Hairdresser Files $16M Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Upscale New York Salon

Liciana D’Angelo, described by the New York Daily News as “a Brooklyn girl who has no patience for oblique flirting, veiled suggestions or guys who smack her tush,” has filed a $16 million sexual harassment suit against the SoHo hair salon where she worked for over five years. Devachan is an upscale salon specializing in curly hair. D’Angelo began working there in January 2005. She alleges that a male co-worker began an ongoing campaign of inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact almost immediately. He began, she states in her complaint, with comments on topics ranging from her appearance to his sexual fantasies, and later moved on to smacks on the behind and other contact. Despite complaints to her supervisor, she alleges that she was assigned to the station next to the offending co-worker, and that his conduct worsened. Management’s advice to her, she claims, was to ignore him.

D’Angelo further alleges that a salon manager harassed her with unwanted physical contact, demands for contact such as kisses, and inappropriate questions and comments. The manager promoted her in 2009, but she states that he warned her that “What I give you, I can take away.” She alleges that the manager’s assistant urged her to break up with a former salon employee she had started dating. After she refused to do so, she alleges that the salon cut her shifts from 10 clients per day to three, significantly reducing her income. The manager allegedly harassed her even further based on her newly-precarious financial condition. After she accused the manager in writing of “tolerating sexual harassment” in January 2010, the manager fired her.

D’Angelo’s lawsuit seeks $16 million in damages for sexual harassment and retaliation. She claims that the constant harassment and abuse from the co-worker and the manager created a hostile work environment. As a result, she lost promotions and raises, and eventually lost her job. The salon management has characterized her as a “disgruntled former employee” and described the suit as “malicious, defamatory and untrue allegations.” The salon notes that D’Angelo waited eighteen months after her termination before bringing her suit. It is worth pointing out that the process of submitting an employment discrimination claim to one of the agencies that enforce anti-discrimination laws can take a substantial amount of time. Furthermore, a person who has just lost a job may not be in the best position to immediately craft a legal claim. As such, a period of eighteen months from her termination to the filing of her lawsuit is hardly a challenge, in itself, to the veracity of her claims.

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that violates anti-discrimination laws at the federal, state, and (in the case of New York City) municipal levels. Each level of government has an agency that investigates allegations of discrimination, harassment, or abuse. In New York City, the Commission on Human Rights enforces the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The New York sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent victims of workplace sexual harassment and fight to protect their rights. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact the firm today online or at (212) 248-7431.

More Blog Posts:

Greenwich Salon Accused of Pregnancy Discrimination, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 7, 2011
Game Show Model Files Sexual Harassment Suit, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 5, 2011
Sexual Harassment and Settlement Agreements, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 3, 2011
Photo credit: anitapatterson from morguefile.com

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