Sexual harassment and related acts of employment discrimination do not just affect heterosexual women. Too many members of New York's LGBTQ community face a hostile work environment. In some cases, employers may illegally conflate an employee's sexual preference with willingness to engage in illegal behavior.
Bar Manager Allegedly Ordered Employees to Promote “Illegal Live Sex Shows”
Recently two former employees of a popular Long Island bar and restaurant that caters to LGBTQ individuals sued the business's owners and managers, alleging a pervasive culture of sexual harassment. The plaintiffs, who identify as homosexual males, claim they were victims of an illegal campaign of “Sodom and Gomorrah” activities perpetuated by the defendants. The lawsuit not only cites alleged sexual harassment by the defendant managers, but also states the plaintiffs were forced to engage in illegal sexual acts during the course of their employment.
The lawsuit claims that the harassment began during the hiring process. For example, one of the plaintiffs alleges that he was asked “to provide shirtless photos along with his resume” when applying for a position with the defendant. The plaintiff was also ordered to take off his shirt during the actual interview, an act purportedly designed to see “sexually arouse” the defendant's operations manager.
Once hired, the plaintiff said he was routinely subjected to “vulgar and inappropriate sexual questions and comments,” including requests to take explicit pictures of sexual acts and sleep with the operations manager. At one point, after rejecting multiple advances, the operations manager allegedly “attempted to force himself” on the plaintiff during a work shift. On another occasion, the plaintiff said the manager slapped him “across the face and laughed.” The manager ultimately cut the plaintiff's pay and reduced his hours, which amounted to a “constructive termination,” according to the lawsuit.
Beyond the harassment, the plaintiff also claimed that management ordered him to “promote explicit and arguably illegal live sex shows.” The lawsuit cited a handbill advertising “Live Sex at 12 AM” with a picture of three shirtless men. The plaintiffs allege these shows were essentially nothing more than prostitution, which contributed to their hostile work environment.
Altogether, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating federal and state civil rights laws prohibiting sex discrimination, assault, civil liability for “criminal sexual acts” under New York law, and negligence in the hiring, training, supervision, and retention of employees. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and punitive damages.
Get Advice From a New York Sex Discrimination Lawyer
Regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, you should never be harassed, demeaned, or assaulted by your employer for any reason. Nor can your employer threaten or punish you for refusing to participate in any illegal activities. If you find yourself in such a position, you need to stand up for your legal rights, first by complaining to management–and when that is insufficient, by seeking a legal remedy.
A qualified New York employment law attorney can assist you with investigating and pursuing a sexual harassment or gender discrimination claim. Contact the Law Offices of Mahir S. Nisar today at (800) 496-3076 to speak with an attorney today about your employment situation.