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Manhattan Court Awards Default Judgment Against Employer Who Used Racial Slurs, Assaulted Female Employee

Manhattan Court Awards Default Judgment Against Employer Who Used Racial Slurs, Assaulted Female Employee

There is simply no excuse in this day and age for race discrimination in the workplace. Yet it remains an everyday occurrence. In some situations the discrimination is subtle and the affected employee may try to ignore it. But there are other cases in which the discrimination is so extensive–and perhaps violent–that the employee simply has no alternative but to take legal action.

Court Finds Sufficient Evidence of Race- and Gender-Based Hostility

Here is an example taken from a recent judgment issued by a federal judge in Manhattan. In this particular lawsuit, the defendants never bothered to reply or contest the plaintiff's discrimination charges. This led the judge to issue a default judgment in the plaintiff's favor on most of her allegations.

This is what happened. The plaintiff worked for the defendants for approximately 14 years. She quit her job in 2017 due to “increasingly abusive treatment” from one of the company's owners. This abuse included:

  • The defendant called the plaintiff a “spic” and referred to her “Spanish, low class mentality.”
  • The defendant slammed the plaintiff's laptop closed “on her fingers, punched her in the face, and dragged her into his office by the collar of her shirt.”
  • The defendant told the plaintiff, “I am paying you too much, you are not worth what I am paying you, especially at your age.”
  • The defendant called the plaintiff a “f—–g Dominican bitch” and threatened to kill her.
  • The defendant told the plaintiff he would treat her better “if I got a blow job every morning.”

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken concluded that all of this conduct–which the defendants admitted as a matter of law since they never bothered to answer the lawsuit–proved the plaintiff's hostile work environment allegations. Indeed, the defendant's use of racial slurs and physical abuse was enough to satisfy the requirements of the various federal, state, and city employment discrimination laws.

Judge Oetken also found the plaintiff sufficiently proved sex discrimination based on the defendants remarks indicating “gender-based hostility.” However, the judge did reject the plaintiff's allegations of age discrimination, as she failed to substantiate that part of her lawsuit. (Federal law requires proof that an employer discriminated against an employee who is at least 40 years old on the basis of age.)

Finally, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff's claim for assault and battery based on the punching and dragging incident described above. Under New York law, an “assault” occurs whenever the defendant intentionally places the plaintiff “in fear of imminent harm or offensive contact,” while “battery” involves the “intentional wrongful physical contact with another person without consent.”

Speak with a New York City Race and Sex Discrimination Lawyer Today

Obviously, not every defendant refuses to defend against a discrimination lawsuit. But this case illustrates the type of conduct that can get employers in trouble. If you have been subjected to any threatening or abusive conduct in the workplace, you need to take immediate action. The first step is to contact a qualified New York employment law attorney. Call the Law Offices of Mahir S. Nisar, Attorney at Law, to speak with a member of our team today.

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