Today, we’re taking a closer look into the workplace. Most people are aware of laws protecting employees from discrimination and harassment, but many have never heard of New York Employment Laws protecting employees from retaliation. In a recent review, we found several cases of discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.
Looking into the case of Miller vs. City of Ithaca, Plaintiff, Christopher Miller, was awarded a $2 million dollar verdict after a jury found certain Defendants did, in fact, retaliate against Miller during his time as a police officer at the Ithaca Police Department.
During Miller’s employment with the IPD, there were several incidents of retaliatory action and discrimination, although claims of discrimination remain unsubstantiated. Miller cites being denied a promotion, as well as being passed over for training opportunities secondary to ethnic and gender bias; this, despite having scored highest on the civil service examination and having already served seven years with the IPD. Although the jury found the burden of proof for such discrimination claims to be inadequate, they did find the City of Ithaca liable for retaliatory conduct. Acts of retaliation referenced in this case include unwarranted disciplinary notice of termination, as well as reassignments to desk duty and less-than-desirable beats. The beats Miller was reassigned to were described as being typically assigned to rookie officers and as a reprimand for other officers. Supporting testimony and evidence for retaliation against Miller was sufficient for the jury to vote in favor of the Plaintiff.
However, supporting the Defendant’s claims, several acts of unprofessional conduct can be found in the history of the Plaintiff’s employment, including criminal mischief charges and integrity concerns. Supporting incidents, as well as a statement from the Tompkins County District Attorney reinforce the questionable nature of the Plaintiff’s credibility, integrity and value as a police officer.
Miller’s verdict can only be described as significant, with compensatory damages reaching $2 million. At this time, the Defendants have filed for and have been granted a new trial regarding retaliatory claims of beat assignments and non-economic damages regarding the substantial degree and inconsistent nature of monetary award.
For more information about New York State Labor Laws or to investigate a potential claim, contact our New York Harassment Lawyer office today.