FXCM claims ex-IT employee accusing it of harassment was not treated less well than others

Maria Nikolova

If Alon Nachmany is entitled to any compensatory damages, he is only entitled to damages for no more than “garden variety” emotional distress, FXCM argues.

About a month after former FXCM Inc employee Alon Nachmany filed an amended complaint against his former employer, the defendants in the case have replied to the plaintiff’s allegations.

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.

Nachmany alleges, inter alia, that he was subjected to sexual harassment, for instance, via a practice known as “Bieber”-ing, derogatory comments, and insults. Nachmany claims that the female employees at FXCM were considered as un-fire-able and were not subjected to the same treatment as male employees. The sexual harassment was accompanied by religious discrimination, the plaintiff says.

In a document filed with the New York Southern District Court on March 9, 2020, the defendants deny each and every allegation contained in the Prayer for Relief as to all Causes of Action in the Amended Complaint, and further deny that the plaintiff is entitled to any relief whatsoever in this action.

Let’s take a look at some of the affirmative defenses enlisted by the brokerage (which is currently known as Global Brokerage), Ryan Leonard and Seth Lyons.

According to the defendants, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Several of the affirmative defenses are formal and state that the plaintiff’s claims are barred as untimely and/or for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Further, according to the defendants, the plaintiff’s purported causes of action for national origin and religion discrimination are barred because at all relevant times the defendants’ actions with respect to the plaintiff were “taken in the legitimate exercise of managerial discretion and were based on legitimate, non-discriminatory, and non-retaliatory reasons”. The brokerage does not elaborate what managerial discretion has prompted posting x-rated images on one’s desktop.

The defendants insist that all alleged conduct by the defendants with respect to the plaintiff was justified.

Also, the defendants argue that the purported causes of action for sexual harassment under Title VII and the NYSHRL are barred because their alleged conduct with respect to Nachmany “was not severe or pervasive”.

In addition, the defendants claim they did not treat Nachmany less well than other employees. (This, of course, raises a question of what constitutes “treating well”, according to the defendant.)

Further, the defendants claim that their alleged conduct with respect to Nachmany was not based on sex.

“To the extent Plaintiff is entitled to any compensatory damages for emotional distress, he is only entitled to damages for no more than “garden variety” emotional distress”, the defendants say.

Nachmany’s claims are “frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation”, according to the defendants.

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