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EEOC: Henrietta town supervisor discriminated, used racial slur at work

September 28, 2017 07:11 PM

Henrietta Town Supervisor Jack Moore is facing disturbing accusations in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission documents.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined Moore made discriminatory and derogatory comments concerning women, the disabled and African-Americans.

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The EEOC investigated after receiving complaints for five employees over the past four years.

The determinations show: "Witness testimony verifies that the Supervisor made the comment 'this desk is heavier than ten dead n---ers' while moving the Charging Party's desk during her involuntary transfer."

Investigators go on to say, "Witness testimony also shows that Supervisor Moore engaged in inappropriate sexually charged named calling when he distinguished two women as 'Big Marie' and 'Little Marie' based on their breast size."

The investigation also revealed that "Town Supervisor Moore commented to a co-worker, 'Maybe you could take Barb shopping… She could use some help... Tell me she don't just look like a guy."

Barb Bresnan is who he was referring to. In an interview with News10NBC on Thursday she said, she’s been a maintenance mechanic in the Town of Henrietta for 16 years. The past four, she says, have been tough. "It was depressing for me, very difficult, stressful. Not only on myself, but on my family as well."

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke waited for Supervisor Moore at an event he was supposed to attend on Thursday. He didn't show up but he returned her phone call.

Jennifer Lewke: "How do you respond to this?"
Moore: "In the Town of Henrietta, we have 275 full and part-time employees and I come from a world of a full day's work for a full day's pay and I have five employees who continue to not buy into our work ethic."

Supervisor Moore maintains these employees are disgruntled.

Lewke: "Let me ask you point-blank, witnesses -- according to this EEOC complaint -- heard you say, 'This desk is heavier than ten dead n---ers.' Did you say that?"
Moore: "No I don't talk that way ma'am."
Lewke: "So they're just making up these allegations?"
Moore: "I can't tell you what they're doing, all I can tell you is what I know."

But Supervisor Moore does have a history of making racist comments. In 2015, some town residents called for his resignation after his voice was recorded by a town employee referring to African Americans as "city cousins" while criticizing the Affordable Care Act. Moore apologized, saying he realized his comments were insensitive, but he did not resign.

Bresnan takes issue with being called a disgruntled employee,

“I’ve worked here since 2001, there’s evaluations on my work, I have never, ever had a negative comment in any of my evaluations. My foreman and other people I work with will attest to what a hard worker I am,” she says.

She adds she’s hoping this determination will ease what she calls a “hostile” work environment.

Of the five employees who have filed EEOC complaints, three still work for the town, the other two have since retired. It’s likely, following the results of the EEOC determinations, they will file a federal lawsuit against the town and the town supervisor.

In a statement to News10NBC, Patrick Naylon, the attorney for the Town of Henrietta says, “The Town long ago denied the validity of any of the charges. Indeed, some of these claims are literally several years old. The EEOC determinations did not determine that discrimination took place. The determination means that the claims may go to the next phase, potentially to a lawsuit. In fact, we do not even know at this time if they will go to suit. If they do, the Town and the Town Supervisor look forward to defending the claims before a neutral tribunal and establishing that no unlawful discrimination took place. Because of the threat of litigation, as per standard policy and procedure, I have advised the Town Supervisor and Town Board to refrain from any further comment with respect to this matter.”

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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