By Megan Spicer – October 6, 2015
A U.S. Postal Service employee is seeking $1 million in damages after alleging that she was sexually harassed by her former boyfriend, who was her supervisor in the office where she worked.
Maria Rosario, of Windsor Locks, has been a Postal Service driver since July 2012. In her federal lawsuit, she said she had an ongoing, intimate relationship with William Rodriguez, the acting manager of transportation. Rosario did not detail how long the relationship lasted or when it ended, but she said that Rodriguez is married, and she eventually broke things off. At that point, Rosario stated, Rodriguez “became exceedingly angry and began harassing her and making things extremely difficult for her in the workplace.”
The U.S. Postal Service said it would not comment on pending litigation. It is being represented by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Postal Service website states that it takes a hard line against harassment. “Although inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature may not fit the legal definition of sexual harassment, such behavior in the workplace undermines morale and violates the Postal Service’s standards of conduct,” the website states. “Disciplinary action may result even if the conduct is not sexual harassment under the law. The Postal Service owes its employees a safe, productive, and inclusive workplace and will tolerate nothing less.”
Rosario states that she was injured while working in 2014 and her doctor limited her duties to office work. She claims that Rodriguez sent her home on several occasions after claiming there was no work for her, despite Rosario’s contract saying that Rodriguez was required to find work for an employee on “limited duty.”
Rosario is represented by W. Martyn Philpot Jr., of New Haven. He was not immediately available for comment. Rosario claimed that Jeff Cureton, a transportation supervisor for the Postal Service in Connecticut, was aware of the alleged sexual harassment and even took part in it, according to the lawsuit. “The plaintiff has been made to feel very uncomfortable around Cureton as he constantly would scrutinize her private parts while she is in the workplace, as well as menacingly follow her throughout the building,” the lawsuit said. It does not indicate in which post office the parties work.
Rosario filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to try to resolve her workplace issues. Mediation sessions were held, and solutions were proposed, but none was adhered to by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.
As a result of the alleged harassment, Rosario has suffered emotional distress, trauma, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, substantial loss of employment income, overly burdensome financial hardships, damage to her relationship with her family and friends, as well as damage to her self-esteem and sense of self-worth. It is not clear from her lawsuit if she is still employed by the Postal Service.