A Christie’s International Real Estate broker claims he was fired for rejecting the advances and sexual harassment of the firm’s business operations manager.
Regis Roumila, who joined the firm in August, filed a lawsuit against Sarine Atamian, claiming she repeatedly harassed him in the office and tried to use her authority to “put pressure on him.” Atamian is a business operations manager for Christie’s International Real Estate (CIRE) but represented herself as Roumila’s manager, according to the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court.
She allegedly tried to hug and kiss Roumila, would get unnecessarily close to him when speaking and would stare at him “all hours of the day” and comment on his face, clothes and hair. According to Roumila, he made clear that he was a married man and wasn’t interested in Atamian or any other woman.
Roumila states that he complained about Atamian’s behavior to a supervisor, Kathy Coumou — who is named as a defendant alongside Atamian and CIRE — and she acknowledged that Atamian’s behavior was a problem.
But on Dec. 10, Roumila was abruptly fired for unspecified “social interactions” that did not coincide with “Christie’s culture,” according to the lawsuit.
Representatives for the CIRE declined to comment. Through a CIRE spokesperson, Sarine and Coumou declined to comment.
Roumila alleges that he was discriminated against “based on his gender, marital status, family status, sexual preference and other civilly protected classifications.” He says he was treated differently because he’s a male and married, and that his supervisors only believed Atamian’s version of events.
He claims CIRE doesn’t have an anti-sexual harassment policy and effectively punished him for refusing to engage in “extramarital sexual behavior.”
In the lawsuit, Roumila said he procured listings worth at least $49 million and successfully closed on more than $2.8 million in sales in the four months that he was at CIRE. He’d previously worked at the Corcoran Group, after working at Nest Seekers for five years. In 2015, he was Nest Seekers’ No. 2 agent, behind Ryan Serhant.
The lawsuit also alleges that he is owed nearly $46,000 in outstanding commissions and has been cut off from communicating with 10 to 25 sellers, as well as 150 prospective clients.