Sunday, April 11, 2010
Discrimination in the workplace is one of those unfortunate practices that can go on for years without ever being discovered. Occasionally, though, this kind of behavior is exposed and winds up on the front page of every newspaper, especially when the employer involved is an outspoken local politician like Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz. Female former staff members of Markowitz’s filed a lawsuit against the elected official that paints an unsavory picture of inner-office sexism, favoritism, and abuse.
Court documents claim that Marty Markowitz admitted to keeping a slovenly, absentee male staff member on the payroll even though he should have been fired. The claim is filled with allegations that the politician repeatedly deemed female workers incompetent, and he even referred to one former female employee as “Tinkerbell.” Another complaint in the report comes from the fourth woman mentioned in the lawsuit who claims to have heard Markowitz and his former chief of staff telling lewd jokes.
Regina Weiss, who is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit, was the former chief of communications for Markowitz and claims that several staff members were recruited to work on Markowitz’s 2005 campaign while on the city’s time and payroll. Weiss and a half a dozen other staffers were allegedly asked to work on campaign press releases and were asked to assist in helping him prepare for an upcoming debate. Campaign related duties are to take place on a separate payroll and not during city hours or in city facilities.
Markowitz has fervently denied the allegations while blasting Weiss and her claims. He did admit to calling a former employee Tinkerbell because she supposedly left her belongings scattered about the office like fairy dust. Markowitz has also admitted to keeping the male staffer with scant attendance and unprofessional appearance but out of compassion and not favoritism. Meanwhile, the New York press is having a field day with the allegations against Markowitz and are waiting to see if any more scandalous details will be brought to light.