A New York town official suggested employees who accused him of racial discrimination were just too lazy to properly do their jobs.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined Jack Moore, the Henrietta town supervisor, had made discriminatory and derogatory comments concerning women, the disabled and African-Americans — which he flatly denies, reported WHEC-TV.
Five employees lodged complaints against Moore over the past four years, and the federal agency found evidence to back their claims.
“Witness testimony verifies that the Supervisor made the comment ‘this desk is heavier than ten dead n*ggers’ while moving the Charging Party’s desk during her involuntary transfer,” investigators found.
The investigation revealed that Moore insulted a woman by asking a colleague to take her shopping because she looked like a man, and made sexual comments about other women in the office.
“Witness testimony also shows that Supervisor Moore engaged in inappropriate sexually charged named-calling when he distinguished two women as ‘Big Marie’ and ‘Little Marie’ based on their breast size,” investigators found.
Barb Bresnan, whose appearance was the target of his insults, told the TV station that working under Moore has not been easy.
“It was depressing for me, very difficult, stressful — not only on myself, but on my family, as well,” said Bresnan, a town maintenance mechanic for 16 years.
Moore denied the agency’s findings in an interview with WHEC.
“We have 275 full and part-time employees, and I come from a world of a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, and I have five employees who continue to not buy into our work ethic,” Moore told the TV station.
He denied using a racial slur while moving a colleague’s desk.
“No, I don’t talk that way, ma’am,” Moore said, although he stopped short of saying the claims were made up. “I can’t tell you that, I can only tell you what I know.”
Residents called for Moore’s resignation two years ago, when he was recorded referring to black people as “city cousins” while criticizing the Affordable Care Act.
Bresnan was offended by Moore’s suggestion that she wasn’t a hard worker.
“I’ve worked here since 2001, there’s evaluations on my work, (and) I have never, ever had a negative comment in any of my evaluations,” she said. “My foreman and other people I work with will attest to what a hard worker I am.”
Three of the five employees who filed EEOC complaints still work for Henrietta, and the other two have retired.
They are considering federal lawsuits against the town and its supervisor, the TV station reported.
The EEOC found reasonable cause to believe the town retaliated against one of the employees, Marlene Youngman, for filing a complaint but found no evidence she had been the victim of age discrimination.
The town attorney denied the validity of all the charges, which he said were “literally several years old.”
“The EEOC determinations did not determine that discrimination took place,” said town attorney Patrick Naylon. “The determination means that the claims may go to the next phase, potentially to a lawsuit. In fact, we do not even know at this time if they will go to suit. If they do, the Town and the Town Supervisor look forward to defending the claims before a neutral tribunal and establishing that no unlawful discrimination took place.”