According to the New York Advocate, 23-year-old Priscilla Agosto has sued People’s Choice Realty in Brooklyn for subjecting her to sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and even death threats. Agosto worked for the real estate office for 14 months, during which time she allegedly encountered truly sickening types of abuse. Mickey Berlianshik, a co-owner of a company, allegedly offered to pay her $60 for oral sex “because all Puerto Rican girls are good at it.” Richard Berlianshik, another co-owner, supposedly groped her and “and exposed himself and urinated in front of her as she was cleaning a bathroom in the office. He would also show her photos of naked women, asking her to kiss the photographs.”
A third man at the company offered to pay Agosto $500 to watch him have sex with his girlfriend. Another employee scared her with a death threat, allegedly, saying that “He would get rid of anyone threatening the company, adding that he didn’t have a problem killing anyone.”
Not every case of New York City sexual harassment is as replete with graphic and scary allegations. But you might be surprised by how many heartrending stories are out there involving innocent young workers being subjected to horrific mistreatment, including discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour violations.
One question that readers might have is: if Agosto was so horribly mistreated, why didn’t she leave the firm earlier or seek help earlier?
This is a natural question to ask.
If human beings operated by a strictly rational calculus, Agosto’s behavior (staying at an office where she was being so horribly mistreated) wouldn’t make sense. But human beings are naturally socially conservative, in the sense that they try to avoid “making waves.” We seek to fit in whenever possible.
Victims also can grow inured to harassment and abuse. Had Agosto, on her first day of work, been groped or solicited for sex, chances are she would have run away screaming. But after she acclimated to the office, maybe it was more difficult for her to get help and escape the situation.
Fortunately, good resources abound, and you don’t have to fight this battle on your own. The compassionate, aggressive, very experienced team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum will help you and provide a free and confidential consultation. Explore more firm resources at www.jhllp.com, or call us any time at (212) 688-5640 to schedule a time to speak with us.