A jury in New York City has awarded Raymond Rosas, a former restaurant supply truck driver, $2.2 million after he accused his former bosses at Balter Sales Co. of extreme sexual and racial harassment.
Rosas claimed his boss, Barry Rosenberg, would draw “a picture of a penis” on his paychecks, “would repeatedly try and grab Rosas’s buttocks,” and would frequently try to lick Rosas's face. Rosas reportedly asked Rosenberg to stop harassing him, but it only made his situation worse, according to the New York Daily News.
The verdict, reached last week, still needs to be approved by a federal judge.
Rosas's lawsuit claimed his supervisor, Mark Balter, wasn't sympathetic and regularly talked down to minority drivers. Balter, according to court filings, said to Rosas, “What is it with you guys ... you must have a Latin attitude.”
When Rosas complained about Balter's way of communicating with minority drivers in 2011, he claimed Balter told him, “I can’t believe the way things are going in the recession that you can tell me that you think I am talking [offensively]."
Balter fired Rosas in January 2012, and Rosas soon filed his lawsuit. Balter filed a countersuit against Rosas in 2013, alleging that the former employee stole boxes of restaurant equipment worth $700. Balter filed a police report, and Rosas was given a desk appearance ticket, but those charges were dropped. Rosas said the company fired him and filed the report as retribution for speaking up about the harassment. The jury agreed with Rosas and dismissed the countersuit.
“The jury was absolutely right,” Rosas’s lawyer, Derek Smith, told the Daily News. “The jury was angered at the way Mark Balter treated his employee.” Rosenberg's attorney told the paper he wouldn't comment until after the judge approved the verdict.
It was not immediately clear if either Rosas or Rosenberg is gay and no indication their sexual orientation was relevant to the alleged harassment.