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Assemblyman's "sexy elf" request leads to sexual harassment case


Dennis Gabryszak, a New York state assemblyman, is facing yet another sexual harassment lawsuit after a former staff member accused him of asking female staff members to wear sexy elf costumes. She alleged in her sexual harassment claim that he also made inappropriate comments about how she might look in the outfit.

The 43-year-old woman, who worked as a communications director for the assemblyman from 2008 to 2009, is the seventh person to file a sexual harassment claim against the 62-year-old assemblyman, according to a published report. Five former employees and one current staff member have already accused Gabryszak of fostering a hostile work environment.

Another incident was cited where the assemblyman took a former communications director to his apartment and suggested that she sunbathe topless on the roof. She was frequently asked to join his massages, which she said she declined. Other complainants echoed these allegations. They contended that besides massage invitations, Gabryszak frequently urged them to visit strip clubs as well.

The woman stated that she complained to the assemblyman and his chief of staff. However, instead of altering his behavior, the assemblyman reduced the employee's salary by half.

Sexual harassment is a serious workplace violation, as well as an affront to a person's civil rights. Besides the general uneasiness of having to endure daily harassment, victims can also be subject to retaliation or even lose their job. White Plains, New York employees in this particular situation should realize that the law is on their side and that they can file a claim against a workmate, superior or employer.

Source: New York Daily News, "New York politician Dennis Gabryszak sued again for alleged sexual harassment," Glenn Blain, Jan. 7, 2014

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