely reviewed all of Iovin's evidence concerning the conduct to which he was allegedly subjected. Based on its review of the evidence, the Court concludes that a reasonable factfinder could not find that Iovin's working conditions constituted an objectively hostile or abusive work environment. Accordingly, NMH is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Iovin's hostile work environment claims.
This Court does not doubt that Mr. Iovin subjectively believes that he has been the subject of discriminatory animus in the workplace. However, such a subjective belief, without much more does not entitle Mr. Iovin to a jury trial on his claims. The strongest evidence of discrimination offered by Mr. Iovin is the hostile statements by his co-worker Scott Leslie. These statements, however, as noted herein do not automatically bind NMH.
Based on the Court's careful review of the record in this case, we conclude that a reasonable factfinder could not return a verdict in Mr. Iovin's favor on either his disparate treatment claim or his national origin harassment claim. Accordingly, NMH's motion for summary judgment is granted and this case is dismissed with prejudice, both sides to bear their own costs.
United States District Judge
March 5, 1996