Posts Tagged ‘Sexual Harassment Lawsuit’
The initial case was filed by a Renee Mihalik, 42, against Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America Inc., a specialty brokerage firm and was seeking $5 million in compensation for sexual harassment and retaliation, according to NJ.com.
In 2010, a lower court threw out Mihalik’s case, stating that she failed to prove the workplace was hostile, and instead the harassment was “sporadic insensitive comments” and did not meet the federal burden of proof; harassment must be repeated and pervasive.
In the suit, Mihalik claimed Chief Executive Officer Ian Peacock subjected her to gender discrimination and used her poor performance to “humiliate” and coerce her into tolerating the sexually inappropriate behavior.
Peacock, on two occasions, propositioned Mihalik for sex and often commented on her appearance, calling her “sexy” and “promiscuous” because she was wearing red shoes. Her lawsuit also alleges the men in the office openly watched pornography on their work computers and rated the appearance of female coworkers.
Mihalik rebuffed Peacock’s advances, but she alleges that she was fired after confronting him about his propositions when he was criticizing her performance.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that a jury should hear Mihalik’s case, and that Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America Inc. had sufficient proof that she performed poorly before she was fired in 2008, NJ.com stated.
However in the opinion written by Circuit Judge Denny Chen, the court said, “If a jury so found, it would be free to infer that Cheuvreux is using Mihalik’s poor performance now as a mere cover-up for retaliation,” NJ.com reported.
The court added, “Even a poorly performing employee is entitled to an environment free from sexual harassment. Mihalik’s alleged poor performance would not excuse Peacock’s alleged sexual advances and demeaning behavior.”
It is fairly common tactic of employers who are enmeshed in a sexual harassment and retaliation suits to claim the employee was fired for the lackluster performance, but in Mihalik’s case, the appeals court believed her retaliation case was valid and should proceed.
The court opinion said trial judges “erroneously” apply the federal standards instead of those outlined by the New York Human Rights Law, which extends protections to employees who are subjected to “unwanted gender discrimination,” and allows cases to proceed without the “pervasive and repeated” burden of proof.
Mihalik’s attorney Brian Heller explained the importance of this ruling, “A lot of times a company will point to performance like that’s the silver bullet,” he said, according to NJ.Com
“No one gives up their human rights because they don’t perform as well as the company wants. Even if someone is not a good employee, they’re still protected against sexual harassment,” Heller said.
Mihalik can now pursue the $5 million lawsuit against her former employer, since her less than stellar performance doesn’t excuse Peacock’s inappropriate and harassing behavior.
New York, NY- New York law firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, famous for taking on Wall Street, has filed a $15 million defamation suit against a former employee, who accused a partner of sexual harassment and forcing her to engage in a sexual act.
Last month, Alexandra Marchuk, a junior attorney with the firm, filed a scandalous sexual harassment lawsuit against the firm and partner Juan Monteverde.
Marchuk’s lawsuit alleges that Monteverde subjected her to inappropriate sexual comments and advances on a number of occasions beginning shortly after she began working for the firm and continued throughout her tenure. Marchuk said the ongoing harassment in resulted in a sexual assault in December of 2011. According to the lawsuit, Monteverde lured Marchuk into one of the firm’s offices and forced her to have sex with him, when she asked him to stop he refused and continued the assault.
In response to Maurchuk’s suit, Faruqi & Faruqi said her claims were without merit and were filed by a disgruntled employee. They vowed to fight the claims in court, they didn’t stop there; this week the firm filed a $15 million defamation lawsuit accusing Machuk of lying and using her sexual harassment suit to extort money from the firm, the New York Times reported.
In the suit, filed in a Manhattan Superior court, Faruqi & Faruqi, stated that Marchuk damaged the reputation of the firm, denying all accusations against Monteverde. “In fact, however, there was no sexual intercourse, forced or otherwise; there was no sexual harassment, and there were no complaints,” court documents obtained by the NY Times said. “Marchuk’s claims are false.”
Along with denying the accusations, the firm’s defamation suit included a detailed account of the relationship between Marchuk and Monteverde, painting the junior lawyer as a woman obsessed with her boss who initiated all sexual contact, including the assault in December.
Just after Marchuk began working with the firm she accompanied Monteverde on trip during which the firm says she engaged in consensual kissing and fondling with Monteverde and even invited him to her room for sex.
The incident in December, where Monteverde allegedly “quickly, forcefuly and painfully had sex” with Marchuk at a holiday party was initiated by her. The lawsuit claims Marchuk didn’t wear a bra or panties to the event, and was seen kissing and groping Monteverde by numerous employees, Business insider reported. She also performed oral sex on Monteverde because he was drunk and was unable to get an erection, the suit says, adding “Monteverde didn’t resist.”
In a statement given to Above the Law, Faruqi & Faruqi admitted Monteverde make a terrible mistake. “Although he exercised very poor judgment and has been disciplined by F&F, we are convinced that he did not commit sexual harassment, that our firm is not a hostile workplace…”
Marchuk’s attorney, Harry Lipman told the Business Times the defamation suit was “frivolous” including allegations which are “ a desperately telling attempt to blame the victim.”
New York, NY- The small New York Law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, who took on Wall Street in a number of lawsuits , is now facing a legal battle of their own after a former employee accused a junior attorney of sexual harassment and assault.
Faruqi & Faruqi made plenty of enemies on Wall Street by challenging executive pay, mergers and acquisitions. The firm pioneered the “say on pay” lawsuit headed by the efforts of attorney and partner Juan E. Monteverde, who is named as the defendant in the harassment lawsuit, the Business Insider reported.
The lawsuit was filed by a young female lawyer with the firm, Alexandra Marchuk, and detailed a number of salacious allegations against Monteverde accusing him of a pattern of harassment, which included inappropriate sexual comments and advances that culminated in an assault at a holiday party in 2011.
Above the Law, a popular legal blog first broke the story and detailed Ms. Marchuk’s allegations in which she said the harassment by Monteverde began almost immediately after she began working for the firm in September of 2011.
According to the lawsuit, Marchuk just days after she began working for the firm accompanied Monteverde to Delaware for a case, which led to an uncomfortable and troubling incident when the two attorneys went for drinks one night after court.
“After several more drinks at Lex Bar, Mr. Monteverde aggressively grabbed and kissed Ms. Marchuk and attempted to fondle her breasts. Ms. Marchuk physically rebuffed Mr. Monteverde’s advances. Mr. Monteverde then asked Ms. Marchuk to go back to F&F’s offices with him to have sex. Ms. Marchuk rejected the offer and went home. She had no romantic interest in Mr. Monteverde and was greatly troubled that her sole supervising attorney was making wildly inappropriate sexual advances to her on only her third day of full time employment at F&F,” the lawsuit said according to Above the Law.
Despite the rejection Monteverde continued to harass Marchuk asking her to be his mistress. He also asked her to wear seductive and “alluring” clothing to another hearing in Delaware, because the judge “her good looks would influence the judge” in the firm’s favor.
The 24 page lawsuit lists a number of other incidents of sexual harassment, but the final straw for Marchuk came in December of 2011. According to her allegations, while the holiday party raged on, Monteverde asked Marchuk to come to his office and discuss a bonus which he did not plan on giving her. Once in Monteverde’s office, the young attorney said he assaulted her.
“After entering his office, Mr. Monteverde pushed Ms. Marchuk to the floor and quickly, forcefully, and painfully had sex with her. Suffering discomfort and not wanting to continue having sex with him, Ms. Marchuk implored Mr. Monteverde to stop, but he disregarded her pleas and continued having sex with her,” the lawsuit said.
Faruqi & Faruqi vehemently denies the allegations brought for by Maruchuk. Partner Lubna M. Faruqi told Above the Law, “These claims are completely without merit, brought by a disgruntled former employee. We look forward to aggressively defending our reputation in court and have every confidence we will be vindicated.”
Whether or not Ms. Marchuk’s allegations are true or not, sexual harassment cases in which a person with a powerful position takes advantage of a subordinate are by no means rare.
San Francisco, CA- A relationship with a male coworker and the subsequent threat of a lawsuit lead to the resignation of Square Inc. COO Keith Rabois’ resignation from company which developed an Apple mobile-payment system.
The details of Rabois’ departure was a tightly held secret, with Square CFO Kara Swisher telling the media the resignation was spurred on by a disagreement between Rabois and CEO Jack Dorsey, Business Insider stated.
But the details of the affair came to light when the Wall Street Journal broke the story. Shortly after, Rabois posted his version of events on his Tumblr account in which denies the allegations.
It appears as though a man, who had a previous relationship with Rabois, approached the company and threatened to initiate a sexual harassment lawsuit, which have been very costly to the company.
According to Rabois’ blog, he met Steve Berger through friends before he was hired by the company. They began a mentoring friendship which developed into an emotionally and physically intimate relationship.
As it progressed, Rabois wrote he encourage Berger to interview with Square, but made it clear he had no influence on the Berger’s hiring or his future with the company. Rabois pointed out that he did not directly supervise Berger.
Rabois, who previously worked for PayPal, learned of the lawsuit when Berger’s attorney approached the company alleging the relationship was not consensual. On his blog Rabois described some of the allegations against him as “pretty horrible.”
He said the threat of a multi-million dollar lawsuit the fact that his “reputation” and livelihood were at stake if the lawsuit was going to continue was part of the reason he resigned. Rabois also said he made the decision so his “colleagues could continue the great work they do without the distraction that a lawsuit would most certainly bring.”
Rabois said he would defend himself to the “fullest extent of the law,” and asserts that the relationship was consensual, though he admits making a mistake by keeping the relationship a secret.
In a separate statement, Square Inc. said, “While we have not found evidence to support any claims, Keith exercised poor judgment that ultimately undermined his ability to be an effective leader at Square. We accepted his resignation.”
Many companies have policies against relationships in the workplace and before dating someone you work closely with or may be a supervisory position check the policy. If there is no such policy, disclosing a relationship to Human Resources can prevent the advent of sexual harassment allegations if the relationship turns sour.
Men are frequent objects of sexual harassment both by male and female counterparts or superiors. Though harassment allegations from men are less common than they are from women it is a growing issue in the workplace. Regardless of the sex of the person being sexually harassed it still illegal and employees who engage in this conduct put themselves and their employers at risk of being sued.
Burger King Franchisee Settles Fourteen-Year Sexual Harassment Suit, How long do These Cases Typically Take?January 10th, 2013 Posted in Sexual Harassment News
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against Syracuse, NY-based Carrols Corporation in 1998 on behalf of 90,000 employees, in a class action suit alleging a “pattern of practice” in Burger King Restaurants in 13 states, but after years of litigation the plaintiffs were whittled down, according to QRS Web.
QRS Web reported that in 2005 a court dismissed the class action, or “pattern of practice” suit, leaving only 89 plaintiffs. Those remaining cases continued to be litigated, but as the costs became too exorbitant Carrols Corporation decided to settle.
The allegations against Carrols are typical of most sexual harassment lawsuits. Employees alleged they were subjected to inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, exposure of genitalia, strip searches and rape, the Star Tribune reported.
Carrols agreed to pay the plaintiffs $2.5 million, but admitted to no wrongdoing. “We unequivocally do not tolerate sexual harassment in our workplace, and have resolved this litigation without any admission of wrongdoing after many years of intensive, costly and frustrating litigation with the EEOC.” Chief Executive Accordino said in a statement. “We take sexual harassment very seriously and have long had comprehensive processes in place to encourage our employees to report violations to or policies without fear of retaliation.”
As part of the agreement, Carrols also agreed to enhance their sexual harassment and training and reporting systems, along with continuing their current discrimination and harassment policies.
Carrols Corporation runs 572 restaurants in 13 states.
Although this case dragged on for 14 years, harassment cases don’t typically take this long to settle. People who initiate a sexual harassment lawsuit can expect for it to take two to five years to have their cases resolved.
So why do sexual harassment cases take so long?
The first step in filing a sexual harassment claim involves contacting the EEOC to enter a complaint. After they have received a complaint, they will begin an investigation to determine if the allegations have any merit. Once the EEOC has concluded the investigation, the filer has 90 days to file a federal lawsuit.
Once the federal suit has been filed, the defendant will be given the opportunity to respond to the suit. The defendant has two choices; they can respond to each paragraph in the complaint or file a motion to dismiss. If they chose to file a motion to dismiss, they are alleging that the complaint does not contain enough information to back up the plaintiff’s claims. If the judge allows the case to proceed then the next step in the process is discovery.
Discovery generally entails four steps, disclosure, Interrogatories, document requests and depositions. In the disclosure step, attorneys are required to share information and the plaintiff must state how much compensation they expect to receive. The second step is interrogatories, which basically requires both the plaintiff and defendant to answer written questions about the allegations under oath, which are shared with each other. Third step is document requests where each side asks to inspect or copy documents pertinent to the case. The majority of the first three steps will be conducted by both attorneys.
The final step is to take depositions. These are recorded statements which are also made under oath. Depositions are similar to testifying in court.
Most sexual harassment cases, almost 90 percent are settled before they reach the trial stage. Many companies decide to settle in order to avoid the additional cost of court litigation, though this is not all the case. Once a court trial is concluded, the defendant can chose to appeal the court’s ruling if they are unhappy with the judgment.
Billionaire Alfred Taubman Hit with a $29 Million Sexual Harassment Lawsuit from Former Flight AttendantNovember 30th, 2012 Posted in Sexual Harassment News
Detroit, MI- Mall developer and billionaire A. Alfred Taubman is being sued by a former employee who alleges that he subjected her to repeated unwanted sexual behavior for a number of years while she worked as a flight attendant for Taubman Air Terminals in the Waterford Township.
The woman, Nicole D. Rock, filed her lawsuit alleging Taubman was guilty of numerous civil rights and other violations.
In her lawsuit, Rock stated she worked for Taubman Air Terminals between the years of 2005 and 2011, during which the 88 year-old mogul would grope her along with make lewd and inappropriate comments. The abusive behavior occurred while she was attending flights on Taubman’s private jet.
According to the suit, “The sexual comments, innuendos, advances and offensive conduct by defendant Taubman were demeaning, insulting and created a burdensome and oppressive condition of employment for plaintiff,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
Rock alleges that in some incidents Taubman would grab her breasts or crotch, forcibly tried to kiss her, pulled at her clothes, yelled sexual comments at her and hassled her about her private sex life.
Late in 2009, Rock informed Taubman that she would need to take maternity leave, but according to the lawsuit Taubman “expressed his personal objections to the plaintiff going on (maternity) leave, stating ‘she was lucky to be working for him and she was taking a long vacation.’”
When Rock did take leave in February of 2010, the suit claims that she was ordered back to work in March 2010, sooner than she expected. Once back at work the sexual harassment continued.
Rock was forced to take a leave of absence in February 2011 after the stress of the abusive behavior became too much. The suit said the Rock took leave “due to the extreme stress, anxiety, fearfulness and depression she was experiencing due to the unlawful working conditions that she was being forced to endure.”
Her lawsuit states that she objected to Taubman’s behavior, but neither she nor her supervisors at the company could do anything to stop the behavior.
Rock and her attorney is seeking $29 million for emotional distress and her loss of “benefits, seniority and career opportunities with defendants as well as further opportunities with other prospective employers.”
But Taubman, not unexpectedly, denies Rock’s claims. A formal statement released by Taubman’s offices said, “The allegations contained in the complaint filed this morning against A. Alfred Taubman are not true. Mr. Taubman will address the complaint through the appropriate legal channels.”
Taubman is not the only powerful businessman to face allegations of sexual harassment this month. Just a couple of weeks ago, the CEO, Joseph Rogers, of the legendary Southern diner Waffle House was also accused of sexually harassing his personal assistant, for a period of ten years. The unidentified women said he repeatedly requested she have sex with him.
Rock and the unidentified woman who worked for the Waffle House CEO both tolerated the abusive sexual harassment for years, leaving some to wonder why they would put up with that for that long.
Both of these women feared they would lose their jobs, their livelihoods. And it is common for employers to fire or otherwise punish workers who report or speak out about sexual harassment; this is called retaliation.
When a man or woman in a powerful position uses that power to garner sexual favors from their employees it is referred to as quid pro quo harassment and is very common. Many victims of sexual harassment cannot afford to lose their jobs so they often ignore or simply accept the harassment because they feel powerless.
New York, NY- The New York Athletic Cub is in damage control mode after a former employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the exclusive club, alleging use of racial slurs and repeated harassment on behalf of the club’s managers.
Keisi Ballenilla worked for the athletic club for five years and she alleges that during that time she was repeatedly sexually harassed by managers and the club took no action. Often allegations would be deemed “unfounded” after a very brief investigation.
According to court documents, which were obtained exclusively by The New York Post, club guests and managers were not reprimanded when they used racial slurs against or sexually harassed workers.
The documents included testimony from Elvis Lopez who has worked security for the club since 2005. In his testimony Lopez said there was “a lot of discrimination from management toward the employees – and club members also, toward employees,” The Post reported.
According to Lopez’s testimony, one member of the club allegedly showed one of the female coat-check workers pictures of men in bikini briefs. Ballenilla, who was a server in the club’s restaurant, stated that her boss, Nesim Zuberi, often requested sex from her in return for giving her work. Lopez affirmed that Zuberi used his power to get favors from staff.
Although, the racial discrimination, sexual harassment and other unethical behaviors were prevalent the employees feared they would retaliated against if they reported the rampant abuse.
The club asked a Manhattan court to impose a confidentiality agreement on the case, but the court refused to do so.
Standing up to employer about discrimination and harassment can be difficult because their complaints are disregarded or they could be retaliated against. Victims of a hostile work environment must often turn to New York sexual harassment attorney to put an end to their abuse and get them compensation.
Denver, CO- The sexual harassment lawsuit against Georgia-based HoneyBaked Ham Co. is testing the waters of social media privacy as a federal judge has ordered complainants in the case to give defense attorneys access to their accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
Last fall, on the behalf of over two dozen women, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against HoneyBaked Ham Co. The women alleged that store manager James Jackman repeatedly groped them, solicited them for sexual favors and used inappropriate language towards them. The women contacted the EEOC after the company took no action to stop Jackman’s illegal behavior and are suing for emotional distress.
In the interest of evidence discovery, the attorneys representing HoneyBaked asked a judge to grant them access to the women’s social media accounts, email and text messages to determine the plaintiff’s emotional distress, bias and credibility.
And a federal judge agreed to the defense attorney’s demands by requiring the women to provide access to these accounts. The judge will review all the information contained in “the documents” to determine if they have any bearing on their case.
But this means that in order to get compensation for enduring a hostile working environment they must expose private communications, so the women are now put in a position to choose between their privacy or a payout.
Judges in divorce cases have issued similar orders and raises issue of privacy in the internet age. It’s likely that as this practice becomes more common, we will see social media privacy become a big issue.
Sexual harassment attorneys are tasked with proving their clients are suffering from emotional duress as a result of unwanted attention. An experienced attorney can face any challenges that arise and work toward getting their clients the settlement they deserve.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in 2011 on behalf of female employees, including teenagers, who said they were subjected to unwanted comments and touching by a manger that was shuffled around to different IHOP franchises. The women alleged that the franchise owner failed to adequately address the harassment which was so prevalent that some of the women quit their jobs.
The settlement filed against Famim Adi the owner of Mantanio Inc. is the second-largest settlement for a sexual harassment case received by the Albuquerque office of the EEOC.
The settlement funds will be split between 22 women named in the suit.
In addition to the settlement, Matanio Inc. will have to provide a workplace that is free from sex discrimination and retaliation.
Mary Jo O’Neill who works at the Phoenix office of the EEOC said, “Management must constantly be reminded of their obligation to maintain work places where the employees are not subject to illegal harassment or forced to quit because of the harassment,” according to Bizjournals.
Though it is an employer’s responsibility to prevent and stop incidents of harassment or discrimination, they frequently fail to do so, leaving victims no other alternative than to retain a sexual harassment attorney. A lawyer can not only make an employer address their problems, but they can also make certain the harassed person or persons are compensated for their emotional distress.
Albany, NY- Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz was highly critical of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for paying off a woman to keep a sexual harassment allegation against Vito Lopez secret. But it has been revealed that Katz himself faced a sexual harassment lawsuit in the past.
Katz was sued in 2002, when a female worker at his Bronx veterinary clinic accused a coworker of sexually harassing her and Katz did nothing to stop the abuser. Just one month after the woman informed Katz that she was being harassed he fired her, according to pressconnects.com.
The case was finally settled in 2006 for $105,000, but not before Katz tried to have the case dismissed, the court documents revealed.
Katz along with other Republican lawmakers called for Silver’s resignation after fellow Assemblyman Vito Lopez was accused of harassing his young female aides earlier this summer. Under intense public scrutiny, a previous lawsuit against Lopez surfaced where Silver agreed to pay off a former female employee to keep quiet about the scandal.
Employees expect that their employers will protect them against abuse and a hostile work environment. But too often employers instead punish the complainant; this is called retaliation and is just as toxic as the harassment.
Because retaliation is so common that the victims of harassment have no other choice than to solicit help. A New York sexual harassment attorney will work hard to get the employee the compensation they deserve for their emotional duress and any wages lost due to retaliation.