Former Pleasant Valley worker files harassment complaint

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PLEASANT VALLEY – A former employee of the Town of Pleasant Valley has filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights alleging that she was harassed by the town’s bookkeeper as well as the town supervisor, Mark Figliozzi.

The alleged victim had been an employee of the town until being terminated on September 4 of this year, just days after telling Figliozzi that her co-worker, the town’s bookkeeper, was creating a hostile work environment.

The complainant indicated that she was preparing an official complaint but was terminated before being able to submit the documents.  The termination took place in the town hall.

The former employee said Figliozzi asked her to submit a resignation.  The employee refused saying, “Why is that?  I’ve done nothing wrong.”  Figliozzi refused to provide a reason for the termination and instead asked the employee to turn over her town keys.  On the day of termination, the employee emailed her concerns and allegations to members of the town board.

Shortly after the termination, town board member Steve Latino, Esq. sent an email to the former employee claiming that the town would be hiring an outside vendor to investigate the claims raised.  Latino sent a second email, also on September 6 that said in part “I do ask that you please maintain confidentiality, and that you not speak about your allegations of the investigation with anyone who could compromise the investigation or its outcome.”  The alleged victim said that the second email was an “attempt to intimidate me for standing up.”

On September 16, more than two weeks after being fired, the claimant received yet another email from Latino advising that the town board had approved the hiring of Melinda Gordon, an arbitrator, to investigate the claims.  Latino asked that the claimant cooperate with the investigation.  The claimant refused and indicated that she felt that the inquiry would be biased in favor of the town. The town has not released the findings of the investigation that were requested by Mid-Hudson News and has not provided information regarding the cost associated with hiring Ms. Gordon.

The town also used the law firm of Sokoloff and Stern, LLP of Long Island to defend the Human Rights allegations.  On October 10 their response was submitted.  In the response, the town alleges that “this is a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”  The filed documents indicate that the claimant was terminated as a result of refusal to communicate, disrespect of colleagues and superiors, and anger issues.  The town is seeking to have the case dismissed.  The claimant has submitted a brief rebuttal that denies the allegations made by the town.  The former employee says that the reasoning given by the town is “more like a description of the town’s bookkeeper,” with whom she worked with.

Mid-Hudson News has learned that a current employee of the town has also filed a complaint against the town.  In that complaint, submitted on September 25th, the employee claims that the town bookkeeper has been harassing and treating him unfairly.  The complaint alleges that the bookkeeper made derogatory statements about the employee to his co-workers. The town has yet to respond to that complaint.

When asked about the Human Rights complaint, Supervisor Figliozzi replied via email saying “No comment as advised by counsel.”