Articles Posted in Retaliation

Most people, when they contemplate workplace retaliation, picture a worker who is demoted or fired for having filed a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit (or EEO claim.) Retaliation in the workplace can take many forms beyond just that, though. If you believe you’ve been punished at work because you stood up for yourself (or others) in opposition to illegal practices in the workplace, you ought to get in touch with a knowledgeable New York employment lawyer right away.

One of the more hotly debated topics within employment law is mandatory arbitration agreements or, more specifically, the interconnection of mandatory arbitration agreements and claims of discrimination. New York State law says that such agreements are void and unenforceable in that context, but that law has experienced a rocky road in court across the last three years. At least two different federal judges in New York have ruled that federal law preempts CPLR Section 7515, allowing the employer to transition the case from court to arbitration.

Sometimes, though, the significance of your mandatory arbitration agreement goes beyond the procedural question of where your case will be litigated and into the question of whether the initiation of the agreement itself was a punitive act done in retalaition. That was the case for M.C., a woman who was the head of recruiting at a New York City financial technology firm.

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Sometimes at work, circumstances may arise that call for you to stand up against improper harassment or discrimination in your workplace. Regardless of whether you were the target of that illegal conduct or a coworker was, the law says you have the right to take action (whether that is filing a complaint, giving testimony, or participating in an investigation) without suffering punishment in your job. If you do get punished, that’s retaliation, it’s impermissible and it’s something that should motivate you to consult a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer.

According to the New York Daily News, one NYPD lieutenant was the victim of this kind of retaliation and received a sizable jury award as a result.

A.O. was an NYPD lieutenant who was a platoon commander at a precinct in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 2015 and 2016, A.O. wrote and submitted three internal complaints on behalf of one of her subordinate officers, whom she believed was being subjected to a hostile work environment because of his ethnicity. (The subordinate officer was a Latino man.) The lieutenant also testified on the Latino subordinate’s behalf at the departmental hearing on the matter.

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If you’ve suffered discrimination at work, it is important to recognize that bringing a lawsuit that will end in success involves much more than just understanding the factual aspects of what happened. There are also tactical and procedural litigation strategies that can help maximize your odds of success. That’s why a knowledgeable New York employment discrimination lawyer is so important to your case. Your lawyer can take the facts you provide and then generate a winning plan.

A recent national origin and age discrimination case involving an NYPD detective shows ways in which this can be true. A.P., who was born in Russia in 1967, was a detective and a member of the Executive Protection Unit (EPU) charged with protecting the mayor.

During A.P.’s nearly three years with the EPU, 26 of the roughly 30 detectives with the EPU received promotions, but A.P. was not one of those detectives promoted. According to the detective, a “significant number” of the 26 promoted detectives were individuals with fewer years of service and were less qualified than him. Most allegedly were younger than him. Additionally, all were non-Russian.

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A six-figure sexual harassment and discrimination settlement made national news recently. That’s because one of the alleged wrongdoers wasn’t just any employer – it was one of New York’s best-known celebrity chefs. The case and the settlement serve as a clear reminder that, whether you’re serving sliders at a chain “neighborhood grill” or delivering delicacies at a Michelin-rated establishment, you can find yourself as the target of sexual harassment and discrimination, so you need to know what to do when it happens. That starts with reaching out to a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment and discrimination lawyer to learn more about the legal options available to you.

The agreement ended an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office into the restaurants of celebrity chef Mario Batali and his business partner.

According to numerous current and former restaurant workers, Batali engaged in several acts of sexual harassment. Allegedly, the chef, his partner, and their company “fostered a sexualized culture of misconduct and harassment at their restaurants in New York City.”

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For decades, if not longer, Wall Street has had a reputation as a place dominated by men, where women must tolerate embarrassing or degrading treatment in order to succeed in their careers. When the #MeToo movement began several years ago, there were doubts about whether it would be able to affect Wall Street, particularly those firms whose cultures draw comparisons to unsupervised college fraternities. The tenacity of New York City sexual harassment attorneys has brought some relief to Wall Street employees of all genders who have experienced hostile work environments. One of the first prominent sexual harassment lawsuits on Wall Street in the past few years resulted, unfortunately, in the dismissal of several of the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff has filed an appeal challenging the dismissal in state appellate court.

Under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), sexual harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender when a supervisor, manager, or other person in a position of authority makes sexual activity a condition of employment. This is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. The “sexual activity” could involve anything from exchanging lurid emails or text messages to actual sexual contact. A key element of this type of claim is that the employee or job applicant believes that they are not in a position to decline the advances, out of concern for their job.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit mentioned above worked for a Wall Street hedge fund as a managing director and portfolio manager. She alleged in her complaint that her direct supervisor “repeatedly coerced her into sex,” with an implied threat to withhold resources that she needed for her job if she declined his advances. Most of these advances, the plaintiff claimed, occurred at “breakfast meetings” arranged by the supervisor “where his attire usually consisted of his white terry bathrobe.”
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While sexual harassment can and does occur in every kind of workplace in the country, certain industries have developed a reputation for harassment based on employees’ gender. Most New York City sexual harassment attorneys have probably represented individuals who experienced sexual harassment in the financial sector. Wall Street is often described as a “boys’ club,” and a lawsuit filed in late 2020 uses that exact term to describe the defendant employer’s work environment. The plaintiff alleges inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature in the workplace, as well as harassment that, while not overtly sexual, targeted her on the basis of her gender. She further claims that the defendant fired her in retaliation for opposing the alleged harassment. The lawsuit asserts claims for gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of city and state law.

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination under city, state, and federal law. This includes unwelcome conduct based on sex that is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment. This could be explicitly sexual behavior, such as an office culture that allows bawdy jokes and other inappropriate banter. It could involve more invasive harassment, such as sexual overtures, unwanted physical contact, or worse. It can also consist of hostility that is not inherently prurient, such as negative remarks about women’s ability to do certain jobs. All of these examples could occur anywhere, but they can be especially pronounced in workplaces that have traditionally been dominated by men.

The plaintiff began working for an investment bank in Manhattan in 2019, shortly after graduating from college. She states that she met the firm’s then-managing director during her senior year, and claims that he essentially recruited her to come work for him and offered to be her mentor. She alleges that he described the job as “a new business development role,” but that it “morphed into an administrative position” with relatively low pay. She further alleges that, shortly after she started working for the defendant, she “observed two high-level women…discriminated against and pushed out of the firm.”
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Employment discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, violates nearly every employment statute in the country. It persists in workplaces for a vast array of reasons. New York City sexual harassment attorneys often see examples that result from people’s inability — or refusal — to separate someone’s public persona from their inherent dignity as a person. People who work in the entertainment industry regularly experience this. Late last year, an emergency medical technician (EMT) with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) settled a lawsuit against the city that involved allegations of sexual harassment based, in part, on her prior career in reality television. The city agreed to pay $350,000 to settle the suit.

Sexual harassment is considered unlawful sex discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and other statutes. An employer violates city law when it allows unwelcome sexual conduct in the workplace to become so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile work environment. This usually involves ongoing patterns of behavior, but a single incident can support a hostile work environment claim if it is severe enough. In either case, the behavior must create enough of a disruption to the workplace that an objective observer would consider it unreasonably hostile. A situation where the claimant is a specific target is probably more likely to succeed as a hostile work environment claim, but targeting is not necessarily required.

The case against the FDNY involved allegedly targeted behavior. The plaintiff was a cast member on a reality television program, which was known for depicting people in a “party” lifestyle, in 2009 and 2010. She has made additional appearances in various shows since then. According to her complaint, she “decided to pursue her dream” of becoming an EMT in 2014, and began working for the FDNY as an EMT on Staten Island in 2016. She suffered an on-the-job injury in 2016 that kept her from working for almost a year. Another injury on the job in 2017 resulted in a restriction to “light duty” when she returned to work. This is when the alleged harassment began.
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New York City pregnancy discrimination laws offer some of the most extensive protections to workers in the whole country. Federal law classifies discrimination on the basis of pregnancy as a form of sex discrimination. State and city law goes further, requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and employees with newborn children. The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) goes further still, requiring employers to provide private, sterile lactation rooms where workers can express breast milk, along with facilities for storing milk while at work. A class action filed in a Brooklyn federal court alleges that the police department failed to provide lactation facilities for employees as required by law. The lawsuit was filed more than a year ago and is in the process of seeking class certification.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions in its definition of sex discrimination. The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits discrimination on the basis of familial status, which includes pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. It also states that an employer commits an unlawful discriminatory practice when they fail to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s pregnancy-related conditions.

A law passed by the New York City Council several years ago added provisions to the NYCHRL regarding accommodations for new parents who are nursing. Employers must provide a “lactation room,” defined as “a sanitary place, other than a restroom,” that is “shielded from view and free from intrusion.” N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-102. The room must include a power outlet, a place to sit, and a surface to place a pump and other items. It must be located near a sink or water fountain, and “in reasonable proximity to [an] employee’s work area.” Id. at § 8-107(22)(b)(i).

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Restaurants are regularly the site of unlawful sexual harassment all over the country and the world. New York City sexual harassment attorneys have seen countless scenarios in which managers and supervisors abuse their authority, or fail to rein in the offensive behavior of employees or customers. A lawsuit filed in September 2020 in a Manhattan state court alleges that a restaurant manager routinely harassed the plaintiff, who worked as a barista. This behavior persisted for two years, she claims, until the restaurant fired her, allegedly in retaliation for complaining. The complaint names the restaurant, its owner, and the manager as defendants.

Laws at the federal, state, and city level in New York City prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sex. This includes sexual harassment in situations where:
– Agreeing to sexual demands is a condition of employment, known as quid pro quo sexual harassment; and
– Unwelcome sexual remarks or behavior in the workplace are severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find it offensive, known as a hostile work environment.

When someone in an executive or managerial position is the alleged harasser, the employer may be vicariously liable for their actions. Otherwise, the employer must have known, or been in a position where they should have known, about the offensive conduct, and they must have failed to make reasonable efforts to resolve the situation.

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Sexual harassment in New York City’s film and television industry has received a great deal of attention in the past few years. That conversation has allowed people from nearly every walk of life to come forward about their own unfortunate experiences. Several recent news reports suggest that the sports world is having its own reckoning. New York City sexual harassment attorneys had a landmark victory about thirteen years ago, in a case involving the city’s professional basketball team. In 2020, allegations have come to light involving a player for the city’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Around the country, lawsuits and other claims have arisen in connection with both college and professional football.

Laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex cover sexual harassment in certain situations, such as when unwelcome sexual conduct creates a situation that a reasonable person would find to be a hostile work environment. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against such behavior, but not everyone working in sports, or many other sectors of the entertainment industry, is an “employee” in a legal sense. Both the New York City Human Rights Law and the New York State Human Rights Law expressly extend their protections to interns. See N.Y. Exec. L. § 296-c, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107(23).

During the summer of 2020, New York City’s professional soccer team announced that it was opening an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by a former player. The allegations came from a former intern for the team, who posted them to the social media platform Twitter. She reportedly described how she thought the internship was “the opportunity of a life time” at first, but then alleged that it turned into the player “touching me every f—ing day and my bosses thinking it was great comedic material.” The player issued a statement denying the allegations. It does not appear that the former intern has pursued formal legal action yet.

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