Former FXCM employee details his claims about discrimination and harassment

Maria Nikolova

“I believe this perception of me as “less manly” was because I would not drink to excess during IT Department lunches or use recreational drugs both during and after the workday”, Alon Nachmany says.

When it comes to sexual discrimination and harassment at the workplace, it is the common perception that female employees are the victims, especially given the recent uprise of the MeToo movement. But this perception is not valid in all cases and the lawsuit brought by Alon Nachmany against his former employer FXCM Inc is an example of alleged discrimination of a male employee.

Let’s recall that Nachmany brings this lawsuit against his former employer, FXCM, Inc, and two of its employees, Ryan Leonard and Seth Lyons. During all relevant times, Seth Lyons worked at FXCM as a Senior Systems Engineer. At all relevant times in this matter, Ryan Leonard worked at FXCM as Director of Productions Engineering and subsequently Chief Information Officer.

Nachmany brought claims for employment discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin pursuant to Title VII, New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”), and New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), for sexual harassment pursuant to Title VII, NYSCHRL, and NYCRHRL, and for civil assault/battery.

As FinanceFeeds reported in January, Judge Deborah Batts of the New York Southern District Court has dismissed the bulk of the claims against the brokerage but allowed the plaintiff to amend certain of his claims against the company. In particular, the Court allowed the plaintiff to amend the sexual harassment claims (i.e. the sexual harassment claims other than the Title VII claims against Leonard and Lyons).

In a declaration and an amended complaint filed by Nachmany earlier in February 2020, he repleads the claims and provides more details on the workplace situation.

Mr Nachmany stresses that the staff in FXCM’s IT Department was primarily male during his tenure at the broker:

“As a Systems Engineer for FXCM in the IT Department, I worked with a primarily male workforce. Specifically, FXCM’s IT Department included only three female employees – Stephanie Mathless, Jeniffer Barrons, and Pema Mendoza, all of whom were supervised by Lyons and Leonard.”

Nachmany claims he was subjected to harassment while he worked at FXCM:

“On one occasion. Leonard took the opportunity to teach me a lesson about locking my computer by changing the background of my computer to a graphic, sexually-explicit image”.

The practice of changing an employee’s background image by Leonard was known as being “Bieber-ed”, named after the pop-singer Justin Bieber. However, the female employees in the IT Department were never “Bieber-ed” by Leonard, the plaintiff argues.

“Leonard “Bieber-ed” male employees in the IT Department in this sexually explicit manner on numerous occasions during my tenure at FXCM”, Nachmany says.

Mr Nachmany also claims that Leonard distorted images of him in a graphic and sexualized manner and sent those images to other male employees in FXCM’s IT Department:

“During my tenure at FXCM, no female employee at the IT Department ever had an image of them distorted in such a graphic and sexualized manner; however, other male employees in the IT Department suffered from the same treatment as I did with respect to altered images.”

Mr Nachmany also notes the different treatment of male and female employees:

“On numerous occasions, Leonard and Lyons openly discussed with the male employees in the IT Department that the female employees in the IT Department were “protected” and “un-fire-able” because Leonard and Lyons feared these females filing either internal or external complaints against them”.

“Additionally, I was viewed by Leonard and Lyons as “less manly” than the other male employees in the IT Department because I chose not to conform with their boorish behaviour in the workplace, as well as outside the workplace in social settings”, Mr Nachmany says in his Declaration.

“I believe this perception of me as less manly was because I would not drink to excess during IT Department lunches or use recreational drugs both during and after the workday,” Nachmany says.

According to Nachmany, taking problems to the HR Department was not an option for male employees:

“It must be noted that it was commonly known throughout FXCM and its IT Department that if a male employee filed a complaint with the Human Resources Department, he would be subjected to retaliatory actions”.

Let’s recall that, one week after a meeting between Eduard Yusupov, Leonard and Nachmany, on September 2, 2014, Nachmany’s employment contract with FXCM was terminated.

The case continues at the New York Southern District Court.

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