New York State Court of Claims
Termination — Causal Connection
Verschage v. State
Background: The claimant and her husband filed a claim alleging hostile work environment caused by the sexual harassment, retaliatory termination and a derivative claim. The claimant alleged that a co-worker attempted to kiss her while they were sitting in a van while on duty as an employee of the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office. The claimant alleged that no action was taken for this incident or other subsequent incidences where she was treated poorly by her co-workers. The defendant moved to dismiss.
Ruling: The court dismissed the claim. The court dismissed the hostile work environment claim on the grounds that the allegations contained in claimant’s verified bill of particulars do not support a claim of sexual harassment. Specifically, the only incident that was sexual in nature was the initial attempt at a kiss. Moreover, there was no evidence connecting the claimant’s termination with her filing a charge with the EEOC.
David A. Merkel of Merkel & Merkel for the claimant; Thomas G. Ramsay of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the defendant