Women and men file gender discrimination lawsuits in New York and across the nation, almost daily. At Leeds Brown Law, P.C., employment lawyers handling sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases, we hear our fair share of the colorful complaints employees have about the people with whom they work. For example,
One case recently filed, however, proves we haven’t heard it all. This lawsuit shows just how creative an employer can be when it comes to alleged discriminatory treatment.
Tracey Boudine worked as a vice president at Wise Public Relations in New York City, where the New York Post reported: she was the only female in a “senior leadership” role during her two-year tenure. Despite having an executive role, Tracey’s colleagues and supervisors, who were men, relentlessly remarked about her frequent trips to the ladies’ room. Boudine alleged that they also teased her about “her need-as a woman-to use toilet paper more frequently when she did use the bathroom.” This harassment made her feel humiliated and embarrassed, according to court documents.
In addition to the harassment, Boudine alleged in the complaint that the company went so far as to put a limit on the amount of toilet paper she could use. There appeared to be no similar toilet paper quotas for male employees. Because of the restriction imposed on Boudine’s toilet paper use, she had to go elsewhere to relieve herself, such as the restrooms of nearby fast-food restaurants and fitness centers.
Boudine complained to Defendant Harrison Wise that the toilet paper treatment discriminated against her based on her gender. She also told him, according to court documents, that “women had to work twice as hard as men” at the company, and that the firm gave credit and favorable assignments to the male employees. After no response, she complained again about the gender discrimination.
Boudine’s attorneys sent notice to Wise that they were investigating whether she was experiencing discrimination or harassment based on her gender. Wise Public Relations terminated her employment within hours of receiving the letter. Boudine has alleged that her termination was in direct retaliation for her attempts to stop discrimination.
On August 24, 2017, Boudine filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against the business and its owner Harrison Wise. In her complaint, Boudine asserted that the allegations above form the basis for her claims for gender discrimination and retaliation under New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
Under both laws, when an employer treats an employee differently because of gender, the conduct may be unlawful. Gender discrimination can include promoting someone because of sex, refusing to hire a qualified applicant because she is pregnant or refusing to assign work to an individual because of gender. Paying men and women differently for the same job can also be a form of gender discrimination.
Harassing an employee because of gender characteristics or sex may also be illegal discrimination. Sexual harassment can occur when a supervisor takes or threatens an adverse employment action based on an employee’s response to a request for a sexual favor. It can also happen when lewd behavior results in a hostile work environment.
The city, state and federal laws that make discrimination illegal also prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who experiences or tries to fix a discriminatory situation. Retaliation is an adverse action an employer takes in response to an employee’s attempt to complain about or stop gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Retaliation usually includes things like firing, demoting, threatening or transferring the employee. Your employer may not punish you for exercising your legal right to work in a place free from gender discrimination.
In her lawsuit, Boudine requested a jury trial and an unspecified amount of monetary damages. Time will tell how the case gets resolved. Perhaps the parties will negotiate a fair settlement, or she will get her job back plus any wages she lost. Maybe the case will go all the way to trial, and a jury will determine whether she is entitled to monetary damages. We will have to wait and see.
If you think that your employer is discriminating against you because of your gender, you may want to contact employment lawyers at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. If you experience sexual harassment or other discriminatory treatment you don’t have to sit back and accept it. You have options. Speaking with experienced gender discrimination attorneys can help you understand what they are and how to proceed in a manner that protects your interests.
Contact our office to receive a free evaluation of your gender discrimination case and preserve your legal rights. Time may be of the essence so don’t wait. You might be entitled to significant compensation from your employer.
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