New York, NY– An organization meant to empower women in the workplace is now facing allegations that one of their former managers sexually harassed female staff members and their employer violated New York Labor law by docking their pay checks.
The four women– Lisa DeLisi, Crystal Alexander, Monique McCabe and Anika Cosbert– who worked for the National Association for Professional Women filed their formal complaint September 25th naming the organization and former manager Krissy L. DeMonte in their suit, the New York Times reported.
The women allege that DeMonte “regularly pinched and grabbed their buttocks” and called them “vulgar names,” according to the Times. Demonte called them names such as “vixen,” “cutie,” and “hottie” along with “bitch,” “a**hole” and “dirtbag,” according to a July complaint from the plaintiffs.
The women said that once they complained they were forced to resign because of the hostile working environment or were fired.
This is the second sexual harassment suit filed against the organization over this year. In January, another employee for the organization Rose Costantino filed a suit which stated that DeMonte would frequently approached her when she was sitting at her desk and would rub her back and shoulders and would her hands fall “to touch, rub and/or feel the top” of her breasts, the Times said.
The four plaintiffs also allege that their paychecks were docked if they showed up to work late more than three times in a quarter and if they failed to completely follow their sales scripts. This labor violation complaint was filed separately on behalf of 80 employees.
As for the sexual harassment claims, the National Association for Professional Women vehemently denies the allegations, stating that the plaintiffs were fired not for retaliation but because of poor performance and violations of the company’s policies. They also stated that one of the plaintiffs was herself cited for inappropriate conduct.
It should be noted that companies who are facing sexual harassment and retaliation suits often site an employee’s performance when defending themselves against such allegations.
In an Appeals Court case from April, a female employee for Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America Inc., a specialty brokerage firm alleged that her boss subjected her to repeated sexual harassment and because he cited her poor performance a lower court threw out her case. She took the case to the U.S. Appeals Court of the 2nd Circuit which concluded that an employee’s performance was not a justification for sexual harassment.
In court’s opinion stated, “Even a poorly performing employee is entitled to an environment free from sexual harassment.”
The Times also reported that the women’s organization said an independent investigation did not uncover any incidents of sexual harassment.
Proving sexual harassment can be difficult, since it is typically one person’s word against another’s, but it can be done if you enlist the help of a sexual harassment attorney. An attorney who practices employment law is more than capable of building a solid case that can help you get financial compensation.