NYC Bank Fired Assistant After She Walked in on Boss Masturbating: Suit

A former assistant at a well-known New York City investment bank sued her previous employer on Tuesday, alleging she was wrongfully terminated in August after complaining about walking in on one of her bosses masturbating in the conference room.

Logan Williams, a former member of the United States Coast Guard, filed the suit against Marathon Capital in Manhattan federal court, claiming she endured a “discriminatory and sexually hostile work environment” during her one-year tenure. She claimed the firm’s CEO, Ted Brandt, threatened to fire her for speaking out against the mistreatment and is seeking damages and a jury trial.

“Contrary to Marathon’s carefully cultivated public image, the reality is that the firm is run as a ‘boys’ club’ where women are demeaned, marginalized, underpaid, under titled and subjected to egregious sexually inappropriate comments and conduct,” reads the 39-page lawsuit, obtained by The Daily Beast. “Unfortunately, Ms. Williams learned this almost as soon as she walked through the door.”

The lawsuit states that Williams immediately saw women face discrimination after she joined Marathon on July 9, 2020, as an administrative assistant. She claims she endured sexist and hostile behavior from bosses, including being constantly yelled at, forced to listen to personal details of her boss’s marriage, and told she would be given a “rough ride” if she applied for another position.

On one occasion amid the coronavirus pandemic, Williams said, she was told that “people who work from home get fired.”

“The conduct to which Ms. Williams was subjected was so hostile and anxiety-inducing that she began to suffer from extremely painful stress-induced stomach ulcers for which she received significant medical treatment,” the lawsuit states. “She was also prescribed anti-anxiety medication to help her handle the stress of the Marathon working environment.”

Two weeks into the job, Williams alleges she walked into a conference room to find the company’s former managing director and one of her supervisors, Chuck Hinckley, “masturbating at his computer.”

“Mr. Hinckley, who had a look of shock on his face, began to desperately attempt to push his penis back into his pants with his left hand. He was simultaneously moving his computer mouse with his right hand, apparently in an effort to close whatever was open (probably pornography) on his screen,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Williams left the room immediately, mortified.”

The lawsuit states that, after being caught, Hinckley didn’t apologize and insisted Williams sit next to him for over an hour to discuss work material.

Williams texted multiple people about what she had seen, including two managing directors who failed to report the incident, the lawsuit says. The next morning, she reported the incident internally but was told not to discuss the event, a “violation of the anti-discrimination laws as well as the National Labor Relations Act,” the suit continues.

In a statement provided for an internal investigation, Williams said Hinckley would make her share an office with him despite “ample space” in the office. She said he would tell her to “shut up” and once stated, “You sound like my wife.”

“No matter how hard I worked or how good I made Chuck look, he continued to treat me crudely, belittle me, make sexual remarks, take credit for my work, and scapegoat me,” Williams wrote in her Aug. 4 statement.

Williams claims Marathon’s leadership tried to intimidate her into silence after she made the statement. But, according to the lawsuit, she continued to email and text Marathon’s leadership demanding justice, including an Aug. 6 message to Brandt, where she stated: “Ted, the New York office is not Chuck’s sexual playground.”

“He can’t even keep his wiener out of his hands from 9 to 5. Is that so much to ask?” she texted Brandt two days later.

On Aug. 22, Williams texted the CEO again raising concerns about the integrity of his financial dealing and reiterating her complaints against Hinckley. The lawsuit states that, minutes after sending the messages, Williams received a call from someone claiming to be a New York City police officer.

The caller, who used a blocked phone number, told her to keep quiet or “something very bad will happen to you.” Williams instead reported the call to “literally every employee at Marathon,” which resulted in the firm cutting off her office email, remote access, and blocking her from the system.

On Aug. 24, Williams was fired for communicating with colleagues and violating a gag order as part of the bank’s internal investigation of the masturbating incident.

“As alleged in the Complaint, a hostile and discriminatory environment was fostered at Marathon, a company run entirely by men, because of its leaders’ willingness to look the other way and put profits over a safe work environment,” attorney Michael Willemin, who is representing the former assistant, told The Daily Beast in a statement. “No women should ever be subjected to the outrageous conduct Ms. Williams endured, and we look forward to vindicating her rights in federal court.”

In a statement to the New York Daily Mail, a Marathon spokesperson said “it is unfortunate that our former employee has resorted to making baseless allegations that are nothing more than a desperate attempt to extract an undue payment. Marathon Capital adheres to the highest standards of professional conduct and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Hinckley could not immediately be reached for comment.

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