A federal jury awarded a former Wyandanch school district employee $50,000 after finding he lost his job in retaliation for alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
Despite the monetary victory for Larry McCord, 69, the seven-member jury in Central Islip federal court last week rejected the sexual-harassment and hostile-work-environment claims, according to court records.
The jury did find that McCord's job as director of attendance was eliminated as retaliation for filing the lawsuit against Superintendent Mary Jones and the district.School exec: Defamed when I refused sex
As a result, the jury, after the five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler, said the district and Jones owed McCord $40,000 in lost wages and Jones owed him $10,000 in punitive damages.
McCord, who started working in the district in 1998, is also an attorney. He has a private law practice in West Babylon that he continued to operate while working for the district.
McCord previously served as the district's legal counsel and president of the school board.
"It's a great victory," McCord's attorney, Steven Morelli of Garden City, said Monday, adding that his client brought the suit to show that "you can't get away with this" type of conduct.
The lawyer for both the district and Jones, John McManus of McManus & Richter of Manhattan, said the jury rejected two of the three accusations against his clients and appealing the retaliation verdict is a possibility.
McCord filed the suit in 2013 against the district and Jones, claiming that as an assistant superintendent, she made sexual advances that he refused.
The suit claimed Jones eliminated the $3,300 stipend he had received for having a doctorate because he refused her advances and declined to contribute $5,000 to a school she was building in Jamaica.
McCord said that Jones subsequently eliminated his position.
An independent attorney hired by the school board said that McCord's advanced degree was not eligible for the stipend because it came from an unaccredited online institution, Rochville University in Texas.