Michael Picarella, an employee of HSBC’s Fifth Avenue location in Manhattan, filed a lawsuit against the bank earlier this year for harassment. After attempting to return to work after the Thanksgiving holiday, he was surprised to discover that he was being barred from entering the building.
The 47-year-old Picarella originally filed the lawsuit with claims that the bank had retaliated against him unfairly after he and one other HSBC employee alerted higher-ups to one supervisor encouraging a female employee to “dress provocatively” and to sleep with one of the company’s senior bankers. According to the lawsuit, the young female employee was the victim of sexual harassment on numerous occasions, and was also routinely spanked and once nearly had her top ripped off of her by her boss, Eileen Hedges.
Picarella claims that he was demoted from sales executive to junior banker after reporting the incidents to human resources. When he attempted to return to the building on December 1 after the holiday weekend, fellow employees were streaming into the building but he was not allowed into the building. He has not been given any indication from HSBC about when or even if he will be allowed to return.
HSBC has denied all allegations of discrimination against Picarella and harassment against the young woman, claiming that it as an organization values a “safe speak-up culture” and encourages employees to alert higher-ups to wrongdoing within its offices.
If you believe that you have been unfairly punished after reporting harassment or other types of wrongdoing within your organization, consult the experienced New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia employment discrimination attorneys with the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC.