A Staten Island Ferry assistant captain has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging she experienced sexual harassment and discrimination during her employment. As reported by the Staten Island Advance, Assistant Captain Kristen Andoos filed a lawsuit against the “Department of Transportation; the city; the Staten Island Ferry; James Desimone, chief operations officer of the ferry; John Garvey, director of operations at the ferry; and Earle Ferenczy, the ferry captain.” According to her lawyer, the circumstances of Andoos’s case shines a light on an institutional problem and culture that “not only turns a blind eye to discrimination but encourages discrimination and serves as an obstacle to the advancement of women in the workplace.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination because of sex. Sex discrimination can occur when an employer considers sex or gender when making an employment-related decision. Some examples of this may be:
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and usually occurs in one of these ways:
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an employee for complaining about sexual harassment or trying to put a stop to it.
The New York Post reports that in her complaint Andoos alleges that the sexual harassment occurred over the course of a few years during 2011-2016. Andoos reported to her supervisors and eventually the police that Captain Ferenczy was making “unwanted sexual advances” that made her feel threatened. Although the alleged harasser was told to stay away from her, he did not. According to Andoos after making additional complaints about Ferenczy’s behavior, she received notice that she was being transferred to a different ship. Andoos, after expressing concerns about running into Ferenczy claims that her supervisor “mocked her” and said Ferenczy “was not the boogeyman…he does not have weapons.” This response did not show her the support she wanted.
The supposed sexual harassment of Andoos went on for quite some time, during which she was seeking a promotion to Captain. Her boss resisted her inquiries about advancing her career and allegedly made discriminatory comments about women becoming captains. Andoos claims a supervisor told her “you can’t stand up to the men” when she made repeated inquiries about a promotion. The lawsuit alleges that, beginning in 2013, eight males with less experience than Andoos received promotions to the position of Capitan.
Andoos claims that, although fully qualified to be captain since 2010, she did not get a promotion because she is a woman and because of her complaints against Ferenczy. Sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and unlawful retaliation are all part of this lawsuit’s allegations.
Time will tell how the DOT and other defendants respond to the complaint and thorough investigation will determine whether or not the allegations are true. If so, Assistant Captain Andoos may be entitled to receive that promotion in addition to significant monetary compensation.
If you work in New York City, Long Island or one of the surrounding counties, and have experienced sexual harassment or sex discrimination in the workplace, contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C. for a free case evaluation. We can help you to determine if your employer has violated your rights to work in a safe environment that treats people equally. You may be entitled to file a claim for sex discrimination, sexual harassment or unlawful retaliation, which often all go together.
Call New York’s experienced employment law attorneys at 1-800-585-4658 for more information.