A jury ruled against the plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against two NYPD officers. Although some of the jurors reportedly said that they believed the plaintiff, who was also a police officer, had some merit to her case, they did not believe the evidence supported her legal claims. The plaintiff endured a significant amount of ridicule and character assassination as a result of her report of harassing behavior, followed by her lawsuit.
The problems for Officer Veronica Schultz began with what might be called a wardrobe malfunction. According to the New York Daily News, Schultz performed an R&B song with a group of female officers for a police talent show in May 2007. During the performance, her pants accidentally fell down, revealing her undergarments. Several days later, she claimed, she found her supervisor at the 103rd Precinct in Queens, Sergeant James Briones, showing a video of the incident to about ten other officers. After that, she alleged that Briones routinely sexually harassed her by making lewd comments to her and showing her photos she considered inappropriate. He also allegedly asked her out several times and retaliated against her when she said no. Schultz organized youth sports programs for a group of children, and she claimed that Briones retaliated against her through those programs. He allegedly took away the police vehicle she used to take the children on field trips, then transferred her out of the youth officer position and into a regular patrol job. She claimed that Briones even threw a party to celebrate her departure from that unit.
Schultz complained about the alleged harassment and retaliation to her commanding officer, Deputy Chief Michael Blake, and to the NYPD’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO). She claimed that Blake ignored or dismissed her complaints. The OEEO reportedly informed her that it did not find evidence to support her allegations. Schultz filed a lawsuit against Briones and Blake in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn in June 2010. She claimed sexual harassment and unlawful retaliation against both defendants. She also claimed that Briones made inappropriate sexual comments to at least one person in the youth program, a fifteen year-old girl. Both defendants denied all of her allegations and accused her of fabricating the entire case.
During the trial in late August 2012, Schultz presented her allegations regarding Briones’ and Blake’s conduct towards her. She also alleged that Blake had a history of involvement with female subordinates, a charge he vehemently denied. Blake accused Schultz of lying and testified that she was “delusional.” Ultimately, the jury concluded that Schultz did not meet her burden of proving that the defendants violated federal laws prohibiting gender discrimination and retaliation. It entered a verdict for the defendants, and the court ordered that Schultz take nothing.
The lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent victims of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination in New York City and surrounding areas, fighting to protect their rights at the municipal, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.
More Blog Posts:
NYPD Officer Files $30M Lawsuit Accusing Supervisor of Sexual Harassment, New York Employment Attorney Blog, September 20, 2012
New York State Division of Human Rights Awards Damages to Two Queens Women in Sexual Harassment Claims, New York Employment Attorney Blog, August 23, 2012
Former Dean of New York University Real Estate Program Accused of Sexual Harassment, New York Employment Attorney Blog, February 28, 2012