Former Dean of New York University Real Estate Program Accused of Sexual Harassment

At administrator at New York University has accused the school of retaliation after she previously complained of sexual harassment by former Schack Institute Dean James Stuckey. The administrator, Stephanie Bonadio, alleges that the university did not honor a promotion she had received. She filed a lawsuit against the school in January, claiming salary wrongfully denied to her, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.

Bonadio reportedly received notice of her promotion in the spring of 2011. Her new position would be Director of Corporate and Executive Education at the Schack Institute, which would include an increase in salary to $98,000 a year. The Institute offers Master of Science degrees in several fields of real estate. While meeting to discuss her promotion over dinner, she alleges that Stuckey assaulted her by “forcibly plac[ing] her hand on his crotch” and more at a restaurant. She reported the incident to NYU’s human resources director on September 26.

On September 30, Bonadio says, she received several phone calls and a text messages from university officials informing her that Stuckey had resigned as dean for “health reasons.” The media would later report that he stepped down under pressure from administrators because of accusations of sexual harassment. At roughly the same time, Stuckey resigned from the presidency of the city’s Public Design Commission.

Reports surfaced that Stuckey had previous issues with accusations of sexual harassment. According to the New York Post, Stuckey had abruptly left his job with a major real estate development firm in 2007 amid multiple accusations of misconduct by female employees. The company’s CEO reportedly pushed him out and then assisted him in getting the dean position at NYU.

Meanwhile, university officials reportedly told Bonadio on October 6 that “her job no longer existed.” Furthermore, they told her that they did not have another position for her. A university spokesperson told the New York Daily News, however, that the university never fired her and that she still has a job there. Bonadio has not returned to work since September.

Bonadio’s lawsuit, filed on January 25, 2012 in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges three causes of action for violations of the New York City Human Rights Law and one cause of action for assault and battery, a civil tort claim. In addition to monetary damages, she is asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment holding that the acts of Stucket and the university violate the city’s human rights laws, as well as an injunction preventing future similar incidents. She also asks for an injunction that places her in the position she would have been in had the harassment and retaliation not occurred.

New York City’s Administrative Code contains broad protections for employees against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The New York City Commission on Human Rights investigates complaints on behalf of workers in the city. Sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination under civil rights laws. In addition to the city’s human rights law, state and federal laws also protect employees from hostile work environments, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

The New York sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent victims of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, fighting to protect their rights. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.

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New York Fashion Models Form Rights Group to Fight Sexual Harassment, New York Employment Attorney Blog, February 7, 2012
Sexual Harassment Suit Against Radio Station Describes Work Environment Similar to Television’s “Mad Men,” New York Employment Attorney Blog, January 19, 2012

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