The city of Manlius and its police department recently agreed to settle a discrimination lawsuit with a former officer.
Kerry Wolongevicz, a former Manlius Police Department officer, recently agreed to settle a lawsuit involving the city and village of Manlius on allegations of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. As part of the settlement, Wolongevicz will receive $ 200,000. In addition, the department now has to “train civil servants on gender discrimination issues”.
Police car on the street; Image by Matt Popovich via Unsplash.com.
What was the lawsuit anyway? To begin with, it was filed back in 2017 for allegations that Wolongevicz was “sexually molested, exposed to a hostile work environment and discriminated against by the city police.”
Wolongevicz was then 35 years old and “on leave”. In the lawsuit, she alleged “Manlius police officers graphically and repeatedly talked about sex during and outside of work at work.” She also claimed that one officer “made vulgar remarks about private parts … and another officer said he was tired of female police officers and told her to find another job.” To make matters worse, she claimed that whenever she complained to a manager about harassment and discrimination, she was told to learn to communicate better and she would be disciplined when she complained.
As a result of the treatment, the lawsuit argued that “the Manlius police and their officers have been promoting an atmosphere of discrimination, retribution, hostility and harassment based on gender and race and that has been so for years”.
The settlement, approved in federal court in September, requires the city of Manlius, the police and the insurance company to pay $ 135,000. In addition, Manlius Village and its insurance carrier must pay more than $ 25,000, and Manlius Fire Department must pay $ 40,000. Of the settlement funds, $ 5,000 is earmarked for lost wages, while the remainder is earmarked for pain, suffering, and emotional harm, depending on the lawsuit.
The defendants in the lawsuit included: the Manlius Police, Manlius Fire Brigade, their bosses, and several individual officers.
Despite agreeing to the settlement, the defendants did not admit any wrongdoing. The training that the department will be required to deliver will come into effect in early 2021 and must address “Gender Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation and the Elimination of Gender Prejudice”. For the first three years, the training must be offered in two 8-hour training segments and then “continued for at least seven years with an eight-hour session per year”. To ensure compliance, the training must be digitally recorded.
Wolongevicz was represented by AJ Bosman. He has represented cases of discrimination in the past and won three jury judgments in 2010 against the Syracuse Police Department for sex discrimination for $ 1.1 million.
Ex-Manlius Police Officer Closes $ 200,000 Lawsuit; Officers for training on gender and bias
The Manlius police officer files a complaint of workplace discrimination and harassment