New York County Supreme Court: Employee’s Allegations of Unwelcome Touching, Sexual Comments and Threats of Termination Meet the Standard for Alleging Sexual Harassment
Marc A. Rapaport
Managing Member, Rapaport Law Firm, PLLC
Last week, the New York County Supreme Court (Hon. Francis A. Khan, III, J.S.C.), issued a decision allowing a former bookkeeper to proceed with her complaint alleging constructive discharge based on sexually-charged comments and unwanted touching by her boss.
THE COURT ANALYZES THE STANDARD FOR PROVING SEXUAL HARASSMENT UNDER NEW YORK STATE AND CITY LAW.
According to the court, plaintiff’s factual allegations, if taken as true, were sufficient to meet the constructive discharge and sexual harassment standards of the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Both of these laws require plaintiffs to show that as a result of deliberate acts, their work environment became so objectively and subjectively hostile and intolerable that they were compelled to resign their position, and that under the circumstances, any reasonable person in their position would have felt compelled to resign.
The court issued its decision in the case Chow-Tai v. Fulvio & Associates, LLP. According to the complaint, Plaintiff worked as a bookkeeper for a small accounting firm from 2008 until 2015. The complaint describes eleven separate instances of specific hostile conduct, of which seven describe “overtly sexually suggestive conduct” by the accounting firm’s CEO, including an alleged instance of unwanted physical touching. Although this case is still at the earliest stage, and the complaint’s allegations have not been proven, the allegations asserted by plaintiff mirror the allegations in other cases that have received widespread publicity since the advent of the #Me To Movement.
RIGHTS OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE SEXUALLY HARASSED IN NEW YORK.
The New York employment attorneys at Rapaport Law Firm have been at the forefront of protecting the rights of New York employees to work in environments that are free from gender-based hostility and sexual harassment. We can help you understand your powerful new rights under recent amendments to state and local laws. In particularly, the New York legislature has enacted important new protections to protect employees from sexual harassment. For example, all New York employers must have sexual harassment policies that specifically inform employees of federal and state laws concerning sexual harassment, and inform employees that they may also be entitled to protection under local laws. New York limits the ability of employers to insist that an employee sign confidentiality agreement as a precondition for settling a sexual harassment claim. This new legal requirement is directly tied to widespread understanding that for decades, confidentiality agreements made it too easy for serial sexual harassers to get away with abusing employees.
If you have experienced sexually inappropriate conduct in your workplace in New York, it is essential for you to speak with an experienced New York employment attorney. Marc Rapaport, the founder of Rapaport Law Firm, has represented New York employees since 1995. He has appeared in over one hundred publications and news programs, and his victories have helped shape employment law. In 2003, Marc obtained a ruling allowing employment lawyers in New York to advise employees on how to secretly tape-record their conversations with managers, co-workers and third parties. Marc has effectively represented employees who were forced out of their jobs or subjected to hostility as a result of pregnancy. If you have questions about your rights in the workplace, give us a call to learn more about your rights and legal options.