NYC Sanitation Department Faces Sexual Discrimination Suit

A longtime employee of the New York City Department of Sanitation has sued the city for sexual discrimination. She says she was faced with arbitrary scrutiny before ultimately being fired and replaced by a man.

Janice Mooney was hired by the city’s sanitation department in 2000.  She was one of a small percentage of women employed by the department, according to the complaint.  For the first twelve years of her tenure, she claims she received excellent performance reviews and was promoted several times.i

In 2012 Mooney was transferred to the Bronx facility and was supervised by Assistant Borough chief Paul Visconti, who repeatedly subjected her to harassment and discrimination based on her gender, according to the complaint.

Some of the behavior Mooney was subjected to by Visconti, which she claims her male co-workers were not, included receiving overly critical and unprofessional emails, requiring her to work overnight shifts despite her expressed concerns about the danger, delays in receiving her performance reviews, and having male coworkers report to Visconti when Mooney arrived for work.

In addition, Mooney claims when she asked for time off from work for her daughter’s prom and to take her to college, Visconti denied her requests. She further claims that he furnished her with a “conditional” performance rating so that she would not be able to receive a promotion for two years thereafter, in accordance with department policy. Claiming that her time working for Visconti was the only time she received low ratings, she states that “Visconti obstructed and delayed [her] ability for further promotion with the [d]epartment.”

Mooney lodged a formal complaint of Visconti’s discrimination with the EEO, but, fearing workplace reprisals for doing so, she decided to delay further action.

Once Mooney was transferred out of the Bronx facility and to Queens in April 2015, she again began to receive “superior” performance reviews and was promoted to Executive Officer by her then supervisor, Thomas Albano, according to the complaint. But two months later Albano retired and Javier Lojan became Mooney’s supervisor.

In February 2016 Lojan removed Mooney from her Executive Officer position and replaced her with a male coworker with less seniority.  Mooney claims that when she was out on vacation time, but had to use the time to recover from surgery, Lojan refused to defer her earned vacation time, so that when she later took time off for vacation, he docked her for the two weeks used.

Further, Lojan evicted Mooney from the female locker room and took it over himself, requiring her to use a dilapidated room with no running water and a ceiling that was falling down. And once again, under Lojan, Mooney began to receive “conditional” rather than “superior” ratings.

Mooney claims that these actions “denied [her] the same opportunities as similarly situated male employees that created a hostile work environment based on her gender that was so severe and pervasive as to affect the terms and conditions of her employment, in violation of New York” and federal law. Mooney is represented by Hope Senzer Gabor of Garden City, New York who brought the case in the Southern District of New York.