A second female Board of Education worker has come forward with explosive charges against a top official, saying women were encouraged to view his genitals.
Heidi Husser, 50, director of labor relations for the division of school facilities, claims in a federal suit the Education Department office “encouraged a culture of sexism” where women were underpaid and forced to endure the vulgar treatment of their male bosses.
She is the second Division of School Facilities employee to bring a suit against the city over unequal pay and sexual harassment. Staffer Sheila Dancy-Wilkins filed a similar case in September.
Both women claim that chief executive officer John Shea, 45, was the lecherous ringleader in a raunchy work environment that resembled a frat house.
“His behavior was outrageous,” said Husser, an attorney who started at the Education Department in 2008. “He thought he could get away with it because he was well-liked.”
As the $182,588-a-year director of the office that cleans and maintains 1,300 school buildings around the city, Shea is one of the highest paid staffers on the education payroll.
According to court filings Wednesday, the 45-year-old boss once told Husser that his nickname was “Mosquito” because his genitals were small and he “could get it done without women knowing they were stung.”
Shea also frequently changed in the office conference room before going on afternoon jogs and told staffers when he wasn’t wearing underwear, the suit says.
Husser also alleged that Shea once produced a computer tablet with his picture in a skimpy bathing suit.
“He brought the tablet up to my face and used his fingers to zoom in on his crotch,” Husser said. “He wanted to make sure I saw his Speedo and his package.”
Husser, of Long Island, said her boss’ abusive behavior triggered panic attacks that she had to treat with medication.
Husser and Dancy-Wilkins both claim they were paid more than $40,000 less than male counterparts who did similar work and that 12 of 14 directors in their division were men.
Shea, who has been CEO since 2008, did not return calls from the Daily News. A source said he is single but lives with a girlfriend.
Husser’s suit seeks nearly $1 million in damages. A city Law Department spokeswoman said the office had not yet received the suit and declined to comment.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Another Sexual Harassment Allegation Made Against NYCDOE Honcho
Sexual harassment and sexual discrimination charges have been made against a top NYCDOE executive for the second time this school year: