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Press Release 03-02-2023

Owners and Managers of Kingston Properties Pay $240,000 in Sex Harassment Settlement

New Property Owners Will Not Employ Managers Who Engaged in or Allowed Harassment

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Kingston Properties—a group of companies that developed, owned, and managed five affordable housing complexes in Kingston, New York—will pay $240,000 to five women to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Steve Aaron, the former owner and top management official of Kingston Properties, re­peatedly subjected female employees to crude sexual comments. He frequently yelled at his female employees and used obscene sexist epithets. The harassment also involved unwelcome physical contact and subjecting a female employee to pornography on a cell phone. Despite repeated objections by female employees, the conduct did not stop, causing several women to resign.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex, including subjecting employees a hostile work environment based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (EEOC v. Birchez Associates LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 19-cv-8110) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Employees have a right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “It is well past the day when employers can allow managers to engage in this type of conduct in the workplace."

During the lawsuit, a new owner purchased the properties. Under the decree, the new owner will not allow Steve Aaron or the top manager of the prior companies to be involved with their employees or in the management of the buildings.

EEOC New York Acting District Director Tim Riera said, “We are glad that the employees working at these companies no longer need to fear the kind of harassment that led to this lawsuit.”

The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

For more information on sex-based discrimination, please visit For more information on sexual harassment, please visit

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.