Citing rampant sexual harassment at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, attorney Rick Ostrove, of Leeds Brown Law, has filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court and a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights. The lawsuit documents widespread incidents of sexual references, sexist jokes and comments, and the spreading of false rumors alleging improper sexual liaisons by female officers.
Ostrove represents Deputy Sheriff Alicia Boudouris, a 45-year-old female deputy who works with the Department of Social Services to locate assets in child support arrearage cases.
“The county has fostered an environment where people think this behavior is acceptable,” said Ostrove. “My client is an excellent deputy who has performed her job admirably. She should not have to be disrespected on the job.”
Referring to the atmosphere in the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department as akin to a “frat house mentality,” Ostrove enumerated the litany of unwelcome sexual references to which Boudouris was subjected, such as:
The complaint filed by Ostrove says that a male supervisor in her unit spread a false rumor that she was sleeping with another officer in the Department, and also falsely told others in the department that she had faked overtime records. When Boudouris confronted the offenders about the harassment, she was told that she either needed to “make friends with the guys,” or quit, if she thought the actions were offensive.
Boudoris says that male officers, including a unit commander, made no attempt whatsoever to hide their actions, that the harassment took place openly within the unit, located in the basement of family court.
“It is outrageous that…this can occur at all, let alone in a governmental agency,” Ostrove said of the behaviors of Nassau County Sheriff’s Department personnel. “It’s time the county starts taking sexual harassment seriously.”