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WALKER v. WEIGHT WATCHERS INT'L

March 13, 1997

LINDA WALKER, Plaintiff, against WEIGHT WATCHERS INTERNATIONAL and PIERRE LILAVOIS, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT

 PLATT, District Judge.

 BACKGROUND

 Weight Watchers hired LINDA WALKER in August 1994 as a data entry clerk. Lilavois was Walker's immediate supervisor from August 1994 until September 1995. Walker alleges that in December 1994 Lilavois sexually harassed her at a Christmas party held for Weight Watchers' employees. She avers that Lilavois continued to make unwanted advances and on many occasions detained plaintiff against her will both in his office, where he touched her breasts, hips, and other body parts, and outside his office on Weight Watchers' premises. Plaintiff contends she consistently rejected Lilavois' advances.

 In March 1995, plaintiff filed internal sexual harassment charges against Lilavois. Plaintiff alleges that Weight Watchers organized a meeting to discuss her charges and that Lilavois admitted to inappropriately touching Walker and asking her out on romantic dates. However, according to Walker, Weight Watchers failed to take any action to correct the situation. Rather, Weight Watchers and Lilavois allegedly initiated a course of retribution and retaliation against Walker which included assignment of physical labor not within her normal job responsibilities, unjustifiable refusal of vacation and personal days, poor performance evaluations which did not accurately reflect her work, and subjection to closer scrutiny than the rest of her co-workers.

 On July 6, 1995, Walker filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Human Rights ("SDHR"). SDHR forwarded Walker's complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), which issued Walker a right to sue letter on July 6, 1996. Walker timely filed her Complaint in this action.

 Walker's Complaint alleges that the defendants violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000-e et seq., and New York's Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296. The Complaint also sets forth the following common law tort claims: (1) assault and battery, (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (3) false imprisonment, and (4) slander and negligence.

 DISCUSSION

 In determining whether plaintiff has set forth a claim upon which relief may be granted under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept her factual allegations as true, Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 283, 92 L. Ed. 2d 209, 106 S. Ct. 2932 (1986), and construe all allegations in her favor. La Bounty v. Adler, 933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir. 1991).

 A. Worker's Compensation & Respondeat Superior

 1. Intentional Tort Claim

 Defendants argue that plaintiff's intentional tort claims should be dismissed on the grounds that they are preempted by the Workers' Compensation Law or, alternatively, that Weight Watchers is not responsible for Lilavois' acts because he was not acting within the scope of his employment.


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