Phillips & Associates Obtains $50,000 Jury Verdict in Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit

Aerial_view_of_the_Bronx_Harlem_River_Harlem_Hudson_River_George_Washington_Bridge_2008-05-10We recently obtained a $50,000 jury verdict for our client, a former office manager for a Bronx medical practice. Our lawsuit, Echevarria v. Insight Medical, P.C., et al, No. 1:13-cv-03710, complaint (S.D.N.Y., May 31, 2013), alleged sexual harassment and retaliation under federal, state, and New York City law. The plaintiff claimed that her manager sexually harassed her, and that the employer not only took no action to prevent further harassment, but fired her moments after she reported it. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex or gender discrimination by laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

Beginning in October 2012, the plaintiff’s supervisor made “sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted sexual advances toward” the plaintiff. According to the complaint, these remarks occurred in person, as well as in text messages and calls to the plaintiff’s personal cell phone. He allegedly propositioned her for sex on multiple occasions, including invitations to meet at a bar or at the office and to go with him on a trip to Atlantic City. The plaintiff felt that she had to make up excuses for why she could not meet him out of concern for her job if she rejected him outright. This resulted in “physical and emotional distress” for the plaintiff.

The owner of the medical practice, who was also the supervisor’s brother, was in a position where he knew or should have known about the harassment. The plaintiff contacted the owner by phone on December 22, 2012 to report the harassment, which had by then been going on for about two months. She claims that during the call, the owner “made strange, irrational references to Pope Benedict XVI,” including suggestions that she report the harassment to him. The owner allegedly refused to listen to the plaintiff’s report of the supervisor’s behavior. She ended the call, then immediately sent the owner a text message stating that the supervisor “was proposing a sexual relationship with her.” Within an hour of that message, the owner terminated the plaintiff’s employment. The plaintiff stated that, prior to her termination, she had been “uniformly praised for her performance” in her job.

The lawsuit named the medical practice, the owner, and the supervisor as defendants. It asserted nine causes of action, including discrimination and retaliation under Title VII; discrimination, retaliation, and aiding and abetting under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL; and vicarious liability under the NYCHRL. The plaintiff alleged that she not only lost her job but her career. Damage claims included lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, future pecuniary losses, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. After a jury trial in July 2014, the plaintiff was awarded $50,000 in damages.

The employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates represent the rights of workers in New York City and surrounding areas. We fight for people who have experienced sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and other unlawful employment practices. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case, please contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.

More Blog Posts:

New York Man Awarded $40,000 Verdict in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Female Boss, New York Employment Attorney Blog, June 5, 2014
A Brief History of How Sexual Harassment Became Unlawful Employment Discrimination, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 29, 2014
Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Harassment by Executive of New York City Healthcare Company, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 22, 2014
Photo credit: By Ajay Tallam (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0106) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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