ALBANY — A former employee of a Rotterdam sports bar has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the bar’s owner and a former supervisor, alleging discrimination and sexual harassment.
The Law Office of Patrick Sorsby filed the complaint in federal court in Albany on April 18 on behalf of Janice Bruce. Named as plaintiffs are Recovery Sports Grill Rotterdam LLC; parent corporation BBL Hospitality LLC of Albany; assistant general manager Emilio Myrro; and general manager Chris Morreale.
An official at BBL did not return a call Tuesday seeking comment for this story.
Bruce is a Schenectady County resident who worked as a shift leader at Recovery from February 2011 to August 2017, according to the complaint, which alleges:
- Myrro harassed Bruce from the date she was hired in 2016 until August 2017 with explicit sexually suggestive comments, sexual advances and sexually sadistic requests, all unwelcome and unprovoked.
- Myrro has a history of discriminatory animus toward Recovery’s female employees, and they have complained to management.
- Bruce asked Myrro to stop.
- Morreale has allowed Myrro to sexually harass another female employee in a similar manner.
- Before harassing Bruce, Myrro harassed other female Recovery employees; upon being informed of this, management did nothing to prevent him from harassing additional female employees.
- Bruce reported Myrro’s actions to Morreale on or around June 12, 2017, but he ignored her, walked away, and took no corrective action.
- On or about June 19, Morreale told Bruce she would no longer be a shift leader, and Bruce received a disciplinary action for a purported argument with another employee, details of which were never provided to her.
- Morreale didn’t pay Bruce overtime for working in excess of 40 hours a week and didn’t let her take personal time off.
- Starting around June 19 and continuing through Aug. 10, Morreale steadily reduced Bruce’s work hours from at least 35 hours a week to about five while harassing, intimidating and berating her.
- From June 19 through Aug. 10, a similarly situated male employee was paid more per hour than Bruce, despite having less experience at Recovery.
- On or around Aug. 10, Bruce complained to three BBL managers, who responded but never met with her.
The complaint requests a jury trial and is seeking back pay, interest, fees and compensatory and punitive damages for Bruce.
It also asks that damages be awarded so as to maximize the sum Bruce receives, by awarding punitive damages under federal law and compensatory damages under state law, because under New York state law there is no cap on compensatory damages in sexual discrimination cases, but punitive damages are not recoverable.
Various courts in the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit have allowed such a split, Sorsby notes in the complaint.