A New York City Parks Department employee was recently fired after complaining of sexual harassment, according to a report in the New York Daily News. Valerie Marville claims that her supervisors at the Parks Department fired her for being a “disrepute to the city” after she was allegedly sent salacious text messages and complained of the behavior. Interestingly, although the Department of Investigation (“DOI”) found wrongdoing on the part of both supervisors, those individuals are still employed by the City.
Marville has been working for the Parks Department since 2009, and is a single mother of three. She claims that her supervisors held “raunchy” unauthorized office parties and made inappropriate comments to her in the office. Additionally, Marville claims she and other seasonal Parks Department employees were offered additional opportunities if they were willing to take off their clothes at parties.
After Marville complained of the conduct in 2013 she was transferred to a different position. However, when the Daily News ran a front-page story about Marville’s complaints she was soon suspended before ultimately being terminated. The Parks Department also fought Marville’s unemployment claim after she was terminated.
Retaliation in New York City all too Common
This case is the latest in a string of retaliation claims against New York City agencies. Employees should feel free to make complaints about illegal activity at their places of employment without the fear of adverse action. Indeed, retaliation is an illegal form of discrimination that occurs when an employee exercises his or her rights under the law and is subjected to termination or other forms of discipline as a result. Although Marville’s case is the extreme form of retaliation, wherein an employee complained of sexual harassment and was fired as a direct result, retaliation can take many different forms, all of which are illegal.
Retaliation is Illegal Activity and should not go Unpunished
If something illegal is taking place where you work, do not be afraid to complain. Indeed, in the unlikely event that your employer takes adverse action against you, you may indeed have legal recourse. Those employers who choose to engage in illegal activity and attempt to quash complaints through retaliatory practices must be made to pay.
Forms of adverse action that may give rise to a claim for retaliation include (but are not limited to) the following: termination; suspension; demotion; transfer; reduction of hours; reduction in pay; negative performance reviews; and harassment or the creation of a hostile work environment. All of the aforementioned forms of retaliation frequently occur by someone who has been accused of illegal conduct like sexual harassment. In such cases the victim is punished by the conduct that occurs, then is punished a second time when the adverse action happens. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you have complained about illegal conduct in the workplace and believe you have been subjected to adverse employment action as a result, do not hesitate to contact the employment lawyers at Joseph & Norinsberg or a free consultation. You may have a claim for significant damages as a result of illegal retaliation. Contact us today at 212-JUSTICE or firstname.lastname@example.org for an evaluation of your case.