am a young attorney who has been working at a
law firm for over a year now. Last summer, my
supervisor made me meet him and a client for drinks
in the afternoon. I didn't want to go, but felt
that I had no choice, so I grabbed another person
from the office to go with me. They were very
drunk when we got there, and immediately started
talking about sex. My supervisor kept making references
to the client's sexual abilities and reminded
me that he was divorced. We left after an hour.
next day, I told people at work what had happened,
and my supervisor was yelled at by his partners.
They also told him never to do that to me again.
Despite this, he continued to make inappropriate
comments and sly remarks which I kept ignoring
for a while.
a month ago, the same supervisor asked me if I
was still engaged and if I would "date" the client
I had met last summer. I said no, but he persisted.
He asked why and I informed him that I did not
date clients. He said that the client was his
and not mine, therefore I should date him. Later
that week, I told some of my co-workers what had
happened, and it eventually got to the other partners.
One of the partners in the sexual harassment committee
asked me if I was making a formal complaint, but
fearing losing my job, I said it was more of a
warning. The next day my supervisor starts acting
weird with me and stops giving me assignments.
A few days later, I was fired with the excuse
that "I don't fit." I ask for written reasons,
but was told if it came to that then I wouldn't
get paid while I was still there.
been researching cases on sexual harassment and
have read about cases where the judged ruled against
sexual harassment in instances that clearly are.
Do I have enough to allege sexual harassment and/or
wrongful termination? What will this do to my
career, which has essentially just begun?
sorry to hear about your situation. Sadly, the
majority of the questions I receive at Ask Amy
would fall under the category of "job discrimination"--however
the majority of these stories/situations don't
have happy endings because there are too many
loop holes in the law -- for starters that federal
legislation, including sexual harassment, only
applies to companies with 50 or more employees.
case sounds solid, as one of grounds for sexual harassment is based on "quid pro quo"(do this
or that will happen)-- meaning go on a date or
you will lose your job -- and that's what happened
to you. You have to keep good documentation and
then, of course, you have to get a good attorney.
The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund has researched
these cases in the hopes that they will continue
to find precedent setting cases. Perhaps you want
to contact them to see where yours fits in, given
their best estimation. They are based in New York
City. You seem like you are well positioned to