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Southampton Town and officer agree to $300,000 settlement

A sign for Southampton Town Police Headquarters in

A sign for Southampton Town Police Headquarters in Hampton Bays on Aug. 7, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

A Southampton Town police officer who sued the department over gender discrimination allegations settled with town officials for $300,000, according to a court document released Tuesday.

Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa agreed to the settlement, which was initially shielded by a confidentiality provision, in September after more than three years of litigation.

Town officials released the settlement on Tuesday in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.

Costa sued the department in 2014, alleging she faced sexual harassment and was denied overtime pay and promotions.

Town officials said in the agreement that they do not admit fault or wrongdoing by settling.

The town’s insurance policy covered $200,000 of the payment, and the rest was paid out of the town’s yearly $500,000 budget for costs related to litigation, Town Attorney James Burke said.

The agreement also gives Costa a credit of 22 sick days, which matches the amount of time Costa alleged in her complaint that police officials forced her to take off after an emergency appendectomy. A doctor had already authorized her to return to work on light duty.

The settlement came “after years of litigation and a number of settlement conferences with the parties as well as the federal judge involved,” Burke said.

Kelly Magnuson, Costa’s attorney, said she could not immediately comment on the settlement without speaking with town officials.

The settlement limited attorneys to telling media “only that the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.”

Kevin Gwinn, president of the Southampton Town Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, said Costa “deserved to be promoted a long time ago” and should get credit for fighting officials in court.

“She did it more so, not just for herself, for every single officer in the county and they should thank her,” Gwinn said.

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