Posts tagged with "harrassment"

Connecticut School Districts and Bullying: What Can Parents Do?

I was greeted one morning with a very unfortunate email.  The email concerned bullying in Westport, Connecticut Schools and included a heart-wrenching video of an 8th-grade girl claiming to be a victim of bullying in Westport schools. It is just not enough to feel sorry for this victim of bullying, we need to question the effectiveness of the current law and policies in place to avoid the tragic consequences that other towns have dealt with because their students were victims of bullying.

Connecticut General Statute Section 10-222d

I previously blogged about the revisions to Connecticut’s law against bullying in 2008.  Under Connecticut General Statute section 10-222d, the law requires “any overt acts by a student or group of students directed against another student with the intent to ridicule, harass, humiliate or intimidate the other student while on school grounds, at a school sponsored activity or on a school bus, which acts are committed more than once against any student during the school year.” In addition to definitional changes, the statute requires:

  1. teachers and other staff members who witness acts of bullying to make a written notification to school administrators;
  2. prohibits disciplinary actions based solely on the basis of an anonymous report of bullying;
  3. prevention strategies as well as intervention strategies;
  4. requires that parents of a student who commits verified acts of bullying or against whom such bullying occurred be notified by each school and be invited to attend at least one meeting;
  5. requires schools to annually report the number of verified acts of bullying to the State Department of Education (DOE);
  6. no later than February 1, 2009, boards must submit the bullying policies to the DOE;
  7. no later than July 1, 2009, boards must include their bullying policy in their school district’s publications of rules, procedures and standards of conduct for school and in all of its student handbooks, and
  8. effective July 1, 2009, boards must now provide in-service training for its teachers and administrators on prevention of bullying.
Westport’s Bullying Policy

Westport responded to the requirements of this statute with a comprehensive bullying policy which can be found on the school district’s website under the tab for parents, and then selecting policies.

Armed with Connecticut’s law and Westport’s policy, what should we do as parents, community members, and professionals?  I do not profess to have the answers but at a minimum, we should discuss this with our children, question the school administrators, and guide staff and teachers. Together we should challenge ourselves to make a difference using the channels available to us.  There are ways that we can help to effectuate change before it is too late.

If you know of a child affected by bullying, please act on their behalf.  Not every student will post a video to tell you this is happening. If the school is not addressing the bullying in a meaningful way to eradicate the conduct, legal redress is available and the courts will readily intervene.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by telephone in the Firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at Attorney Maya is a partner at Maya Murphy, P.C. Her practice is limited to Education Law and Trusts and Estates.

Secretary Sues Board of Ed for Racial Discrimination

A Bronx school employee is suing the Board of Education for $100 million for employment discrimination – saying she was denied a transfer, even though officials knew she was being harassed by her boss. Maureen Grogan, 54, a secretary at Community School Board District 8 since 1977, said Dennis Coleman – president of the School Boards Association and a Board 8 member – began harassing her five years ago.

In July, the board agreed she had been the victim of racial discrimination and harassment by Coleman – but refused to further suspend him, or offer her a position in a different office. The Board of Education did not provide a comment.

New York Post

If you have questions regarding employment discrimination or any employment matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at

Manhattan Hotel Hit With Harassment Complaint


Three housekeepers in Manhattan have filed sexual harassment lawsuits against their former employer after a preliminary investigation found evidence to support the claim that the trio had been groped by their superiors. The housekeepers – Marina Abdullajeva, Monica Quintana and Kathy Salgado – for the Club Quarters Midtown hotel, located at 40 W. 45th Street, are each suing their former bosses for $2 million in damages.

Joseph Maya, the attorney representing the women says local and national media attention to the suit have sparked calls to him from more than 50 women working in New York hotels, ranging from the housekeeper to executive levels.

Maya, an attorney specializing in sexual harassment cases, said that while the alleged offenses are particularly “egregious,” he often handles cases for women in the cleaning profession within both companies and hotels. He notes that the majority of discrimination cases involve labor practices, such as failing to promote women and discrimination against pregnant women.

“I think that probably the nature of the relationship is that the employee is subordinate to the manager and people are working in those positions because of a lack of skills and language abilities, and managers know it’s difficult for them to find jobs elsewhere,” Maya said. ” The supervisors think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. The lesson hasn’t been learned that judges, courts and juries will not tolerate it.”

The Allegations

Following a five-month investigation, the New York State Division of Human Rights found probable cause to support the women’s claims that they were sexually harassed by Eliot Manning, a supervisor; Hassan Kaseb, the head of housekeeping; Talat Pervez, a mechanic; and Maria Lahlu, another housekeeper.

They are accused of grabbing the housekeepers’ breasts, propositioning them and demanding that they bow their heads when speaking to the executive housekeeper. The four employees denied the allegations.

Attorney Jon Horowitz, who represents Midtown South Associates, one of a number of companies that hold an interest in the corporate-oriented Club Quarters property, said his investigation has determined that “there is no basis for the claims,” and stressed that “the allegations of sexual harassment were not made and no complaint was filed until after the employees were discharged for cause.” The suit claims, however, that the women were fired in retaliation when they complained to top management.

Horowitz also asserted that Midtown South Associates has a written sexual harassment policy which it strictly enforces.

The investigation by the Division of Human Rights revealed that the 48-page employee handbook, that contains the sexual harassment policy, was distributed to management, but not to other employees.


SEPTEMBER 20 @ 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Lauren A. Jacobson, Esq. and Robert G. Brody, Esq. will be presenting “New Laws Impacting Connecticut Employers – What you Need to Know” for the Fairfield County Bar Association.

About the Program 

The Connecticut General Assembly recently enacted a number of significant employment laws at the end of its recent regular and special sessions that will dramatically affect our state. This program will highlight the most prominent legislation passed, and provide important updates on what employers need to know. Topics will include, among others:

  • Mandatory Salary Range Disclosure for Applicants and Employees
  • New Sex Wage Discrimination Standard: Moving from “Equal” to “Comparable” Work
  • Covid Recall-by-Seniority Law for Certain Employees Laid Off in the Hotel, Food Service and Building Service Industries
  • New Workplace Rules for Regulating Recreational Marijuana
  • New Breastfeeding Guidelines
  • The CROWN ACT- “Creating A Respectful And Open World For Natural Hair” – Protection Again Discrimination Based on Race-Based Hair Styles

Click here to register.