A Queens, New York man alleged quid pro quo sexual harassment and retaliation by his female supervisor in a federal lawsuit. Lashley v. New Life Business Institute, et al, No. 1:13-cv-02683, complaint (E.D.N.Y., May 3, 2013). He claimed that the supervisor demanded an ongoing sexual relationship as a condition of his employment, and that he initially went along with it out of fear of losing his job. When he ended the sexual aspect of the relationship, he alleged that she abruptly terminated his employment. A jury found that he had been subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). It awarded him $40,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
According to his complaint, the plaintiff met the supervisor at a nightclub during an afternoon in April 2012. After he told her about his job in sales, which involved managing a “street team” of salespeople, she told him that she “owned a medical school.” Lashley, complaint at 3. She offered him a job as “Director of Admissions” in order to increase the school’s enrollment. She then allegedly invited him to her house to discuss the matter further. The plaintiff claimed that once they arrived at her house, he realized that she expected him to have sex with her in order to get the job. He agreed, he said, because “she enticed him with the promise of a job,” but he “felt especially guilty” about it. Id. at 3-4. The following Monday, April 9, 2012, the plaintiff began working for the school, New Life Business Institute (NLBI).
The plaintiff claimed that he performed his job well. He hired a street team on April 16, who quickly exceeded their goals for bringing in prospective students. The supervisor, however, continued to pressure him for sexual activity. At the end of April, he claimed, he informed the supervisor that he wanted to stop their sexual relationship, and she responded by firing his street team.
The supervisor later allegedly began to make his monthly rent and car payments for him and offered to pay his child support if he divorced his wife. He stated that he gave in to her demands for sexual activity at least one more time in May, when she threatened to fire him on the spot. On June 29, 2012, he claimed, he “finally gained the strength to stand up for himself” and ended the relationship. Id. at 6. She fired him on July 2 for allegedly pretextual reasons.
In his complaint, the plaintiff asserted causes of action against the supervisor and NLBI for gender discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and the NYCHRL. He also alleged “malicious, willful, [and] outrageous” conduct on the part of the defendants, id. at 9, and therefore demanded punitive damages. After a trial, the jury found in the plaintiff’s favor on all the jury charge questions except one, finding that he did not prove “pain, suffering, or mental anguish” by a preponderance of the evidence. It awarded him $10,000 in lost wages and benefits and $30,000 in punitive damages.
The sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent employees in New York City and surrounding areas in claims for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and other unlawful employment practices at the municipal, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you, please contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.
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New York Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Claims Boss Required Plaintiff to Accompany Him to the Restroom, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 15, 2014