A former paralegal of Philadelphia plaintiffs firm Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman is suing that firm for sexual harassment, alleging that she encountered a number of unwelcome sexual comments during her two months working there.
Kimberly Hayes filed a complaint March 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging Title VII and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act violations by Silvers Langsam, which markets itself as MyPhillyLawyer online and in advertising.
Hayes worked at the firm as a paralegal from Jan. 8, 2018, to March 8, 2018, the complaint said. Her complaint listed eight alleged instances of “sexually harassing comments” she encountered during that time, but noted that the harassment was not limited to those instances.
The complaint alleged several instances of harassment by one lawyer at the firm, Frank Breitman, including “Breitman telling plaintiff that her ‘boobs look good,’” and “touching her behind on a weekly basis.”
Breitman did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Another lawyer at the firm asked Hayes, “‘How are you a white girl, you have a big black booty?’” the complaint alleged.
Hayes also alleged that the firm’s office manager told her to wear lower cut tops, and that an IT professional said, “‘Look at her, she has a nice ass.’”
According to the complaint, Hayes informed the head paralegal in February 2018 that she was uncomfortable with the advances and comments. In response, Hayes alleged, the head paralegal said Hayes “would get used to it.”
In March, Hayes’ desk was moved to a more visible location in the office, the complaint said. Hayes alleged that in response to that move, firm managing partner Dean Weitzman said, “That’s what I like to see, now I have something sexy to look at.”
Weitzman also did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Soon afterward, Hayes took a vacation, the complaint said. When she arrived back at the firm she was told she had been terminated from her position. According to the complaint, a letter from the firm said she was fired for misrepresenting her interest in the property where she lives.
Hayes filed claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and she was issued a right-to-sue letter in February.
She is seeking compensatory and noncompensatory damages including front pay and back pay, punitive damages and emotional pain and suffering.
Marisa Hermanovich and Kevin Costello of Costello & Mains are representing Hayes. Costello said, “We look forward to the litigation process and taking the matter to trial.”