News Brief

Wright, Moore and Weinstein Obtain Unanimous Jury Verdict Dismissing Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Claims

February 27, 2023

New York partners Nancy Wright and Marielle Moore and associate Samuel Weinstein successfully defended the firm’s hotel client and an individually named female manager in a case alleging a hostile work environment, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and retaliatory termination of employment. The defense team highlighted the legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for plaintiff’s termination, i.e., during his brief three-month employment tenure, plaintiff received more than seven counseling sessions in response to at least ten complaints about his performance. Toward the end of his employment tenure, plaintiff had sustained a physical injury on the job with a resulting permanent partial disability. However he was cleared to return to work and the performance issues and complaints continued.  Accordingly another manager demanded plaintiff’s immediate termination, noting he was killing the morale of the department.  The defense also established that it was only during plaintiff’s termination meeting that he first made allegations of sexual harassment.  Plaintiff was repeatedly impeached during his cross-examination by the defense team, which detailed various points in plaintiff’s underlying worker’s compensation and deposition testimony where he had claimed he was terminated due to his injuries, not because of sexual harassment.  Plaintiff’s impeachment and numerous inconsistencies were highlighted during the defense team’s closing argument, which, coupled with plaintiff’s inability to impeach the defense’s witnesses, resulted in the jury unanimously returning a defense verdict after a mere 30-minute deliberation. The defense verdict was especially gratifying as the accused female manager had lived under the cloud of false sexual harassment claims for nearly 10 years. The claims were dismissed under both the New York State Human Rights Law and the plaintiff-friendly New York City Human Rights Law. 

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