Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The New York State Division of Human Rights fines owners of businesses found guilty of sexual harassment at the workplace


The New York State Division of Human Rights fines owners of businesses found guilty of sexual harassment at the workplace
Source: NYS Division of Human Rights

The New York State Division of Human Rights recently determined that two female employees had been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. 

In commenting on the rulings, New York State Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights Alphonso David said “Every person is legally entitled to a work environment free of harassment and discrimination … Sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our State and the Administration will use its powers to prosecute those who violate the law.” 

In one case the Division found that the complainant had been subjected to a pattern of sexual harassment by the owner of the business. This included touching the complainant inappropriately, appearing at her home uninvited and offering to pay her rent in exchange for a sexual relationship.

The Division awarded the woman $50,000 in compensatory damages; $13,000 as back wages for the period in which she was paid less than other waitresses; $10,668.68 as back wages for the period in which she was unemployed, and $23,700.06 as back wages for the period she was employed but unable to find a job with a comparable salary. In addition the restaurant owner was ordered to pay $75,000 as a civil fine and penalty for violating New York State’s Human Rights Law.


In the second case the Division found a woman was subjected to inappropriate behavior by the owner of the business soon after being hired. Although the complainant resigned from her position, the owner continued the harassment by telephone. The complainant was awarded $75,000 in compensatory damages and $27,500 in back wages. The owner was also ordered to pay $25,000 in civil fines and penalties. 

Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law. The Division reports that it received 517 sexual harassment complaints in 2011. 

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

Other decisions by the Division are available on the Division’s website at  http://www.dhr.ny.gov/orders.html  



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