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Lawsuit: Ex-Law Clerk, Fired For Complaining About Sexual Harassment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a federal complaint that Former Principal Law Clerk Tricia A. Moriates was allegedly fired for complaining about sexual harassment in the court

 

New York, August 4, 2017 – Moriates, formerly employed as the Principal Law Clerk of Nassau Supreme Judge Robert A. Bruno accuses the New York State Unified Court System and its employees of terminating her employment after complaining about he and others subjecting her to a sexually hostile work environment.

According to the lawsuit, Mrs. Moriates alleges the New York State Unified Court System; Thomas A. Adams and Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins on-site management includes the health, safety and welfare of all employees and other stakeholders using court facilities. She claims sexual harassment is a serious problem within the judicial community but the New York State Unified Court System does not require all employees and other stakeholders using court facilities to receive such training.

Mrs. Moriates claims, the Managing Inspector General for Bias Matters specifically investigate cases to reach the result of ‘Judicial Immunity’ resulting in a low rate of substantiation. Thus, according to the lawsuit, ‘Judicial Immunity’ and the low ‘substantiation’ rate create opportunities for abusive employees’ and other stakeholders such as Judge Robert A. Bruno to use court facilities to ‘prey’ upon other vulnerable female employees.

Although the New York State Unified Court System; Thomas A. Adams and Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins are fully aware female subordinates’ accusing their supervisors and other stakeholders such as Judge Robert A. Bruno of sexual harassment is a serious problem, supervisors and other stakeholders are rarely if ever disciplined or referred to outside governmental reviewing bodies such as the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Mrs. Moriates claim.

Throughout her employment, Mrs. Moriates claim Judge Robert A. Bruno subjected to sexually offensive conduct including stereotyping of men and women, referencing female court officers as ‘useless’ and ‘bitches.’

According to the lawsuit, Judge Robert A. Bruno commented; female judges must perform favors and/or have a ‘daddy.’ He commented paraphrase, “I wonder what [she] meaning Judge Helene F. Gugerty had to do to get a judgeship or who is her daddy? No one respects her.”

On another occasion, Judge Robert A. Bruno asked her to accompany him to his inner office of Chambers. Mrs. Moriates claims, Judge Robert A. Bruno opened the locked credenza drawer asking her to look in and she noticed a prescription bottle for erectile dysfunction medication as well as a box of condoms. According to the lawsuit, Judge Robert A. Bruno instructed Mrs. Moriates “If I die, make sure and get rid of this stuff.”

Shortly thereafter, after rejecting Judge Robert A. Bruno’s unwanted sexual advances over the years until her termination, he started leaving resumes for Principal Law Clerk positions on her desk. Mrs. Moriates claims Judge Robert A. Bruno reminded her that she can be terminated at any time. According to the lawsuit, He also said, “I can do anything I want.” Mrs. Moriates claims the boorish behavior isn’t limited to on-site but, outside events too.

In March 2015 Mrs. Moriates claims while attending the Cairo Foundation charity dinner, former Associate Judge of the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department Joseph Covello made an inappropriate sexually offensive remark to her while touching the necklace she was wearing. Mrs. Moriates claims that Judge Joseph Covello told her, she should take everything off except the necklace.

According to the lawsuit, the next day, she complained to Judge Robert A. Bruno because Judge Joseph Covello, now a partner with Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello, LLP – Mineola, occasionally appears in his courtroom. Mrs. Moriates claims, Judge Robert A. Bruno smiled and responded, “I don’t blame him.”

On September 1, 2016, while Mrs. Moriates was on approved Maternity Leave, Judge Robert A. Bruno sent her a personal text message terminating her employment.

Mrs. Moriates claims, Chief Clerk Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins told her, before Judge Robert A. Bruno terminated her; he needed to consult with she or District Executive Paul Lamanna. However, despite this apparent violation of policy, the New York State Unified Court System, Thomas A. Adams and Kathryn Driscoll Hopkins never contacted the Managing Inspector General for Bias Matters or outside governmental reviewing bodies such as the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Mrs. Moriates claims, she was terminated her in retaliation for rebuffing gender discrimination in the workplace.

“Apparently, these parties believe ‘Judicial Immunity’ shields them from this sort of outrageous conduct. It does not. We intend to hold these parties accountable for their blatant disregard for the law” says  Eric Sanders.

Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed the federal complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, et al., 17 cv 4576, on August 4, 2017.

About The Sanders Firm, P.C.

The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rightscivil service rightscriminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights. We are your voice for justice!

Contact

Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-808-6515

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