Gay Employee Fired After Reporting Discrimination
In January, a Midtown currency exchange company was accused of wrongfully terminating an employee after he lodged an anonymous complaint alleging sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Managers Varun Patel Shahrazz Hayat of the Change Group allegedly fired Gerard Giraldo, 21, after sending him an intimidating message in response to his complaint. In addition to the teasing he was subjected to based on his sexual orientation, Giraldo also alleges that Patel made improper contact with female employees and made inappropriate and offensive remarks about the race and religion of others.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and forbidden under the Civil Rights Act. Under the same law, employees are entitled to report such discrimination without fear or threat of retaliation. Giraldo says that when he filed his complaint, through what he was led to believe was an anonymous form, he received a threatening, anonymous message in reply, with the subject line, “Game Over.” He worked for three more weeks fearing for his job, and after hearing through the grapevine that he was going to be fired, he was terminated.
A plaintiff in a wrongful termination suit must be able to make a causal link between his termination and the protected act that preceded it, in Giraldo’s case his anonymous complaint. New York State and New York City law affords even greater protection to employees like Giraldo than federal law by broadening the scope of what constitutes a protected act.
In the event that you’ve experienced sexual harassment on the job, a meeting with an experienced New York City attorney should be your first order of business. You should also lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Particularly if your complaint results in retaliation, it is extremely important to keep written records of events leading up to the complaint itself, as well as events related to retaliation and termination.
A New York City employment lawyer can provide the information and support you need regarding any action against your employer in a sexual harassment or wrongful termination case. Consult the experienced attorneys at the Derek T. Smith Law Group today.