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Judge recommends payment of $950,000 in Rensselaer County employee hostile work environment complaint

An administrative judge has recommended that Rensselaer County pay a former female jail guard $950,000 for being subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

Lora Abbot-Seabury, a former sergeant at the Rensselaer County Jail, filed a sexual harassment complaint with the New York Division on Human Rights in October 2010.

Abbot-Seabury claims that a coworker, William Fenton, groped her buttocks and breasts. After she complained to Captain Harold Smith about the incident, she claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment in retaliation by her coworkers Timmy Hayes, David Hayes, Jimmy Suriano, Jamie Kozowsil, Joe Bruno, Jay Burns, John Hayes, Mark Piche, David Higgett, and David Connell.

Abbot-Seabury eventually quit her job in order to escape the hostile work environment. A state board found that she suffered post-traumatic stress and depression.

Both sides will be able to respond to the judge’s recommendation before a final, binding decision is made.

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Judge recommends payment of $950,000 in Rensselaer County employee hostile work environment complaint
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