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.
The Queens, New York jury found that that Flushing Hospital’s management ignored Bianco’s complaints even though Miller had a record of sexually harassing hospital staffers. In 2001, Miller escalated his sexual harassment by chasing her through the hospital’s hallways, finally cornering her and groping her below the waist.
The jury’s verdict sends a message to employers that they cannot ignore employee complaints of sexual harassment . Here, Bianco complained repeatedly and nothing was done to cause the conduct to cease. As a result, both the hospital and Miller will have to share in paying the $15 million award.