What relief is available is often the most important issue to workers in New York who have suffered harassment or discrimination. If you have experienced this type of treatment, the semantics and particularities of employment law litigation are probably not very important to you. What is important is how you can be made whole for what you have suffered.
There are several types of relief commonly available to victims of workplace discrimination or harassment:
Monetary compensation for lost wages, other economic damages and emotional harm
Injunctive relief ordering the employer to restore the plaintiff’s previous position or working conditions, or placement in the position the plaintiff rightfully should have received
Punitive damages in cases of particularly malicious or reckless conduct
In a fairly recent case brought by the EEOC on behalf of employees of KarenKim, Inc. grocery stores, the courts also provided a more novel form of relief — enjoining the harasser from entering the defendant’s grocery stores.
The case involved a string of incidents of both verbal and physical sexual harassment of female employees by a male employee at the defendant’s grocery store. The male employee was fired only after other employees repeatedly complained about his conduct. However, he continued to frequent the store as a contractor. Following a lawsuit by the EEOC, a federal jury found against KarenKim, awarding substantial compensatory and punitive damages to 10 female employees.
Following the verdict, the EEOC asked the court to enjoin KarenKim from rehiring the harasser or permitting him to enter its store for a period of at least 10 years. The trial judge refused to grant the request but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed, finding that the district court had abused its discretion by refusing the request for injunctive relief. While this is an especially egregious case, it does show that courts are serious about protecting employees from pervasive sexual harassment.
Posted in Harassment | Tagged employment discrimination, harassment at work, hostile work environment, sexual harassment