Articles Posted in New York State Human Rights Law

Friedman & Houlding LLP represents a current employee of Southwestern Central School District (“Southwestern”) who complained multiple times to higher-ups about continuing sexual harassment from his coworker without any follow-up, according to the Charge he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Two different principals on two separate occasions failed to address the male teacher’s complaints of ongoing harassment, and instead flipped the duty on the employee to do what he (“Charging Party”) could to avoid further harm – seemingly a different standard from what would have been applied were the alleged perpetrator male and the victim female.

Southwestern Superintendent Maureen Donahue later admitted, after the harassment continued for well over a year after Charging Party first complained to his school principal, that the Southwestern “should’ve stopped this sooner,” according to our client’s Charge. The Charge raises the question of whether Southwestern would have acted sooner had the complaining teacher been female.

The harassment was well beyond verbal to the point that the harasser was stalking Charging Party both in and out of school. The harassing teacher’s unwanted attention manifested in constant, unwanted physical interference of the Charging Party’s day-to-day activities. As described in his Charge, the harasser relentlessly waylaid the Charging Party throughout the school building, even in his own classroom, with unwelcome presents of pussy willow, notes of love songs, cards, poems, and, on at least one occasion, a bottle of Obsession cologne.

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