Alexandra Marchuk recently sued her former law firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, and one of its partners, Juan Monteverde, for sexual harassment, alleging that she had been assaulted and subjected to a hostile workplace environment. Her case went to trial on January 12, and the jury reached a verdict on Thursday, February 5, after just a 24-hour deliberation.
The jury did not grant Marchuk’s request for $2 million in damages. Instead, jurors awarded her $90,000 in compensation and lost pay and $50,000 in punitive damages for employment discrimination. Notably, the jury did not award damages for emotional distress or discrimination under federal law.
Win, Lose or Draw?
Lawyers for each side quickly took to the media to declare victory. Defense attorneys claimed that the jury’s relatively small award reflected a lack of conviction in the plaintiff’s position. The plaintiff’s side, however, emphasized that the jury still dinged Faruqi & Faruqi for $140,000, all told, and found that discrimination did, indeed, occur at the law firm. Case observers also note that, although Faruqi & Faruqi escaped having to pay out millions of dollars in damages, the high profile harassment case has likely damaged the firm’s reputation and will likely negatively impact recruitment efforts, marketing, and client relations.
Marchuk and her legal advisor have said that they will consider appealing the verdict. They claim that several key pieces of evidence had been excluded from consideration and that other victims of harassment and discrimination at the firm have not been heard. Marchuk’s attorney seems determined to take the case through the appeals process to ensure that the court hears all relevant evidence.
Discrimination and harassment leave thousands of workers throughout New York City and beyond feeling voiceless and alone. Managers and other authority figures do not have the right to treat you unfairly.
Are you confused about your rights in the workplace? Call Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP right now at (212) 688-5640, or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org, to explore what you can do about an employer whom you suspect has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York Labor Laws (NYLL) or other labor laws.