Attorney Lindy Korn

Dec 22, 2013|

on the Gabryszak Sexual Harrasment allegations

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

The majority of what we will be looking at today accusations. Out earlier this week in court papers against Cheektowaga assembly Democrat. -- -- -- The allegations are they they range all over the place in court papers filed by three former employees of his they range from things like inappropriate comments to taking them out on dates all of these are charges but nonetheless a lot of the pressure is beginning to build right now. Both Governor Cuomo and the chairman of the Erie county Democratic Party have called for him to at least look at stepping aside if these are true. The up plaintiffs haven't really responded nor have there attorney other than to say. To New York State basically here we are these are charges we do plan on filing a lawsuit at some point down the road. And the paperwork earlier this week reserves the right to do that we have reached out to assemblyman devers Jackie has declined -- and several other requests from. A variety of media organizations across town we don't know where his head is right now in terms of sticking it out or perhaps looking at possibly quitting. We don't know what kind of legal offense he is mounting. But we're going to look at some of those issues today and I have to say right now by the way before the next two hours and done we're also going to talk a lot about the weather. Obviously this is a show that talks about political issues from time to time but I do want to be certain. That if there is the latest weather information get to you we will be doing that. A lot of that coming up in the 11 o'clock hour we're going to be going around town checking in at some of the places that have had a particularly rough time will be touching base with the National Weather Service. Will be hearing from Laporte mayor Michael Tucker there in a tough situation with a lot of -- and flooding. So you'll get your usual politics stuff but will be getting the weather in here as well as the day goes on. 8030930s. And number if you'd like to join the conversation and let's bring in attorney Wendy corn now she's. Attorney in here in the buffalo area that concentrates on civil rights cases specifics really with the sexual harassment and retaliation and the workplace. And we thought if there's anyone who has some expertise that'll help us understand at least some of the charges against. Assembly in -- Dennis -- actually is one who can help us do that. She's also someone can look at the broader issue and we'll be doing that is the program -- two develops today as well. 8030930. And number. -- Korn thanks for joining us this morning. And I'm glad you're here as you look at these charges and I'm guessing you're someone who has probably read the complaints they are online. We've got him -- WB and dot com they're certainly out there in the media. -- what is your reaction is this the format is this the way these things typically a full. First with a notice of claim and then with something down the road that that might be even more substantive. Well there are many ways to approach. That topic -- fired a legal. Ramifications. And this is certainly one of them. I I actually think it. It's helpful to have been noted and then proceed. Proceed from there many of these when you're dealing with sexual harassment retaliation. Usually eat these quite -- Actually. Because the issues of of blame and shame in our society and many times people proper almost equally from different print and pollute the opposite ends the spectrum. So -- to I would note it. Army. May indeed give them the chance to go to mediation. And perhaps without being very serious issues. You know in a private setting. Is it a matter of all cards on the table now or can we at least assume that the notice of claim doesn't play every single card. And future allegations in a courtroom could even be worse. I mean it is the quake -- Half two feet according that is plot the bull which -- -- -- -- equity meaning equally so normally a complaint would be. Very back the epic. And it would can't contain all of the allegations. That actually happened. So I think you see that in the complaint however. The content. -- And go to their meat and come out that have been different. Interpretation. Or background or the back at -- Other people will come forward and don't -- we don't know just from reading the complaint. Some of the things contained in the complaint speaker of both texts and videos. That I've got to believe is is the kind of concrete evidence. That carries some some pretty heavyweight in court now if if they can be reproduced at this point. Yeah. A Little -- and other people who may come forward may indeed have other type of social media. Evidence or. Video or. You know I mean we've seen -- with other politicians on YouTube then you know go on and on so. So the type of evidence which will be important because the -- kept out of the burden of proof at least. To what we called the prime location caked with charity initial elements I would take you -- Normally simply can't patent issues. -- I'm sorry your cell who broke up a little bit there the plaintiff faces issues of where. These -- not. Acts but it is something the potential to establishing respectful according. So they're they have to be of a sexual nature sounds like you're saying. Factual but unwelcome. Act if someone -- say apple I did you really you know you were consensual -- you'll agree. Pop -- and that kind of attitude. That played good -- which is why it is -- important. And I can't speak to that complaint but it is certainly Britain as a strong complaint. So how old Howell followed how would build. At reaching their weaknesses and their strength. And I certainly think that the actual. The actual invitation that actual act. Actual words or not -- he looked back go to create you know -- working by. Our actual -- Based on other cases that you've worked with and I understand now -- were moving into the role of a little bit of speculation but certainly some educated analysis as well. Based on other cases that you've seen. Is this a strong case is this one that is easily poke holes in or. Did they -- things down fairly well. Well all we know and I think it's really important to say we we don't have all the facts because that's always true at the initially but. The complaint which which of course would be complaint to story. On the appear throughout the strong to me how upper however it early in the day. Now one of the things you mentioned earlier is that there is there's certainly a burden of proof to prove that on their face these charges exists but also that they were on the want to. Is the common defense well -- she's she didn't seem to mind at the time. Gee this was something that I didn't think was making her uncomfortable because well we were together or or we are having fun there or. To what degree. Does the plaintiffs. Have to prove. That this was unwanted and how hard is it to do that as the defense that that to my mind would spring up automatically is something along lines of I didn't know what was uncomfortable it didn't seem uncomfortable to me she didn't mention it was uncomfortable. How big of a hurdle is that to get over in order to prove charges likeness. Well that rape is a pretty important. Issue and that is win and to the point at first. Rule about these acts and that -- very complicated area. It -- it waited. A year before. She complained about the acts that are are now subject of the complaint that will certainly be something that the defense will want to look into. It's played a complaint Wright and bay and there was no response. I see that after or at the that company or you know. Anybody one can't complain -- in their employment threatening that could be clear did not being. An and in that complaint I believe there are some some. Fact. Leave the complaint that there was no response. That in that very strong evidence that that that the victim the -- What -- -- -- complain wanted -- and app lead was abandoned. And and those kind of -- went to state complaint with the on the employer has the duty to prevent and correct promptly. Any any sexual harassment. And and any cop style work environments so -- your quest in -- I -- That complaint that was may you have to look at the employer have a book. What -- say you're there at 800 number you can call to complain. What you. However it's not that simple if you understand the psychology of people grab her and her being a brat. There is a psychological. Manipulation. That can make someone not able to complain right away. And that a lot not bleak take into consideration. In the sophisticated manner. But it is a problem. I knew we would get there sooner or later to me that is the crux probably have many of these cases. -- not in any position in my workplace to regularly. Criticize my boss and I don't mean that against him I just mean that that's the the nature of an employment situation. How often in sexual harassment cases do people not. Speak up or maybe not have the ability to speak up. I'm I'm not sure when you -- ability. To me because I deal with it. So often I have to tell you -- not a matter of worker -- -- thing is aren't they are options are their avenue for complaint. And and that and then a healthy employment. Reno would give. They're workers many different ways to complain. 800 number is an example a person can complain undertake here there. Or wherever they feel great. I'm there can be very hurt and there can be somebody outside the company -- -- -- -- -- and it -- be different locations. All of that is really important. To prevent -- kind of liability. But then what happens when you do -- it and going back to the ability. That I think you have to talk psychologists and psychiatrists and social worker in mental health counselor because. Somebody being sexually harassed. And is it is trying to bring formal complaint -- going to have a lot of struggle. I -- and a lot of -- year and so the ability to complain beyond the actual mechanism. Depend on the mental health. And that let a look at that meant that the plaintiff is experiencing. At the time and that company might want to complain. May actually be such emotional distress that they feel track. How crucial is it that a complaint is documented. I can and I can in these papers say yeah I talk to the boss the boss brushed aside. Need debt be documented in some way in order for us to proceed. Well every -- in my estimation. A -- that claim claim and complaint. Depends in some great degree on documentation. And so. They say that that include documentation documentation documentation and you mentioned social media that you mentioned. Picture. You know people have felt while they're they're a much more or we're much more able to report them with the kind of site that dark report. True flash is protect through Twitter and all that -- -- -- -- or documentation. Credible. Because otherwise I imagine it's just degrades very quickly into it he said she said kind of thing now. Well. Our. Eyes and so there is no. Picture will be very complicated very well. -- and no issue. -- wrapped in -- have some pretty kept it secret problem or not they're out their family accept their children. So there that are. Sort of -- Strap on the post traumatic stress disorder. I think that that I see in people that. Have. I'm learning and as though. -- the document and and create a perfect game in the middle. And something that is creating a great deal of armed. That the emotionally to you at the same time. All right attorney -- corners here she concentrates on civil rights especially sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace. We're talking to her in light of the charges this week against assemblyman Dennis -- -- When we come back after the break we're gonna look more broadly into sexual harassment cases in and around buffalo how often they happen we're talking today. About the allegations raised earlier this week against democratic assemblyman Dennis devers act attorney -- the corn is with us now. She represents a lot of people on civil rights cases concentrates often on sexual harassment. At least certainly these cases come to the the the forefront when it's a charge against a politician. I guess I have two questions how often do these kind of cases occur. And how often are they in the spotlight because there -- politician. I'm picturing an iceberg with a lot more under the surface. Well I tell you that I may disagree with your premise. We may -- But before the break -- we are saying. That in some cases I guess. This rises to public attention when it's a politician. But you were saying that there is a lot of other cases out there that are perhaps just -- bad that we don't notice. Well I think it about sexual harassment is about power in the abusive power. So if you have an employment -- industry or focus that has been gender usually they have been mailed. On at the head of the home or female that they had at their home because sexual harassment can be. Done by by any person and adopt the same sex. Sexual harassment I mean it's a huge area. But what I'm trying to -- you with if you look at it and the terms of the land of power and the abuse of -- Almost as if the type of work being done is it relative. There has to be the imbalance of power in order for the sexual harassment took -- Well it can be pretty ill or are a parent to what I mean by that is the victim needs to believe. That the perpetrators have the power. To what could be a title that it. Truly. Powerful but but it's being used as. And as a as a powerful as a manipulation. And it ended that works that's enough but. It usually yet. Usually it is power and the abuse of power which goes back to why sometimes that so difficult for someone to complain. Someone we need their paychecks someone that. You know. Is worried about you know making the complaint for many reasons and -- court though in in that government. We are having a morning I'm not sure exactly what happened with the telephones they just suddenly went blank tennis there. Let's bring Lindy back in and pray that the phones cooperate for us. Lindy we lost you in mid sentence before this and I do apologize. You were saying that there are a lot of cases out there where where the imbalance of power. Means we've got to discuss this a little further explained. Yes I am. I I think that if you look at industries which have been traditionally. One gender or not there. Doing the work where gender specific for him to -- adult female all -- some time. Those those gender issue. Make it right for sexual harassment. Because it's always been. In a certain way out but that of course that's not always the case but -- -- -- sometime back but not their act that are. How many cases like this do you take to court in a year. Well but not an easy question to answer I would say to that. I would say to that 50% of the cases that are. Sexual harassment and make BP curiously mixed in with gender discrimination and retaliation. Many of them at some point straddle. I'm does that mean that they may be in court. But they're they're several happened and ultimately the court goes to a trial or somewhere along the line. There is a willingness. To settle that may be on that actually may be a common interest for all parties. Give me a sense of the size of this universe though OK some of them settled in court. Com how much of this is out there. Well into what I -- One of the areas I focus on I would tell you that I would tell you that. We have a hundred workplace is just to take. To give them an -- number they are all I would tell you that sixty I'll be a hundred probably have a sexual harassment issue. Seriously the so day give or take 60%. You're talking to I'm not a statistician I don't know approach to back it stop telling you on the work that I do it. And I go out of what you see. While. That's a much larger number than I think people would've thought. Well the thing is that. Those are the people they know that calmed me so I'm seeing perhaps more than other people are just reading about it or thinking you know. It's some other contact. But that the point is that power manipulation. It. On a daily basis with you know for many people when it takes a form of sexual harassment. It is. It is something that makes the work place. -- dial M -- All right I'm so glad you'll spend time with us this morning especially persevering through components used in the -- thanks for being here. Thank you very much.