A woman was fired as a receptionist for a Plainview foreign car dealership because she resisted a salesman’s sexual advances, her lawsuit says.
Llyra Chambers, 21, of Westbury, said in her suit filed Thursday in Manhattan that a longtime salesman and manager at Ferrari-Maserati of Long Island made the advances, including offering to pay for her to join him on a trip to Miami.
Elias Schwartz, the Great Neck attorney representing the Plainview dealership, said Chambers’ job termination in January of last year had nothing to do with sexual harassment.
“We did a thorough investigation based on the allegations she made after her termination and determined there is no basis for her claims,” Schwartz said. “She was terminated for reasons that had nothing to do with the allegations or interactions with a fellow employee who was neither her supervisor nor had any responsibility for her hiring or firing.”
Schwartz denied to say specifically why Chambers was let go from her job, saying employers are restricted legally about what they can say about employees.
Chambers said in the suit that Gianni Mercuri, the salesman and manager, in November 2014 left an envelope containing $1,200 on her desk, implying she join him on a weekend trip to Miami.
Mercuri told her, “This is $1,200 for a plane ticket for Miami and buy yourself something nice to wear,” according to the suit.
He also flirted with Chambers on a regular basis and made comments to her, including “You are beautiful” and “You’re looking sexy today.”
The suit says Chambers filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the agency sent her a right to sue letter in March.
Although she was appalled by Mercuri’s actions and immediately returned the envelope, calling his offer offensive and being “treated like an escort for pay,” Chambers did not report the incident for fear of losing her job, the suit said.
Later, she approached the company’s human resources department about “sexual harassment,” the suit said, but “to no avail.”
She was hired in September 2014 and fired in January 2015, even though she received positive feedback from customers and “satisfactorily performed” her job responsibilities, the suit said.
When she was fired supervisors at the dealership said it was because of “lack of experience,” the suit said.
Schwartz said Friday that Mercuri has been an employee for the present owners, Recovery Racing III llc, for about 10 years and was employed by the previous owners.
“The company has never received any complaints about him,” Schwartz said, calling him a model employee.
As for interaction between the two, Schwartz said it would have been inevitable.
“She was a receptionist and he is a salesperson, so there would have been daily interaction,” he said.
“But she had a desk in front of the store and his office is in back. And he had no daily supervision of her, none at all.”