A New York-based creative director recently filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against his employer DDB and its parent company Omnicom. The Plaintiff seeks over $20 million in damages. DDB is a creative agency with offices across the globe.

The suit does not specifically name the Plaintiff, only referring to him as a “gay man with HIV.” According to the suit, the Plaintiff accuses his direct supervisor – the agency’s Chief Digital Officer Joe Cianciotto – of subjecting him to repeated harassment based on his sexual orientation and gender.

The Plaintiff claims the Defendant Joe Cianciotto circulated lewd images of him around the office and made false claims about his HIV status. The Plaintiff also claims the agency turned a “blind eye” to the harassment. The agency’s CEOs are also named in the lawsuit, as the Plaintiff feels they did nothing to stop Cianciotto’s deplorable conduct.

The Plaintiff said he was “emotionally and physically paralyzed with fear as a gay man being discriminated by his own supervisor.”

While sexual orientation discrimination is illegal in New York under State laws, the Plaintiff’s NYC attorneys filed the suit in federal court, after receiving a “Right to Sue” letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will give you what is called a “Notice-of-Right-to- Sue” usually, after completion of an investigation of your sexual harassment claim.

The plaintiff’s sexual harassment lawyer has since issued this statement:

“DDB’s statement is inaccurate that the misconduct occurred years ago. The complaint clearly alleges that the misconduct continued from 2011 through 2015. And contrary to DDB’s other misstatement, my client did previously complain about the misconduct to DDB prior to filing this complaint, which was as well filed after the EEOC issued a right to sue letter. Also inaccurate is DDB’s perception that because my client remains employed there then that excuses the misconduct. It is the other way around; my client remains employed because by law a victim of such misconduct does not have to leave their employment and cannot be terminated in retaliation for his complaints.”

Can I file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company I still work for in New York City?

Yes, you can file a sexual harassment lawsuit against your current employer if your employer violated New York State, City, or federal employment laws. Sexual harassment victims, such as the Plaintiff in the DDB case, are protected under state and federal law from what is known as “retaliation.” The sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group will help defend your rights in an EEOC claim or a sexual harassment lawsuit in NY, NJ or PA.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a national law, if you engage in a “protected activity,” your employer is forbidden from taking an “adverse action” against you. This means you cannot be fired, demoted, harassed, refused pay increases, or face other negative consequences for opposing discrimination.

These events are considered “protected activities:”

  • Reporting harassment within your organization;
  • Filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in a court of law;
  • Filing a charge with the EEOC or;
  • Otherwise opposing discrimination

New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyers Ready to Take Your Call

New York State law offers even stronger anti-retaliation protection for employees in NYC and across the State. Even if you experience a more subtle negative change in your working conditions after reporting discrimination or sexual harassment, you may still have grounds for a lawsuit. So, if you filed a suit against your current employer and now you are being denied projects, being ostracized by your co-workers, or otherwise being treated poorly, you should speak with an NYC lawyer.

Our New York employment law attorneys encourage all victims of sexual harassment and retaliation to come forward. You have rights under the law. You do not need to accept harmful treatment at work.

The New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handle a multitude of employment discrimination cases that involve sexual harassment in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. Sexual Harassment is gender-based discrimination and is illegal. For further information, please feel free to call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.