Lawsuits Allege Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Against Wall Street Financial Firm, Executive

A lawsuit filed by a former employee at a Wall Street financial firm alleges that the company’s chief executive officer routinely subjected her to sexual harassment. It further accuses the firm of creating or tolerating a hostile work environment, and of retaliating against her when she complained. Bouveng v. NYG Capital LLC, et al, No. 1:14-cv-05474, 1st am. complaint (S.D.N.Y., Aug. 12, 2014). The plaintiff is seeking a total of $850 million in damages, as well as a preliminary injunction against the CEO based on allegations of harassment and intimidation via email and text message. A former graphic designer for the defendant also filed suit against the company and its CEO, claiming that he witnessed incidents of the sexual harassment at issue in the first suit, and that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting it. Weiss v. NYG Capital LLC, et al, No. 157381/2014, complaint (N.Y. Sup. Ct., New York Co., Jul. 29, 2014).

The plaintiff in the sexual harassment suit, Hanna Bouveng, is a Swedish citizen who is in the United States on a J-1 visa. She worked as Director of Corporate Communications for the defendant NYG Capital LLC, which operates under the name New York Global Group (NYGG), from October 2013 to April 2014. According to her amended complaint, she moved to New York after graduating from college in Sweden and working in Norway and Hong Kong. The CEO of NYGG, Benjamin Wey, allegedly invited her to lunch in July 2013 to, as she thought, discuss employment opportunities. She claims that he wanted to discuss romantic possibilities during their lunch, but that she told him she was not interested. The next day, Bouveng claims that Wey contacted her to offer her a paid internship at NYGG, which she accepted. NYGG filed the paperwork for her J-1 visa, which took effect on October 1, 2013 and expires on February 1, 2015.

Once she began working at NYGG, Bouveng alleges that Wey subjected her to “flagrantly lewd, vulgar, and repulsive sexual advances.” Bouveng, am. complaint at 4. She further claims that NYGG allowed a “permissive and encouraging environment for gender discrimination and sexual harassment.” Id. The alleged harassment included inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact, as well as an alleged attempted “assault” in a Boston hotel room. Id. at 14. She claims that she was terminated in April 2014 for repeatedly refusing to submit to the CEO’s demands for sexual activity.

Bouveng further alleges that Wey emailed members of her family, several friends, and others with what she states were false accusations of “alcohol abuse” and involvement in various criminal acts. Id. at 29-30. This forms much of the basis of Bouveng’s request for a preliminary injunction against further communication with or about her.

Bouveng’s lawsuit asserts 14 causes of action, including quid pro quo sexual harassment, sexually hostile work environment, gender discrimination, and retaliation, under both the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq., and the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq. Other causes of action include assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and stalking.

The sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent workers in New York City and surrounding areas, advocating for their rights in claims for harassment, hostile work environment, and discrimination at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you.

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