Exotic Dancer Entitled to Default Judgment on Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Claims, Court Holds

In Quintero v. Angels of the World, Inc., 19-CV-6126, 2021 WL 4464123 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 2021), the court, inter alia, recommended that plaintiff – an exotic dancer – be awarded a default judgment on her claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment.

From the decision:

Plaintiff alleges that managers and promoters, all of whom who were male, and who “exercised managerial/supervisory authority over Entertainers,” “regularly targeted Entertainers with discriminatory, offensive, and sexually harassing behavior[,]” For example, they “regularly [used] offensive and demeaning gender-based language, including, inter alia, “stupid bitch,” “hoe,” and “whore” when speaking with the Entertainers. Plaintiff further alleges that managers and promoters “regularly and openly made flagrant, and offensive sexual advances towards Entertainers and Startenders, including unwanted sexual touching.” In this regard, conduct that plaintiff witnessed, even if it was directed towards others, supports a claim that she was subjected to a hostile work environment. See Kaytor v. Elec. Boat Corp., 609 F.3d 537, 547 (2d Cir. 2010) (“[A] plaintiff who herself experiences discriminatory harassment need not be the target of other instances of hostility in order for those incidents to support her claim.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

In addition, several promoters “directly demanded that [p]laintiff have sex with them[,]” including “[o]ne Promoter, known as ‘Strike Sinatra,’ [who] sexually harassed [p]laintiff on a regular basis by demanding sexual favors from her via phone and text message[,]” Defendant Stoupas also made sexually explicit comments and requests of plaintiff. The nature and frequency of the comments and conduct of the promoters and managers, as described in the pleading, were “severe or pervasive.” Based on the well-pled allegations in the Complaint, plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that her working conditions were such that a reasonable person would have found the abuse so severe and pervasive as to alter her working conditions. See, e.g., Tenecora, 2020 WL 8771256, at *10-11 (finding business owners’ repeated graphic sexual comments and propositioning of plaintiffs for sex-based hostile work environment); Gutierrez v. Taxi Club Mgmt., Inc., 17 Civ. 532 (AMD) (VMS), 2018 WL 3432786, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. June 25, 2018) (finding that supervisor’s persistent sexual comments and advances were sufficient to state a claim for sexual harassment), adopted, 2018 WL 3429903 (E.D.N.Y. July 16, 2018); Setty, 2018 WL 8415414, at *5 (finding that manager’s statements to plaintiff, such as “little cutie,” a “bitch” and “faggit [sic],” were “demeaning in nature [and] clearly contributed to the hostile work environment”); Cavalotti, 2018 WL 5456654, at *21 (co-worker’s “repeated sexual remarks and gestures toward [p]laintiff,” which were reported to CEO); Manswell, 2017 WL 9487194, at *6 (finding that supervisor’s comments about plaintiff’s appearance and clothing and aggressive and explicit requests that plaintiff engage in sexual relations with him created a hostile work environment); Rodriguez v. Express World Wide, LLC, No. 12 CV 4572(RJD)(RML), 2014 WL 1347369, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 16, 2014) (finding that CEO who instructed plaintiff to dress and act in a sexual manner while working, made numerous sexual advances to her, and indicated his intent to have a sexual relationship with her, created a hostile work environment), adopted, 2014 WL 1350350 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2014); Joseph v. HDMJ Rest., Inc., 970 F.Supp.2d 131, 145 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (finding that plaintiff established a hostile work environment when supervisor “constantly called [p]laintiff racially and sexually derogatory names and requested oral sex from [p]laintiff”).

Moreover, not only was the conduct at issue in this case objectively severe and pervasive, but plaintiff alleges that she subjectively perceived it as hostile and abusive.

[Cleaned up.]

Furthermore, since plaintiff adequately pled a hostile work environment claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law, she also did so under the comparatively broader New York City Human Rights Law.

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