Why it is Important to Provide Details When Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Proving sexual harassment in court is often a challenge for victims. In many cases, the victim has suffered a long history of discriminatory and hostile conduct. When it comes time to present evidence to a judge, the victim can offer little more than fragments or isolated anecdotes, and as a result, the court ends up dismissing the case.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Due to Lack of Timely Allegations
Consider this recent decision by the Appellate Division, First Department. The plaintiff in this case, Mejia v. TN 888 Eight Ave. LLC Co., sued her former employer for sexual harassment and age discrimination. But as the Appellate Division explained, the trial judge properly granted summary judgment to the defendants largely because the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient details to support her claims.
For example, the plaintiff's complaint alleged she was treated differently than other employees based on her Hispanic ethnicity. But the court said she failed to “recall with any specificity the times” where a supervisor or co-worker actually made hostile remarks. Similarly, the plaintiff alleged one of her supervisors “leered at her and referred to women in a derogatory manner,” but against she could not identify particular details.
Such details, in particular the dates, matter in sexual harassment and employment discrimination cases because of the statute of limitations that apply to such claims. Here, the plaintiff brought her lawsuit under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws. Both laws require a plaintiff to bring an employment discrimination claim “within three years after the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice or act of discriminatory conduct” occurred.
In other words, if you suffered an act of workplace discrimination in October 2016, you would have until October 2019 to bring a claim based on that act under the NYSHRL or NYCHRL. In the Mejia case, the First Department noted the only specific incident detailed by the plaintiff occurred in 2009, but this was more than three years before the plaintiff filed her lawsuit, which meant her claim was barred by the limitations period.
Speak with a New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
Workplace harassment is generally not a one-time affair. Many employees sustain weeks, months, and even years of abuse before taking action. But as explained above, the law does impose a time limit for you to take action.
So if you are a victim of harassment, it is a good idea to keep detailed written notes of every incident that occurs, taking special note of the dates and times. This can prove invaluable later as you work with a qualified New York City employment attorney to build a potential case against your employer.
Of course, you should never hesitate to contact a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about your rights in the workplace. The Nisar Law Group, P.C. assists clients throughout New York City who have suffered due to sexual harassment. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation.