OMH Employee Alleges Retaliation After Filing Complaint

After she filed two complaints alleging sexual harassment at her job at the Rochester Psychiatric Center, Vicky Snyder alleges that her complaints were not just ignored—she says her supervisors harassed her further, and that the state’s Office of Mental Health, which oversees her employer, treated her complaints as though she had brought the harassment upon herself.

Snyder’s initial complaints, filed in July and November 2013, alleged physical, verbal and electronic harassment of a sexual nature on the part of her supervisor. When these complaints were investigated by the New York State Division of Human Rights, Snyder alleges that the focus of the investigation seemed to be on her own behavior—her wardrobe was identified as potentially being “too tight,” and there were questions about whether she had invited inappropriate comments from her supervisors by being “flirtatious.” The interrogation, Snyder says, amounted to a form of retaliation against her having filed the harassment complaint. Additionally, Snyder says she was moved around between departments at the Rochester center after she was questioned.

In the second of Snyder’s 2013 complaints, she alleged that a coworker referred to handcuffing her after the first complaint. The Division of Human Rights determined that one comment did not constitute pervasive harassment, and that it wasn’t enough to render the Rochester center a hostile work environment. However, DHR found Snyder’s complaint of sexual harassment had sufficient cause.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is responsible for enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace, emphasizes the illegality of retaliation against employees for filing a complaint. Among the circumstances in which retaliation might conceivably occur are any related to hiring and firing, compensation and benefits, training and job assignments.

If you believe you have been subject to retaliation from your employer for any reason, including after lodging a complaint related to discrimination or harassment in New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia contact a skilled New York employment discrimination lawyer with the Derek T. Smith Law Group.


 

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