$50,000 Verdict - Retaliation
New York plaintiff's law firm Phillips & Associates Attorneys at Law, PLLC, recently obtained a favorable $50,000 jury verdict on behalf of a Bronx employee, Ingrit Echevarria, who claimed she was subject to sexual harassment at work and eventually fired for complaining. The Defendants were Insight Medical, P.C., Al Okhravi, and Dr. Steve Okhravi. According to court documents, Echevarria was an office manager at Insight Medical, a medical company located in the Bronx. During the course of several months, Echevarria's manager, Al Okhravi, would make sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted sexual advances toward her. Echevarria claimed that when she complained directly to Dr. Steve Okhravi, the owner of the company and the harasser’s brother, he failed to take any steps to stop the unwanted activity and instead told her to take her complaints to the Pope. He then terminated her employment within minutes. Echevarria brought claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination. Echevarria claimed that her manager violated these laws by making unwanted sexual remarks, comments, and requests for sex. Echevarria claimed that Dr. Steve Okhravi failed to take any steps to protect her when she complained and, instead, immediately terminated her. As a result of these actions, Echevarria claimed that she suffered a loss of career and loss of salary. She also claimed that she suffered emotional and physical injuries related to the unwanted sexual harassment and dealing with the fallout of the retaliatory termination. She sought damages to make her whole for the suffering, compensation for her injuries, and punitive damages to punish the employer, as well as reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The jury ultimately found in Echevarria’s favor on her claim that she had been retaliated against for complaining about being sexually harassed. The jury awarded her $50,000 in compensatory damages. Echevarria is also entitled to all attorney fees and costs, which can be substantial. This was a significant win for the employee. In a retaliation claim, an employee may prevail even if the underlying conduct complained of was not proven, so long as the plaintiff demonstrates that she possessed a good-faith, reasonable belief that the underlying conduct was unlawful when she complained. New York Employment Attorney, Jesse Rose, Of Counsel to Phillips & Associates, represented Echevarria. Mr. Rose stated, “The termination occurring within minutes of the complaint of harassment is an egregious violation of the law. The jury's finding in this case should serve as a warning to those who would ignore complaints of harassment or retaliate against victims.” About Phillips & Associates Phillips & Associates is a New York City law firm that focuses on helping victims of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. We have successfully fought for the rights of employees who faced harassment or discrimination due to their protected characteristics such as age, race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, and disability. We are conveniently located in New York Financial District at 45 Broadway, Suite 620, New York, New York 10006. For more information, please call us at 212-248-7431 or visit www.newyorkcitydiscriminationlawyer.com.
$40,000 Verdict - Sexual Harassment
NEW YORK, July 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sexual harassment in the workplace does not always involve a male superior harassing a female subordinate. Phillips & Associates employment attorneys, Edward Kennedy and Jesse Rose recently obtained a $40,000 jury verdict in a case of a female supervisor engaging in illegal sexual harassment and retaliation against a male subordinate. According to court documents, Cory Lashley a Queens, New York man says that he met his future boss at a nightclub. The two spoke about his job in sales and her need for a Director of Admissions at her school, New Life Business Institute. The night progressed and the boss took him back to his house where they had sex and a job offer was made. The plaintiff said he felt "especially guilty" about trading sex for employment. He started the job at the school the very next Monday. The plaintiff said that he succeeded in the new position. He hired his team and performed his job well. He stated he met or exceeded all of his goals in bringing in prospective students to the school. However, the "job" sometimes involved more than work. The female supervisor continued to pressure him for sex. When the plaintiff fought back and said "no", the supervisor responded by firing his entire team. As time passed following the termination of his team, the man says that he submitted to sex with the supervisor. When the man refused to continue to engage in sex, she promptly fired him. The employee sued his supervisor and her school, claiming gender discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New York City Human Rights Law. The employee also sought punitive damages claiming that his supervisor engaged in malicious, willful, and outrageous conduct. A jury mostly agreed with the plaintiff and found that he was subject to quid pro quo sexual harassment -- meaning that he was forced to engage in sexual conduct with his boss in order to keep his job. The jury also found that the man worked in a hostile work environment and was retaliated against when he was terminated for stopping the sexual relationship. The jury awarded the man $40,000 in damages. That damage amount was comprised of $10,000 for lost wages and $30,000 for punitive damages. The plaintiff is also entitled to all attorney fees and costs which can be significant. This was a significant win for the employee. It shows that both male and females have the right to a work environment free from sexual harassment. If an employer promises some type of job benefit whether it be a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors, it can be considered quid pro quo harassment. Additionally, if an employer threatens a person's job for not engaging in these behaviors, it can be considered retaliation. About Phillips & Associates Phillips & Associates is a New York City law firm that focuses on helping victims of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. We have successfully fought for the rights of employees who faced harassment or discrimination due to their protected characteristics such as age, race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, and disability. We are conveniently located in New York Financial District at 45 Broadway, Suite 620, New York, New York 10006. For more information, please call us at 212-248-7431 or visit www.newyorkcitydiscriminationlawyer.com