Sexual Harassment by Executive of NYCity Healthcare Co

A New York man has filed suit against his former employer and two of its executives, claiming “a disgusting pattern of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and illegal retaliation.” Coen v. Americare Certified Special Svcs., et al (“Coen“), No. 1:13-cv-05522, complaint at 1 (E.D.N.Y., Oct. 3, 2013). His complaint paints a lurid picture of the company’s chief operating officer (COO), describing him as “a pervert who used his position at Americare to harass and intimidate its employees.” Id. The court recently denied a defense motion to quash a subpoena served on an Atlantic City hotel, where the plaintiff claims much of the conduct described in the complaint occurred. The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $5 million.

The plaintiff began working for Americare, a Brooklyn-based home healthcare services agency, in early 2008. He claims that the COO “took a prurient interest in him,” id., and insisted that the plaintiff join him on regular trips to Atlantic City. The COO allegedly lived a “secret double life” there involving “gambling, illegal drugs, and sex.” Id. at 2. The plaintiff was allegedly expected to help the COO avoid discovery by accompanying him on his trips and hiring escorts for him. He further accuses the COO of sexually assaulting him while he was sleeping in a hotel room in August 2009.

The plaintiff claims that he finally told the COO he would no longer help him after two years at the company and that the COO immediately began retaliating by “berating him” in the office and “sabotaging” his relationships with his superiors. Id. The plaintiff reported everything to the chief executive officer (CEO) in June 2010, according to his complaint, and the CEO promised to investigate. He claims that the CEO instead allowed the retaliation to continue through demotions and loss of privileges. The plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in September 2010. The CEO terminated him the following December.

The EEOC released its conclusion in April 2013 that the company had discriminated against the plaintiff in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It issued a Notice of Right to Sue on August 6, 2013. The plaintiff’s lawsuit asserts gender discrimination claims against Americare and the COO under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). It also claims retaliation under all three statutes against the CEO, the COO, and Americare.

The defendants moved to quash a subpoena served by the plaintiff on the company that operates the Borgata Casino Hotel and Spa in Atlantic City, claiming that the subpoena was seeking “proprietary financial information” of the COO. Coen, mem. and order at 2 (Mar. 25, 2014). The plaintiff argued that the information was intended to corroborate allegations made in his complaint regarding the COO’s “double life.” The court denied the defendants’ motion, finding that the subpoena was limited to the period of the plaintiff’s employment from 2008 to 2010, sought information about himself as well as the COO, and met the general requirements for relevance.

The sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent workers in New York City and surrounding areas, advocating for their rights in claims of harassment, hostile work environments, and discrimination at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Contact us today online or at (866) 229-9441 to schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you.

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