Schenectady County

Schenectady County faces discrimination lawsuit; Former purchasing department employee files suit

Purchasing Department employee claims harassment
The Schenectady County Office Building
The Schenectady County Office Building

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY COUNTY — A former employee of the Schenectady County Purchasing Department has filled a federal lawsuit against the county, charging gender discrimination, a hostile work environment and wrongful termination.

Anthony Mayer of Troy worked as a purchasing and specification representative for the county from October 2017 until July 2019, working as a temporary appointment until his contract was not renewed. He claims his female supervisor treated him differently from female employees in the office.

The lawsuit was filed on April 15 in U.S. District Court in Albany. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Mayer charges that the county violated federal civil rights law and state human rights law because he was subject to “Gender discrimination by disparate treatment sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment, for wrongful termination, for failure to promote and for retaliation for reporting discrimination and/or opposing it.”

In the lawsuit, Mayer alleges that when hired he was the only employee in the county purchasing office assigned a desk that faced the wall, but his desk was later moved into “a very uncomfortable proximity” to that of his supervisor, who is not a named party in the lawsuit, and that the arrangement and proximity to her during meetings made him feel “demeaned, embarrassed and humiliated.”

The other three employees who reported to the supervisor were female, and Mayer contends he was treated differently because he was male, and that he was targeted further after another employee in the office made a complaint against the supervisor, invoking his name. Mayer was not given a permanent appointment in 2019 after the supervisor rated his work “unsatisfactory,” the lawsuit states.

Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner acknowledged the lawsuit, but noted that Mayer had earlier filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found no basis for action.

“The County Attorney’s Office was not involved in the decision to terminate Mr. Mayer,” Gardner said. “We take all charges of discrimination seriously, and we will investigate this further.”

While the federal courts are mostly closed as a response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the case has been listed for an initial conference in July.

Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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