In 1998, after being sued for racial and sexual harassment, Long Island-based brokerage firm Lew Lieberbaum & Co. paid $1.75 million for 17 victims of discrimination and for future claimants.
The EEOC had alleged that Lew Lieberbaum & Co. subjected its African-American and female employees to a racially and sexually hostile environment, paid them less than other employees, failed to promote them, retaliated against those employees who complained about the harassment and, in some instances, fired them.
The three women who filed the lawsuit were Deana Caliendo, a 21-year-old operations assistant; Kimberly Casper, a 26-year-old sales assistant; and Linette Cinelli, a 25-year-old trading assistant.
The managers named in the lawsuit were Mark Lew, chief executive and chairman; Leonard Neuhaus, chief financial officer; Brian Clendenin, president; Joseph Alagna Jr., executive vice president and national sales manager, Barry Rabkin, first vice president; Bernard Golembe, operations manager; Marc Rabkin, junior partner broker; Fred Dorushkin, junior partner broker, and Ronald Dorushkin, junior partner broker.
According to the New York Times, former receptionist Keiser L. Williams “said she became ‘sickened’ when Shelly Lieberbaum, a founder of the firm, told long, involved sexual and racial jokes and made racist comments.”
The NY Daily News mentioned the following allegations from the lawsuit:
Neuhaus once pulled the elastic waistband of Caliendo’s pants and looked to see if she was wearing a G-string.
Neuhaus pinched the skin on the back of Cinelli’s neck after she defied his order to take off her jacket. He pulled her hair almost daily and said she was tense because, “You’re probably not getting [sex] enough.”
Female employes were forced to witness at least two strip shows in the firm’s office, including one performance involving two women.
They also were forced to clean up after Neuhaus had a “whipped cream fight” in his office with his mistress.
Lew once told Cinelli, “If you meet me at a hotel this Friday, maybe you can keep your job.”
Male traders regularly called female employes “slut,” “whore” or worse.
Golembe once stared down Cinelli’s blouse and said, “Lean over a little more so I can get a better look.”
Company chief Lew hired unqualified pretty young women known as “wow-girls.”
Several male employes would make disgusting and sexual comments to and from the bathroom. Fred Dorushkin would leave the bathroom with his pants unzipped, announce he hadn’t washed his hands and wipe them on Casper and others.
Barry Rabkin once brought Cinelli into his office and said, “I just told everybody that you’re going to [perform a sex act] in here.”