Agreement Reached in Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Discrimination Case

Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached in the workplace discrimination case involving the firm’s client, Carisa Boddecker. The United States of America, on behalf of Ms. Boddecker, reached a consent decree with Ms. Boddecker’s employer, Niagara County. The judge presiding over the case in the United States District Court, Western District of New York, approved the settlement. Robert Boreanaz, Ms. Boddecker’s attorney and a Senior Partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, spoke to the Buffalo News about the outcome of the case. The full story is available at the Buffalo News website.

Alleged discrimination based on pregnancy

Carisa Boddecker, a corrections officer for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, became the alleged victim of discrimination based on gender and pregnancy in 2007. At that time, Ms. Boddecker was pregnant and, according to the Buffalo News, supposed to be assigned to light duty. She was not given this assignment, however, and was instead ordered to work as a guard because of the low number of female officers. She and her doctor complained about the assignment and the county eventually had Ms. Boddecker go on unpaid leave. In late 2007, Ms. Boddecker reached out to Robert Boreanaz, a Senior Partner at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, who encouraged her to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“[Ms. Boddecker] filed a complaint alleging that as a pregnant corrections officer, she was not provided the same accommodations as other injured male corrections officers were offered, which was light duty in the control room,” Mr. Boreanaz told the Buffalo News. “She had to use accruals and she had to take time off. The EEOC investigated it and they concluded her case had valid points, and they took the drastic step of bringing a lawsuit against the county.”

The United States Government filed suit against Niagara County in January of 2008 on Ms. Boddecker’s behalf. In order to understand the significance of this undertaking, it is important to note that, of the 93,727 charges of discrimination the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received in 2013, it took just 148 to court. Ms. Boddecker’s case is part of the less than one percent of cases pursued by the United States Government.

Damages to be paid, discrimination policies enforced

After 7 years, the United States of America and Niagara County have reached an agreement in Ms. Boddecker’s case. The consent decree, which does not include admission of wrongdoing by the county, requires Niagara County to increase awareness and enforce Title VII discrimination policies, as well as develop a training and reporting process for sex and pregnancy discrimination. Niagara County is also required to provide Ms. Boddecker with back pay with interest and pay compensatory damages for the injuries she suffered as a result of discrimination.

Mr. Boreanaz told the Buffalo News that Ms. Boddecker is “very pleased with the results. It’s a vindication of her claim right from the beginning. She’s getting everything she’s entitled to.”

About Robert L. Boreanaz

Mr. Boreanaz, a member of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Labor and Employment Practice Area, focuses his on union-side labor law and plaintiff-side employment law. He has extensive trial experience, arguing before state, appellate, and federal courts.