According to NYDailyNews, employees at insurance giant AIG allegedly subjected a woman to repeated incidents of sexual harassment. Marlee Valenti of Manhattan joined the company in 2009 where she was promoted in her first year and won several awards for her performance. In 2012, she transferred to a department officially called the Public Management Liability Commercial Lines Division, but secretly dubbed “the boy’s club” because only around 10 percent of its 60 employees were female.
Court papers claim that Valenti testified she was “truly shocked at some of the conduct” of her peers. On multiple occasions, co-workers allegedly crawled under the desks of female employees so they could peek at their underwear. Valenti purportedly endured groping, licking and other forms of harassment.
When asked how she responded to these occurrences, Valenti claims she wasn’t comfortable reporting them to her direct supervisor Michael Donnelly because he was a willful participant in such behavior along with other managers in the department. Eventually, Donnelly began to show clear signs of disdain toward her, even going so far as to give her a formal performance warning on false charges or charges that her male co-workers didn’t receive. She claims her biggest account was taken away from her without warning and she was repeatedly ignored and denied opportunities by being shut out from meetings.
After a year of work in the department, Valenti fought back by submitting a 150 page report to top-tier management. A month later, she was fired after an investigation that revealed no breech of conduct. She allegedly received no severance package or benefits. With the help of legal representation, however, she filed a lawsuit that made its way to the Manhattan Supreme Court.
DailyMail.com further reports that Michael Donnelly now serves as vice president of the company, although he refused to comment about the lawsuit. Valenti’s testimonies are backed by female colleagues who witnessed similar behavior.
AIG is an international company that was given $85 billion during the economic bailout by the Federal Reserve. The government has a 79.9 percent stake in the company because of the financial rescue. AIG claims that it “is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. However, we claim this suit and the claims it makes are without merit, and we will defend the matter vigorously.”
Marlee Valenti isn’t the only woman to endure sexual harassment in New York. Each year, victims of trauma and abuse win lawsuits and settlements for the experiences they endured. Valenti’s story rings true to many females who might be silent about how they are being treated in the workplace. According to the official complaint, the “defendants’ unlawful retaliatory conduct constitutes malicious, willful and wanton violations of the City Human Rights Law for which the plaintiff is entitled to an award of punitive damages.”
If you think you are the victim of sexual harassment in New York, you are not alone. USAttorneys.com may provide you with valuable legal advice and a directory of legal professionals who may help you decide on the next step.