Wigdor LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Elaine Gutierrez, a former accounts payable manager and assistant to Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, New York’s so called ‘Taxi King’ who is believed to own nearly 900 New York City yellow cab medallions, alleging months of sexual harassment, and subsequent unlawful and retaliatory termination after she demanded that his behavior stop.
As alleged in the Complaint, Ms. Gutierrez joined Mr. Freidman’s company, Taxi Club Management, in September 2015, and within just six months received a raise, exemplifying her outstanding performance. This recognition, however, was marred by the constant barrage of sexually harassing comments and other demeaning behavior Ms. Gutierrez was subjected to by Mr. Freidman, which included Freidman’s frequent comments about Ms. Gutierrez’s breasts and appearance (both in private and in front of colleagues), such as “Oh, your big boobs,” and “Did you see her boobs?”, incessant unwanted sexual advances (“I know you want me,” “You know you like it,” and “She says ‘no’ but we know what ‘no’ means”), sexual and gender-based harassment over email (“My bottom bitch,” “U so hot” and “I luv u!”) and attempts to use thin excuses to call her into meetings with him just so he could ogle and stare at her (“If I tell you to come [to a meeting], so what if it’s just because I want to look at you?”).
As alleged in the Complaint, Ms. Gutierrez made frequent complaints to the Taxi Club Management’s Chief Financial Officer Andrea Dumitru Parcalaboiu, but rather than come to her assistance, Ms. Parcalaboiu told Ms. Gutierrez, “you get paid, so just deal with it,” and “if you don’t like it, then leave,” leaving Ms. Gutierrez with nowhere to turn to for help.
The Complaint further alleges that Mr. Freidman’s relentless harassment came to a head on August 12, 2016, during a meeting in which his sexually harassing conduct towards Ms. Gutierrez was even more heinous than usual, when Ms. Gutierrez forcefully objected to Freidman’s behavior and warned him that, “You call me fat, always talk about my boobs, but you need to stop,” and that “Everything [is] in writing.” The Complaint alleges that, within mere days, Ms. Gutierrez was abruptly terminated for “asking too many questions,’ a clear reference to her continued complaints.
Wigdor LLP Senior Associate Tanvir Rahman has said of the harassment: “No employer, not even the so-called taxi king, can be permitted to get away with terrorizing female employees with sexual harassment.”