Texas residents who follow developments in the entertainment industry may know that Robert De Niro sued his film production company’s former vice president in August 2019. The lawsuit accused the woman, who worked for the Oscar-winning actor between 2008 and 2019, of embezzling company funds and spending hours each day streaming television shows instead of working. The woman struck back by initiating litigation of her own that accused the “Raging Bull” and “Casino” star of gender discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment.
De Niro claims that the woman resigned abruptly when details of her financial malfeasance began to emerge. The actor’s lawsuit claims that his former executive bilked the company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by cashing in frequent flyer miles and using a corporate credit card to pay her personal expenses. The actor is seeking damages of approximately $6 million. The alleged criminal activity was discovered during an audit that was ordered shortly after the woman’s resignation.
The woman’s employment discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit seeks $12 million in damages. She denies De Niro’s allegations and claims that the actor ordered her to perform menial and stereotypically female tasks during her 11 years of service. She also accuses the actor of denying her overtime pay and paying her less than the production company’s male executives. De Niro allegedly told her that men should earn more because they are breadwinners.
Attorneys with employment law experience have likely encountered situations where workers and employers provide very different accounts of the events in question. This is why attorneys may encourage employees who are being treated unfairly to keep detailed records and gather as much evidence as they can. Allegations that are backed up by documents, witness testimony or audio or video recordings are more likely to be believed in court, and this kind of evidence may also encourage employers to settle discrimination cases discretely at the negotiating table.