Sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful in New York City under multiple anti-discrimination statutes. Multiple court decisions have held that prohibitions on sex discrimination include sexual harassment. Aggrieved employees can assert their rights before regulatory agencies at the city, state, or federal levels, or they can take their claims to state or federal court. A lawsuit filed in a state-level court in Manhattan earlier this year illustrates many of the types of claims seen in New York City sexual harassment cases. Green v. Exusia, Inc., et al., No. 151989/2017, complaint (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty., Mar. 1, 2017). The complaint asserts causes of action for discrimination and retaliation under city and state laws, and it seeks monetary damages, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief.
The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) is one of the most comprehensive anti-discrimination statutes in the country, offering protection against discrimination and harassment on the basis of a wide range of categories, including gender. N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(1)(a). It defines “gender” to include not only a person’s “actual or perceived sex” but also factors like gender identity and gender expression. Id. at § 8-102(23). The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), while not as far-reaching as the NYCHRL, offers protection against employment discrimination on the basis of sex. N.Y. Exec. L. § 296(1)(a).
The plaintiff in Green began working for the defendant, described in the complaint as “a rapidly growing data and information management consulting firm,” in November 2015. Green, complaint at 1. The job involved “working directly with [the company’s] Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer,” who is also individually named as a defendant. Id. The plaintiff’s experience as an employee, she alleges, was “marred by [the individual defendant’s] sexual desires and offensive conduct.” Id.
In her complaint, the plaintiff describes the experience of applying for the job, which she viewed at the time as “an exciting opportunity.” Id. at 4. At the end of her first day, she alleges that the individual defendant took her to dinner and said “Now that you heard all the good, here’s the bad.” Id. at 4-5. He allegedly then told her about his affinity for strip clubs and stated “that women were his ‘vice.’” Id. at 5. The complaint goes on to describe multiple alleged incidents of inappropriate sexual comments, unwanted touching, and direct sexual propositions. It further alleges that the individual defendant used company money during visits to strip clubs.
The plaintiff endured the alleged acts of harassment for over a year and claims that she “was finally able to discuss her work performance” with the defendant in January 2017, after months of allegedly trying. Id. at 13. She states that he gave her a favorable review, but she also claims that he was telling others in the company that she was not doing her job well. She claims that she was denied a promotion in late January and that she was “shut out of the company” in the following month after making a formal complaint of sexual harassment. Id. at 14.
Phillips & Associates’ experienced and skilled sexual harassment attorneys advocate for the rights of New York City employees, job applicants, and former employees in claims for violations of federal, state, and city employment laws. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you.
More Blog Posts:
New York City Sexual Harassment Complaint Alleges Harassment by Female Executive Against Female Employees, New York Employment Attorney Blog, September 13, 2017
Lawsuit Alleges Widespread Sexual Harassment in Tech Company, New York Employment Attorney Blog, September 6, 2017
Coworking Spaces in New York City and Elsewhere Present Challenges for Sexual Harassment Claims, New York Employment Attorney Blog, August 29, 2017