Former Intern Sues New York City Financial Advisor, Firm for Alleged Sexual Harassment

Chicago_bot.jpgA former intern at a New York City financial services company has sued the firm and her former supervisor for sexual harassment and other claims. Lambui v. Collins, et al., No. 1:14-cv-07152, complaint (S.D.N.Y., Sep. 5, 2014). The supervisor, who also no longer works for the firm, allegedly made sexual advances towards her, offered to buy her expensive shoes in exchange for sexual activity, and threatened to terminate a permanent employment offer if she did not accede to his demands. The lawsuit asserts causes of action for sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination under federal, state, and municipal law, as well as several intentional tort claims against the former supervisor.

The plaintiff was working as a bartender in the fall of 2012 to earn money for college. She alleges that she met the former supervisor when he came to the bar as a customer, and she states that they developed a non-romantic, non-sexual friendship over the course of several months. In late 2012, the plaintiff claims that he told her she should be working in sales for his firm. He offered her a part-time position as his assistant and said that she could have a sales job once she finished school. She began working for the firm at $10 per hour in December 2012.

The sexual harassment allegedly began in January 2013, when the supervisor invited her to go to lunch with him in his limousine, which he allegedly said was something he did for all of his interns and “part of normal life” at the firm. Id. at 9. After lunch, she claims that he tried to kiss her and touched her in a sexual manner, which she “sternly rejected.” Id. She later asked via text message if this would affect her internship, which led to an exchange of text messages in which he allegedly told her he could “easily find another bimbo with short hair that looks great in platform shoes.” Id. at 10. She states that she ignored “the sexist, degrading, insulting” nature of his remarks because she wanted to obtain a permanent job with the firm. Id.

This sort of conduct allegedly continued until late June 2013. The plaintiff accepted a permanent part-time position as a client services associate on June 21, and she claims that the supervisor texted her throughout the day with attempts at “sexual banter.” Id. at 21. Just after midnight, she alleges that he texted her saying “either u visit or the internship is over.” Id. at 23. She responded with “You win.. I quit.” Id. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the supervisor’s boss, who allegedly demanded to look through her personal cell phone and then barred her from reentering the building.

The lawsuit asserts 19 causes of action, including sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and harassment under the Civil Rights Act of 1966, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. L. § 290 et seq., and the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq. It also claims negligent hiring, retention, and supervision against the firm, and civil battery, civil assault, and wrongful imprisonment against the supervisor.

The employment discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates represent the rights of workers in New York City and surrounding areas in claims for sexual harassment and other unlawful employment practices. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled legal advocate, contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Kemp [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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