The city of Manlius and its police department recently agreed to settle a discrimination suit with a former officer.
Kerry Wolongevicz, a former officer with the Manlius police department, recently agreed to settle a lawsuit with the city and village of Manlius over allegations of workplace discrimination and harassment. As part of the settlement, Wolongevicz will receive $200,000. Additionally, the department will now be required to “train officers on things like gender discrimination.”
What was the lawsuit filed in the first place, though? For starters, it was filed back in 2017 over claims Wolongevicz was “sexually harassed, exposed to a hostile work environment and discriminated against at the town police department.”
Wolongevicz was 35-years-old at the time and “on leave from the department.” In the suit, she alleged “that Manlius police officers graphically and repeatedly talked on the job about having sex on and off the job.” Additionally, she alleged one officer “made vulgar remarks about private parts…and another officer said he was sick of women police officers and told her she should find another job.” To make matters worse, she claimed that whenever she “complained of harassment and discrimination to a supervisor, she was told she should learn to communicate better and would be disciplined if she complained.”
As a result of treatment, the suit argued the “Manlius Police Department and its officers foster an atmosphere of discrimination, retaliation, hostility and harassment based on sex and race, and that this has gone on for years.”
Approved in federal court in September, the settlement requires the town of Manlius, the police department, and the insurance carrier to pay $135,000. Additionally, the village of Manlius and its insurance carrier must fork over $25,000 and the Manlius Fire Department must pay $40,000. Of the settlement funds, $5,000 is dedicated to lost wages while the rest is for pain, suffering, and emotional damages, according to the suit.
The defendants in the suit included the following: the Manlius Police Department, Manlius Fire Department, their chiefs, and several individual officers.
Despite agreeing to the settlement, the defendants have not admitted to wrongdoing. The training the department must implement goes into effect at the start of 2021 and must addresses “gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation and elimination of gender bias.” For the first three years, the training must be offered in two, 8-hour training segments and then “must continue at the rate of one, eight-hour session annually for no less than seven years.” To ensure compliance, the training must be digitally recorded.
Wolongevicz was represented by A.J. Bosman. He has a history of representing cases alleging discrimination and won three jury verdicts in 2010 against the Syracuse police department for gender discrimination for $1.1 million.