Sexual Discrimination Complaint is No Laughing Matter

A former stage manager for the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” television show filed a sexual discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) alleging that he was demoted and later terminated from his job with the show because the late-night comedian preferred working with women.

Paul Tarascio of Oradell, NJ, filed the complaint against Fallon and the show’s producers alleging that the producers lied about Tarascio’s performance in order to remove him from his position and replace him with a woman. Tarascio alleged in the complaint that Fallon prefers to be directed by women and to work with female technicians only. (1)

Sexual or gender discrimination is no laughing matter. Last month a volunteer firefighter received a $15,000 settlement for her gender discrimination suit against the Clementon Fire and Rescue Company. The firefighter, Merrissa Garretson, alleged she was the victim of repeated derogatory comments from another firefighter. Garretson claimed that she was told an investigation of her complaint would be conducted, but instead her gear was taken from her locker and she was replaced on the fire truck by firefighters with less experience. In addition to the monetary settlement, members of the fire department were required to attend sexual harassment prevention training sessions. (2)

While the EEOC provides federal protection against sexual discrimination, the New Jersey Law of Discrimination (LAD) provides protection at the State level. The LAD protects against intentional discrimination, including conduct or statements discriminatory in nature, or differential treatment based on gender. (3)

Under the Law, employers may not sexual harass or permit sexual harassment of their employees. Earlier this year, the State Appeals Court expanded the Law to apply to business owners and their clients as well as to employers and their employees. This decision was the result of a complaint filed by the female owner of a Middlesex County tire distribution company against a branch manager from United Rentals North America Inc. That complaint alleged that the manager stopped doing business with the woman’s company after she refused sexual advances he made toward her. This decision extends protection against sexual discrimination to areas not previously explored. (4)

(1) http://www.nj.com/entertainment/celebrities/index.ssf/2010/07/jimmy_fallon_accused_of_sexual.html

(2) http://www.dailyrecord.com/fdcp/?1284317524030

(3) http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/factsheets/fact_sexhar.pdf

(4) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/state_court_overturns_decision.html