In what is being referred to as the largest verdict for an individual case of sexual harassment in New York, a Queens County jury awarded $15 million to a nurse, Janet Bianco, who claimed that a physician, Dr. Matthew Miller, sexually harassed her over an 8 year period. According to the lawsuit, Bianco complained repeatedly to supervisors at Flushing Hospital concerning Miller’s actions, which began in 1993 and ended in 2001.
Under federal law, an employee who seeks to hold an employer liable for a hostile work environment, based upon sex, race, age, national origin, or other protected category, is generally required to show that the hostile work environment or harassment is “severe or pervasive.” Until recently, courts interpreting New York State and New York City anti-discrimination statutes have assumed that the standards for proving harassment under those laws were similar to federal law.
Mauricia Grant, a former employee of NASCAR, filed suit alleging 23 specific instances of sexual harassment, as well as 34 instances of racial and sexual discrimination.
According to Grant, she complained to her supervisors of the discriminatory treatment on multiple occasions, but her complaints were ignored. She alleges in her complaint that her supervisor even participated in the discriminatory conduct. At a press conference, Brian France, NASCAR’s CEO, faulted Grant for allegedly not following internal harassment complaint procedures.
The civil action seeks $225 million in damages.