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BRIGGS v. NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
November 12, 2002
CECELIA BRIGGS, PLAINTIFF,
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, STATE OF NEW YORK, MARK BONACCI, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, JOSEPH CAMASTRA, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A SIGN SUPERVISOR FOR THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, JOHN COLLINS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE SITE SUPERVISOR FOR THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND CHARLES LAMENDOLA, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OFFICER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: David N. Hurd, United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER
On November 28, 200l, plaintiff Cecilia Briggs commenced the instant
action against defendants alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. seq. ("Title
VII"), Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12401, et. seq. ("ADA"), and the New York State Human
Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296 ("HRL). Instead of filing an
answer, defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
on the grounds that individuals are not liable under Title VII or the
ADA, plaintiff's claims under the HRL and ADA are barred by the Eleventh
Amendment, and her Complaint otherwise fails to state a claim under Title
VII, the ADA or the HRL. Plaintiff opposes arguing that her claims are
timely under the continuing violation exception and that the Complaint is
otherwise sufficient to state claims under Title VII, the ADA and the
Oral argument was heard on August 23, 2002, in Albany, New York.
Decision was reserved.
Plaintiff began working for the New York State Department of
Transportation ("NYSDOT") in 1994 in the position of Highway Maintenance
Worker I. (Comp. at ¶¶ 8, 9.) The Complaint alleges that plaintiff
was subjected to the following incidents during her term of employment:
a. In or about 1998, a co-worker, Robert Tucker,
b. In or about 1999, a co-worker, Rich Yearby, called
her a cunt;
c. Commencing in January 2000 and continuing on
various dates thereafter, one of her supervisors,
Joseph Camastra ("Camastra"), began following her
around telling her that he loved her;
d. On several occasions during 2000, Camastra exposed
his genitals to her;
e. Commencing in the year 2000 and continuing on
various dates thereafter, a co-employee, Mark Bonacci
("Bonacci"), spread rumors that he was having an
affair with plaintiff and that she performed oral sex
f. In or about August 2000, Bonacci pointed to his
genital area and asked her to rub cream on his
g. In or about the fall of 1999, Bonacci told her to
get up on the table on all fours and show her butt;
h. Since 2000, various NYSDOT employees, including her
supervisors, made derogatory comments to her,
including calling her a screw up and mental case;
i. Since 2000, she has been written up for missing work;
j. In or about August 2000, the NYSDOT pulled her
k. Beginning in or about 2000, she was written up for
using her sick time, while similarly situated male
employees were not written up;
l. Co-employees smashed the windows in her van; and
m. The NYSDOT required her to retake the driving
test, while similarly situated males were only
required to undergo classroom training.
(Id. at ¶ 11.) The complaint further alleges that "on repeated
occasions, Plaintiff complained to Defendant's management about the
. . . conduct to which she was subjected but Defendant management failed
and/or refused to effectively investigate the alleged conduct or take any
effective steps to stop the harassment to which Plaintiff was subjected."
(Id. at ¶ 13.) As of November 2000, plaintiff "could no longer
perform her job duties due to severe psychiatric conditions." (Id. at
On March 26, 2001, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging discrimination
on account of her gender and disability and further alleging that she was
retaliated against for complaining about sexual harassment. The EEOC
complaint states, in part, that
I am a qualified individual covered under the
provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
. . . Beginning in or around January 2000, and
continuing until August 2000, I was subjected to a
sexually offensive and hostile work environment by a
supervisor. In or around November 2000, I complained
about the harassment however, Respondent failed to
fully investigate my claims or take effective action.
On or about December 8, 2000, I was informed that my
certification had been pulled and that I would need to
re-certify. Upon information and belief male employees
did not have to re-certify.
Twice in Febraury [sic] 2001, Respondent forced me to
take psychiatric evaluations or face ...