To follow up on an earlier Gothamist post, a NY jury ordered Elite Modeling to pay an employee over $5 million in damages for providing a hostile environment. What kind of hostile environment? Were there crazy prima donna models and drugged out agents wiht ridiculous demands? Well, most likely but the hostility in this case was in the form of cigarette smoke.
The employee, Victoria Gallegos, was sued because "pervasive smoking in the agency's offices made her suffer 'frequent bouts of nausea,' left her 'coughing up blood' and gave her 'difficulties sleeping at night,'" claiming that her dismissal was due to her inability to work amongst the smoke. Elite owner John Casablancas testified that he fired her because of "her uncooperative attitude about learning her job responsibilities at the firm. "