The sole female employee of an Oceanside sanitation district alleged on Tuesday that she was sexually harassed by members of the district's all-male board of commissioners, and two of her colleagues said they were fired for sticking up for her.
The trio is filing separate complaints to the state Division of Human Rights and notices of claims against Hempstead Town's Sanitary District No. 7, an independent municipal agency that collects trash in Oceanside, their attorney, Frederick Brewington, said on Tuesday.
The complaints also name as respondents the district's board of commissioners and the five individual commissioners, who were elected to the posts.
Board chairman John M. Mannone declined to comment Tuesday.
The woman, Jacqueline Urli, a secretary in the district, said in her complaint that the commissioners created a "hostile, toxic" work environment in which sexual harassment went unchecked.
Urli alleged that Commissioner Matthew S. Horowitz, in particular, displayed "revolting, creepy and disturbing" behavior toward her beginning in August 2018, including unwanted touching, suggesting that they "have a three-way" with another district employee and commenting on her appearance, according to the complaint.
"It's not funny," she said Tuesday. "It's humiliating and embarrassing."
Horowitz did not respond to a request for comment.
Urli, who still works for the district, filed a written complaint in November to Daniel Faust, then the district's general supervisor, who presented the complaint to the board, Faust said Tuesday.
Around nine days later, the board fired Faust and district treasurer Douglas Hernandez at a Dec. 6 public board of commissioners meeting without explanation, Faust and Hernandez said Tuesday.
Both had offered to serve as witnesses to Urli's allegations, they said. They each had worked for the district for more than 20 years.
"They did what men should do," Brewington said of Hernandez and Faust, describing their termination as "an act of pure retaliation."
Urli said the commissioners also took away some of her duties after she filed her complaint, which she described as retaliatory.
Her complaint accuses the respondents of discrimination, sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment and retaliatory employment practices under the state Human Rights Law and the U.S. Civil Rights Act.
Brewington said the trio are seeking unspecified damages, the reinstatement of Hernandez and Faust to their positions and an agreement that the commissioners adopt a sexual harassment policy and take sexual harassment training.
The district does not currently have any such policy or training procedures, Urli said.