Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment and Gender Discrimination

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Thumbnail image for Sex.Harassment.Angry.Man.Woman.Dollar.Photo.Club.1.17.16.jog.jpgOur Award Winning New York Employment Lawyer has represented clients in sexual harassment matters. These types of cases can be emotionally difficult and selecting the right attorney is important. This post discusses some background issues but feel free to call our office to learn your rights in your specific situation and see if we can help you fight back.

Recent headlines involving Fox News and other companies have once again placed the topic of sexual harassment in the headlines. It is unfortunate that sexual harassment remains such a prevalent issue in the workplace. It was recently reported that over 60% of women in the advertising field were subject to sexual harassment at some point in their career. It is not acceptable for your workplace to be filled with terms and conditions of sexual harassment.
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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Sexual.Harassment.Posterboard.jpgOur Award Winning New York Sexual Harassment Attorney has commented and written extensively on sexual harassment in the workplace. In the 25 years since sexual harassment took a very public face in the form of then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and his accuser, Anita Hill, the public at large has grown more familiar with the term- and some even understand its broader meaning. But there’s so much more to sexual harassment than is commonly understood. So let’s explore: what exactly is sexual harassment?

Preliminarily, Federal, New York State, and many local laws all prohibit discrimination based on sex (which, in this instance, the term can be used interchangeably with the word “gender”). While different levels of law have varying levels of application to types of employers (e.g. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Federal statute, applies to employers with 15 or more employees, whereas some local laws apply to employers with 4 of more employees), under all laws, sexual harassment has been deemed to be a form of discrimination based on sex.
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Resignation.Dollar.Photo.Club.2.15.16.jpgOur Award-Winning New York Employment Lawyer has been asked to discuss the following question — what is the standard for constructive discharge under the city law. Constructive discharge claims can be difficult to prove. In general, a constructive discharge claim requires two separate events (i) employer engages in prohibited conduct; and (ii) and the employee resigns from his or her job. Under this theory, an employer cannot simply evade liability of the underlying discriminatory or harassing conduct simply because the employee resigned. This blog post discusses the standard under NYC Human Rights Law, which carries a lower burden for employees than federal law.
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Sex.Harassment.Angry.Man.Woman.Dollar.Photo.Club.1.17.16.jog.jpgOur Award Winning New York Hostile Work Environment Attorney repeatedly has discussed the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment remains a serious problem in workplaces today. Below is a recent case that discusses a hostile work environment and constructive termination. This case involves unlawful verbal and physical conduct.

A strongly worded decision recently issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (“NYCCHR”), the case involved allegations that the sole owner of the company, Jerry Fund, had subjected his former office manager, Ms. Cardenas, to a hostile work environment and then constructively terminated her employment because of her gender.
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Sexual Harassment Victim Wins $7.3M in Bikram Yoga Case & Examples of Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Conduct

yoga.Dollar.Photo.1.26.16.jpgAs our Award Winning New York Employment Law Attorney has discussed before, there are two different forms of sexual harassment: Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment (“QPQ”) and hostile work environment (“HWE”). In some egregious cases, the two types of cases can overlap. This blog post discusses a recent case.

Minakshi Jafa-Bodden v. Bikram Choudhury et al.

Ms. Jafa-Bodden, an attorney, filed a lawsuit alleging that, over the course of her employment with international yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, she was subjected to a multitude of employment violations by Choudhury including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and, ultimately, wrongful termination. 

Choudhury, the founder of a global yoga empire who championed the practice of hot room yoga, denied the allegations which included:
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Sex.Harassment.Angry.Man.Woman.Dollar.Photo.Club.1.17.16.jog.jpgOur New York Employment Law Attorney is often asked to explain the definition of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment. Quid Pro Quo means “this for that” in latin. In short, Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when an employer demands sexual favors from an employee (or applicant) in exchange for granting a job benefit or the denial of a job benefit where the demand is rejected. The term has been defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute “quid pro quo” sexual harassment when (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or (ii) submission to of rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such an individual.” Unlike hostile work environment claims, these scenarios are easier to identify.
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Sexual.Harassment.Posterboard.jpgOur Award Winning New York Employment Lawyer has been asked to discuss the definition of a hostile work environment. Most people associate this phrase with sexual harassment cases only but that it is not accurate. An individual may allege workplace harassment based on other protected categories including race, national origin, religion, and disability. This is a key difference between from Quid Pro Quo harassment claims, which are limited to sexual harassment matters. Quid Pro Quo harassment cases are discussed in another blog post, which can be found here. One last point of introduction – male and female employees both can bring hostile work environment claims due to conduct by the same sex or opposite sex.
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My building’s super keeps sexually harassing me! What can I do?

Sexual.Harassment.Posterboard.jpgWhen most people think of “sexual harassment”, they tend to think of it as happening in the workplace. While workplace sexual harassment is an issue (see our previous posts here, sexual harassment in housing is every bit as real and problematic. It can cause great stress for residents, and the consequences for all involved can be great.

It is important to know what your rights are, what sexual harassment means, and what steps you can take. Our Award Winning New York Fair Housing Attorney generally discusses a housing case that resulted in the largest recovery ever in a sexual harassment suit brought by the Federal government under the Fair Housing Act.

United States of America et al. v. William Barnason et al.

In its lawsuit against the landlord, superintendent, and building manager of several New York City apartment buildings, the Federal government alleged that the defendants violated the Federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating on the basis of sex and subjecting numerous tenants to severe, unwelcome, or pervasive sexual harassment.

Building owner Stanley Katz had hired Baranson, a Level 3 registered sex offender, as the superintendent for the properties in question. Between 2004 and 2010, multiple female tenants complained to Katz about Baranson, complaining that he repeatedly attempted to enter their apartments while inebriated and demanded sex; groped and fondled them; subjected them to unwanted verbal sexual advances; demanded sexual favors in return for tangible housing benefits and rent reductions; and took adverse action against any tenant that refused his demands.
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New York Equal Pay Lawyer Discusses Leveling the Playing Field

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“I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value. Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their service as workers, not as women.” – Susan B. Anthony

Although the topic has gained attention in the mainstream media recently (e.g., Jennifer Lawrence notably very publicly complained that she was paid less than her male American Hustle motion picture co-stars), an inexcusable and significant pay gap remains between men and women in the workplace. According to recent reports, full-time working women earn 77% of their male colleagues and the gap is even greater for women of color. This inequity in pay causes ripples in families, society and the overall workforce. It is important to step up and speak up if you believe you are being less than your male counterparts. Our Award Winning New York Equal Pay Lawyer discusses in general two recent cases involving gender discrimination where women were paid less than men.
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Thumbnail image for Sexual.Harassment.Posterboard.jpgIn October, three members of the Nyack College Softball team sued the college’s former head coach, Kurt Ludwigsen, Nyack College and other individuals for claims based on, among others, a pattern and practice of sexual harassment and sexual assaults that occurred at college events or college sanctioned events during the 2014-2015 academic year. The Complaint was filed in federal court in White Plains and also alleges that Nyack negligently hired Mr. Ludwigsen due to prior allegations of sexual harassment and assault as a softball coach. Mr. Ludwigsen reportedly was charged with 7 counts of felony coercion in the first degree, 94 counts of sexual assault in the second degree, 94 counts of sexual assault in the third degree and 2 counts of harassment in the second degree earlier this year by the District Attorney’s office in Rockland County. In total, it has been reported he was indicted on 197 counts of improper sexual contact with 13 softball players. Mr. Ludwigsen’s employment was terminated in or about March 2015. If you were subject to sexual harassment in the workplace or at school, contact our office for a confidential consultation to learn your rights, options and how to protect yourself. It is important to speak up.

The Specific Allegations

The harassment alleged is severe and unwelcome. Specifically, according to paragraph 2 of the First Amended Complaint, it is alleged that Ludwigsen was “routinely licking his players’ ears, kissing their lips and faces, slapping their buttocks, grabbing their breasts, directing them to sit on his lap, lying on top of them, commenting about their physical attributes, having sexually explicit conversations with them, inviting a pornographic actress known as Allie Haze to practice and directing students to life counseling sessions with her, directing an underage drinking outing where his players were instructed to dress in cocktail dresses and dance with male strangers and offering to assist players to attain employment in the adult entertainment industry.” The Amended Complaint further alleges that the coach engaged in a pattern of intimidation against the players and that the players were retaliated against after they complaint. It is alleged that school officials witnessed some instances of sexual harassment and failed to take appropriate measures to stop the inappropriate activity or correct it, even after complaints were filed by the players.
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