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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20391
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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My name is ***** *****. I have a harassment claim I would

Customer Question

Customer: Hi Michelle, My name is ***** *****. I have a sexual harassment claim I would like to run through mediation but it dates back awhile so I'm wondering if anything can be done. It is a rather serious / high profile case though...
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: this is my write-up on it In May 2001, I graduated summa cum laude from Wharton and was recruited as an investment banking analyst at Citigroup, then Salomon Smith Barney. After receiving top marks in my finance and accounting exams during the IBD training program, I received my top pick for group placement - the Consumer Group in the Investment Banking Division. Shortly after I started there, I was staffed to work with one of the managing directors who worked with every single one of the first and second-year female analysts. When called into his office, he repeatedly made me feel uncomfortable. One such incident is when he asked me if I was cold, then said he intentionally keeps his office chilled to "get a rise out of us girls" while gesturing towards the chest area of my shirt. Needless to say, I was reluctant to go on a site visit to Ohio as part of due diligence for a deal we were working on shortly thereafter. But there were multiple team members going, so I felt I would be relatively safe there. After the first day's activities, this managing director told me there was a dinner we would all have to attend. When I arrived, I was seated at a table for two and learned it would be just the two of us. He made every attempt to create a romantic, unprofessional atmosphere, prying me with wine and champagne that I repeatedly refused. After dinner, I attempted to go my separate way in the hotel. He demanded that I go up to his hotel room to review the numbers for the next day's meetings. When I declined, he said he was telling me, not asking me. Upon arriving in his hotel room, he urged me to sit next to him on his couch and immediately turned on pay-per-view, scrolling through previews of pornographic movie choices. When I attempted to leave, he blocked the exit. Fortunately I had taken self defense courses and kneed him in the groin in order to flee the room. Upon arriving back in NYC, I was called into a senior female's office in my group where she chastised me for dressing provocatively on a site visit, saying that 'someone had brought this to her attention,' despite the fact that I had been wearing very conservative, masculine-looking Brooks Brothers pant suits the entire trip. I was completely humiliated and demoralized. Shortly thereafter, I was leaning forward in my cube to look at figures on my computer screen when the managing director passed by my cubicle and made the comment that he "loved the color purple." I assumed he was having a senior moment or losing his mind but did not think much of it until I went to the bathroom later that day and realized I had been wearing purple underwear, which must have been peeking out from my clothing at that moment. I went to HR and documented every one of these incidents, asking for his dismissal and making sure that I would be protected against his advances. They planned to speak to him and let him know that this behavior was inappropriate and he was to have no further contact with me while the incidents were being investigated. He then repeatedly went to my cubicle to try to talk to me and apologize, forcing me to leave the office on several occasions. Since others had the opportunity to hear him, several young female analysts came forward and told me that they had experienced similar issues with him and had told HR. When I went back to HR, they confirmed that there were a number of documented complaints against him dating back to the time before I ever started working in the group. Had I known this would be a possibility, I would never have selected Consumer as my first group choice. I assumed that he would be fired or laid off in the multiple rounds of RIFs that followed. This never happened. I was quietly demoted to an inferior position in another group, US Equity Research. However, I was on the 30th floor and he remained on the 32nd floor, using the same elevator bank and lasciviously smirking at me on a daily basis in the elevator lobby. While in the US Equity Research group, I assisted the deputy director there for years, during which time he was promoted to Head of US Equity Research. After years of mentoring me, he began to make unwelcome advances, calling me into his office and locking the door while attempting to grope me. I was very much discouraged to report this to HR so I opted to speak to the most senior female in US Equity Research, who said she would help me do something about it. Shortly thereafter, I was quietly transferred to Global Transaction Services and soon quietly left Citigroup in disgust. He not only remained at Citigroup for years but thrived there. Since leaving Citigroup, I ave been haunted by my cowardly decision to not pursue legal action. I believe that by not demanding compensation for damages, I am condoning this rampant inappropriate behavior. I often asked myself why these senior male employees would risk their careers for these indiscretions, and the answer is because they knew they would get away with it. And I would like to help put an end to this if I can.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information. Just for clarity, are you saying all of the sexually harassing behavior occurred in 2001? If not, when was the last act you consider harassing and what was it (briefly?) Also, I need to know what State you work in?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Everything occurred from 2001-2006 in New York, NY.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, although you may very well have had a legitimate sexual harassment/discrimination claim that could have been pursued through the State and the EEOC or the courts, the statute of limitations have run on your claims. There is a very short window for filing a sexual harassment/discrimination claim. The claim must first be filed with the State or the EEOC before there can be a lawsuit. The maximum window for filing those administrative claims is 300 days after the last alleged discriminatory act, which is the EEOC deadline. NYS deadline is shorter at 180 days. So, no need to discuss the SOL at the court level, which also passed, since the initial complaints were apparently not filed.

You might have arguably had other civil or criminal actions to pursue as well, if you were touched without your permission. However, for a civil action, the SOL would be 1 year and for a criminal action, no more than 5 years.

Regrettably, this is a situation that holds no legal recourse for you at this point. Certainly, if they are still engaged in this behavior, the employee could pursue their case.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you and Happy New Year.