Sawicka v. Catena – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Sawicka v. Catena, 79 AD3d 848, 912 N.Y.S.2d 666 [2d 2010], the defendants in Sawicka, consisting of the principal agent and owner of a plumbing company (Catena), and the plumbing company itself (Avanti), were found liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress and constructive discharge. Defendants appealed the jury verdict, and the Appellate Division Second Department affirmed the lower court's jury verdict.

In Sawicka, defendant Catena installed a video camera in the business' restroom, taping the plaintiffs' use of the restroom (Id. at 849, 667).

Plaintiffs in Sawicka were female employees. Similarly, plaintiffs in Sawicka commenced an action to recover damages, among other things, for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and constructive discharge (Id.)

The Court found that "the plaintiffs' claims that they were subjected to a hostile work environment, based on sex, which led to their constructive discharge, were supported by evidence that [defendant] deliberately made their working conditions so intolerable by installing a video camera in the restroom, that a reasonable person in their position would have felt compelled to resign" (Id. at 850, 668).