A former vice president of risk management for Long Island electronics retailer Systemax has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Central Islip N.Y. alleging sexual discrimination, harassment at work, and retaliatory firing.
Danielle Markou had worked as a high-level executive for five years out of the Port Washington office before being terminated in 2013. She alleges that her firing was as the result of her becoming pregnant.
Markou further alleges that she was paid less than her male counterpart and that her department was denied resources given freely to male-run departments. She also goes on to detail "sexual taunts" from her supervisors and that her complaints about unsafe products went ignored and unheeded.
These charges fall in with assertions that high-level executive leadership positions in many corporations are systemically denied to women. According to a recent CNNMoney analysis, only 14.2 percent of the top five leadership positions (including risk assessment leaders) at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women.
Systemax has found itself recently beleaguered—starting with the March conviction of former top level executives and brothers Carl Fiorentino and Gilbert Fiorentino for fraud. The brothers we accused and subsequently plead guilty to accepting millions in bribes and kickbacks from suppliers, ultimately costing Systemax at least $27 million in higher supply costs. Following the Fiorentino brothers conviction, Systemax's second quarter revenue fell nearly 4.5 percent. The cause cited was was low margins and the closures of 31 of the company's 34 retail stores, cutting affecting 1,500 of the company's 4,000 employees in North America.
The company has responded to Markou's claimed via their spokesman Michael Smargiassi who called her allegations "baseless." Smargiassi insists that company officials "categorically deny her claims," and look forward to disputing them in court.
If you feel you've been the victim of sexual discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact us at The Meyers Law Firm. Our employment discrimination lawyers will review your case and advise you how to proceed if legal action is needed.
The Meyers Law Firm did not provide representation in the aforementioned case.