Sandra Guzman gets ‘OK’ to pursue case against New York Post
Stephon Johnson | 11/14/2013, 3:28 p.m.
Four years after former New York Post Editor Sandra Guzman filed a sexual harassment and unlawful termination lawsuit against her former employer, she’ll see them in court.
Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan will have to appear in court to face charges. The court rejected his and the newspaper’s motion for dismissal while accepting the motion from News Corp., its parent company.
Attempts by the AmNews to contact Allan were unsuccessful. The trial is set to take place on Jan. 13, 2014.
“We’re certainly very pleased with the opinion, because now we have the opportunity to be heard,” said Douglas Wigdor of Thompson Wigdor LLP, the law firm that represents Guzman in the suit. “The Post and Col Allan need to be held accountable for their actions, and the case has taken a long time to where it is today. The length of time, however, has not deterred us in any shape or form.”
Guzman filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the Post, citing “discriminatory treatment, harassment and unlawful retaliations” based on her ethnicity and gender. She’s seeking monetary damages. When asked by the AmNews about the length of time between a trial date and the OK to continue, Wigdor said he wasn’t surprised because any big company would want to delay a trial of this nature as long as possible … or until the accuser gives up.
“In fairness to the Post, they’re not the only company that when faced with lawsuit would use that legal strategy where a delay would be to their advantage,” Wigdor said. “They’ve fought this thing toe-to-toe. Not only does it increase the costs and time spent on our side, but it also prolongs the inevitable.”
In the original documented complaint, Guzman said she was let go after she protested an infamous cartoon that depicted President Barack Obama as a monkey, which was the end of a long line of issues the Emmy Award-winning journalist had with the Post.
The complaint stated that the Post, along with News Corp., continued to “maintain, condone, tolerate, directly participate in and contribute to a hostile work environment against its female employees and employees of color.”
One story depicts Allan walking up to Guzman and a group of female employees after a night of sharing drinks and showing them a picture of a naked man on his Blackberry phone while asking them, “What do you think of this?” No investigation was undertaken despite Guzman’s complaints.
Allan is also accused of rubbing up against a female employee at a party and making sexually suggestive comments, “causing that female employee to feel extremely uncomfortable and fearing to be alone with him.”
Les Goodstein, vice president of News Corp., is also named in the suit and accused of making inappropriate comments to Guzman, calling her “sexy” and “beautiful,” and referring to her as “Cha Cha No. 1,” referencing her ethnicity. The suit also states that one of the male senior editors sexually propositioned a young female copy assistant, promising a permanent reporter job in exchange for sexual favors.
Guzman also alleges that a white male columnist repeatedly walked into her office singing songs from the musical “West Side Story,” emphasizing the line, “I want to live in America,” using a faux Spanish accent.
Wigdor praised Guzman for her endurance on the four-year wait to get the green light on her case.
“She’s been very patient, and there are times when months would go by and nothing would happen, and there would be times where everything would happen,” said Wigdor. “She has steadfastly stood by her allegations and accusations, and she is ecstatic that she now will be able to present her case and story in court.”