A former staffer within the Nassau County Govt’s workplace was given a tough time — and in the end fired — for asking to work at home through the pandemic as a result of she has most cancers, she alleges in new courtroom papers.
Leslie Rothschild, who labored within the workplace because the assistant to the director, claims her request for the lodging wasn’t granted at the very least partially in retaliation for rebuffing the sexual advances by one among her superiors, in accordance with her Brooklyn federal lawsuit filed earlier this month.
Rothschild alleges she was sexually harassed by Deputy County Govt Michael Santeramo, “who solicited sexual interplay from Rothschild and threatened her with repercussions ought to she not comply or report his conduct,” the go well with states.
“Most of the above points she skilled referring to the failure to supply her affordable lodging are additionally a byproduct of Santeramo’s retaliatory animus,” the submitting expenses.
Rothschild is suing Nassau County, the previous County Govt Laura Curran — who misplaced re-election in 2021 — Santeramo and others for unspecified damages.
In July 2020, Rothschild — who lives on Lengthy Island — formally requested to work at home and was solely allowed to if she obtained a physician’s observe and re-submitted a request for the lodging each month, her submitting claims.
At this similar time, “because of the pandemic, roughly sixty p.c of county staff had been working from house, and Rothschild had been and was capable of carry out the important features of her job remotely,” the go well with expenses.
This arduous month-to-month renewal course of prompted her to rent a lawyer and file a proper grievance with the Equal Employment Alternative Fee.
In July 2021, and persevering with all through the remainder of the yr, Rothschild continued to ask that she be allowed to work at home “as her most cancers had returned and her immune system was severely compromised,” the submitting alleges — whereas noting she additionally had ache that made it troublesome to stroll.
As a substitute, Rothschild “was solely supplied the power to work out of an workplace the scale of a closet on the county” which was not cleaned and nonetheless pressured her to stroll by means of widespread areas the place others had been probably exposing her to “deadly viruses,” the go well with claims.
In line with the submitting, the county “refused” to grant her the lodging with Santeramo telling Rothschild’s lawyer “I’m in a tough place that will help you with the letters” – a reference to her EEOC grievance.
Rothschild and her lawyer had been additionally “explicitly instructed” to “cease combating their claims and ‘tone down’ their illustration of Rothschild within the EEOC,” the go well with states.
Rothschild was fired in January and her “status was tarnished” the go well with claims.
Santeramo and Curran didn’t instantly return requests for remark.
The County Govt’s Workplace – which has a brand new administration beneath Bruce Blakeman – mentioned it doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.