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$224,528 Awarded to County Jail Employee in New York Retaliation Suit

by Christopher Zoukis

A federal jury awarded Mark Battistoni, an employee at the Dutchess County, New York, jail, $224,528 after it found that his employer unlawfully retaliated against him.

     In July 2007, Battistoni received reports that the wife of his supervisor, Gary Christensen, was engaging in sexual conduct with a male prisoner. Battistoni reported this information to County Sheriff Adrian H. Anderson, who assured him that there would be no retaliation. However, when Battistoni was passed over for a promotion, which was given to a less-qualified individual, Battistoni filed a federal discrimination complaint alleging unlawful retaliation. He was then demoted.

     On October 14, 2008, Battistoni sued Anderson, Christensen and Dutchess County in federal court. He alleged that he was retaliated against because he complained to Anderson about improper behavior, and the retaliation violated New York state law as well as the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Following the filing of his complaint, Anderson and Undersheriff Kirk A. Imperati suspended him several times and refused his request to go on medical leave. Battistoni claimed that he was coerced to resign on April 15, 2009.

     Judge Lisa Margaret Smith dismissed Christensen from the suit on November 2, 2011. On November 4, the jury found Anderson liable for retaliation under New York law and the county liable for retaliation under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. It awarded Battistoni $203,480.32 for back pay and $21,048 in punitive damages, for a total of $224,528.32.

 See: Battistoni v. Anderson, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 7:08-cv-08762-LMS (Nov. 4, 2011)

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Related legal case

Battistoni v. Anderson, et al.