An Erie County, New York Supreme Court Justice recently held that the disrespectful and unfair dispropriate treatment of a female shareholder based upon her gender in a closely held corporation constituted oppression. In re Matter of Diane M. Straka, Index No. 807308-2017 (citing, Bus. Law. §1104(a)-(1).
In that case, the Plaintiff, Ms. Straka (a 25% shareholder in a closely held New York corporation) was able to prove at trial that she was subjected to disrespectful treatment based upon her gender. The other three shareholders were men. The Court found among other things, that:
- When she first met one of the other shareholders, he asked Ms. Straka “…are you the one who makes the coffee;”
- One of the shareholder’s posted a cartoon on his door that was deeming to women;
- The Plaintiff stopped eating in the lunchroom because she was subjected to offensive comments; and,
- One of the male shareholder asked if he could sit in her lap.