Latina workers allege rampant harassment at Long Island Laundromat


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 2, 2012

CONTACT: Madeline Friedman, Coordinator for Media Relations, 212-739-7581, mfriedman@latinojustice.org.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Outten & Golden LLP today filed papers on behalf of Latina workers against a Long Island commercial laundromat, alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

The Motion for Leave to Intervene and Complaint in Intervention accuses Suffolk Laundry Services, Inc., and its owners Walter Sullivan II and Cathy Sullivan, of maintaining a hostile and discriminatory work environment where female laundry workers were sexually harassed by their supervisor.

The plaintiffs, seven female employees of Suffolk Laundry, allege that they were repeatedly subjected to unwanted touching and lewd comments while they worked. The plaintiffs also allege that the owners of the company retaliated against them for their objections to this treatment by reducing their work hours, giving them less favorable work assignments, and in some cases terminating them. The lawsuit alleges that Suffolk Laundry’s actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law.

“Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, and the law prohibits discrimination against all workers,” said LatinoJustice PRLDEF attorney and Skadden Fellow Elizabeth Joynes. “We want to ensure that the most vulnerable workers – including low-wage, female workers with limited English proficiency – understand their rights on the job and come forward when they are suffering from unlawful discrimination.”

Elizabeth Wagoner, of Outten & Golden LLP, said, “The plaintiffs and other women who work at Suffolk Laundry deserve a workplace free from discrimination. We look forward to working with the EEOC and LatinoJustice to end the unlawful sexual harassment at Suffolk Laundry.”

The defendants are Suffolk Laundry Services Inc., and its owners Walter Sullivan II and Cathy Sullivan. Suffolk Laundry Services is a commercial laundromat in Southampton, NY that provides linens and laundry services to hospitals, nursing homes, and restaurants.

The workers are represented by attorneys from LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Outten & Golden LLP and seek to intervene today in a lawsuit that was filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Suffolk Laundry on Monday, January 30, for the same illegal and discriminatory practices.

The case is “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Suffolk Laundry Services, Inc.,” Case No. 12 Civ. 409 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.

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