Greenberg Freeman client prevails in employment discrimination arbitration.
Michael Freeman and Sanford Greenberg together achieved a hard-fought victory for a client that operates a well-known events and catering facility in New York City against a former maintenance employee who claimed that he was discriminated against in the workplace and wrongfully terminated. The former employee alleged that other members of the maintenance staff created a hostile work environment by calling him names suggesting that he was gay, even though he was not, and that several supervisors were aware of this situation, but did nothing to stop it. During a four day arbitration hearing conducted under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association, Messrs. Freeman and Greenberg presented evidence establishing that, although several members of the maintenance staff engaged in jokes, name-calling and other conduct that could be considered crude or offensive, the claimant was often seen laughing at the jokes and directing his own crude comments towards others on the maintenance staff. Observing that the anti-discrimination laws are not intended to be a “code of civility,” the arbitrator found that, while the conduct complained of could create a hostile work environment, the former employee’s willing participation in the conduct about which he complained undermined his contention that he was a victim of discrimination, and dismissed his claims in their entirety.