PREET BHARARA United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York By: TOMOKO ONOZAWA Assistant United

States Attorney 86 Chambers Street, Third Floor New York, New York 10007 Telephone: (212) 637-2721 Facsimile: (212) 637-2686 E-mail: tomoko.onozawa@usdoj.gov UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK --------------------------------------------------------------x UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, : : Plaintiff, : : v. : : PORT CHESTER-RYE UNION FREE : SCHOOL DISTRICT, : : Defendant. : --------------------------------------------------------------x

ECF Case COMPLAINT 11 Civ. _________________

Plaintiff, the United States of America, by its attorney, Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, alleges upon information and belief for its complaint as follows: INTRODUCTION 1. The United States brings this civil action to enforce Title VII of the Civil

Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., as amended (“Title VII”), and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), Pub. L. 95-555, 97 Stat. 2076, as codified in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). As set forth more fully below, the United States alleges in this action that defendant Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District (the “District”), unlawfully discriminated against Patricia Bevilacqua (“Bevilacqua”) on the basis of her sex, among

other ways, by removing her stipend as Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education (“CSE”) and transferring it to a male colleague immediately after her return from maternity leave, and by declining to re-appoint her to the position of CSE Chairperson after she notified District officials of her second pregnancy. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 2. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-

6(b) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, and 1345. 3. Venue is proper in the Southern District of New York, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.

§ 2000e-5(f)(3). THE PARTIES 4. 5. Plaintiff is the United States of America. Defendant District is in Westchester County, New York, is a governmental

body created pursuant to the laws of the State of New York, and is located within this judicial district. 6. Defendant District is, and at all times relevant to the Complaint was, a

“person” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(a) and an “employer” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b). CLAIM TO RELIEF — SEX DISCRIMINATION (Section 706 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) 7. In or around September 2001, Bevilacqua began her employment as a School

Psychologist in the District. 8. Throughout the time period relevant to this suit, Michael Kohlhagen

(“Kohlhagen”) was Bevilacqua’s direct supervisor. Kohlhagen served as the District’s

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Director of Special Services, until he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Special Services. 9. Throughout the time period relevant to this suit, Dr. Charles D. Coletti (“Dr.

Coletti”), was the District’s Superintendent of Schools, until he retired in or around June 2006. 10. At the recommendation of Kohlhagen and Noreen Urso, the Chairperson of

the CSE at the time, Bevilacqua applied for the position of CSE Chairperson in or around March 2002. 11. In or around April 2002, the District’s Board of Education appointed

Bevilacqua to the position of CSE Chairperson. 12. The CSE Chairperson position was a full-time, District-wide position, and was

accompanied by a $3,000 to $3,500 stipend that was paid in addition to Bevilacqua’s School Psychologist salary. As CSE Chairperson, Bevilacqua was responsible for, among other things: holding CSE Committee meetings to discuss and develop individualized education programs for children with learning disabilities; overseeing special education teachers and staff members; following up on out-of-district education placements; compiling state reporting information; and using a computer system called IEP Direct. The position also required the CSE Chairperson to work until 4:00 p.m. during the school year, and to work approximately one week beyond June 24, the last day of school, or until June 30th. 13. In or around March 2003, Bevilacqua re-applied for the CSE Chairperson

position for the 2003-2004 school year. The Board of Education reappointed her to the position in or around April 2003. 14. In December 2003, Bevilacqua got married. Beginning in early 2004, during

weekly staff meetings, Kohlhagen frequently made comments to Bevilacqua that suggested

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she was either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Specifically, Kohlhagen would ask, “Is that coffee decaf?” and “Are you allowed to take aspirin?” 15. In or around March 2004, Bevilacqua learned that a special education teacher

named Roe Matthews (“Matthews”) was applying for the 2004-2005 CSE Chairperson position because Kohlhagen had promised Matthews she would get the job. Unlike Bevilacqua, Matthews had grown children. 16. At the time that Bevilacqua learned that Kohlhagen supported Matthews’

application for the position of CSE Chairperson, there had been no complaints regarding Bevilacqua’s job performance. During an in-person meeting between Dr. Coletti, Kohlhagen, and Bevilacqua to discuss Bevilacqua’s concerns, Kohlhagen denied having any problems with Bevilacqua. 17. Shortly after meeting with Dr. Coletti in or around March 2004, Kohlhagen

told Bevilacqua that, because she was married and planning to have children, he assumed that Bevilacqua would want to return to her previous position as School Psychologist, rather than continue working as CSE Chairperson. 18. In or around June 2004, Bevilacqua applied for and was appointed to the

position of CSE Chairperson for the 2004-2005 school year. 19. 20. In November 2004, Bevilacqua became pregnant with her first child. On or around May 17, 2005, Bevilacqua re-applied for the CSE Chairperson

for the 2005-2006 school year. 21. While her application was pending, on or around June 1, 2005, Bevilacqua

went on maternity leave. Before Bevilacqua went on maternity leave, Kohlhagen and Dr. Coletti informed Bevilacqua that Liam McGuirk (“McGuirk”), a male School Psychologist,

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would be serving as the interim CSE Chairperson until Bevilacqua returned from maternity leave on January 2, 2006. 22. On or around July 5, 2005, Bevilacqua was re-appointed to the CSE

Chairperson position for the latter half of the 2005-2006 school year, after her return from maternity leave in January 2006. 23. In January 2006, when Bevilacqua returned to work, she asked Kohlhagen if

she could leave the office at 3:30 p.m., instead of 4:00 p.m., due to difficulties with scheduling child-care arrangements. Kohlhagen approved the request. 24. In January 2006, however, Bevilacqua learned that McGuirk was still

continuing to serve as CSE Chairperson, and was still receiving the stipend that came with the position. 25. On January 17, 2006, the Board of Education voted to remove the CSE

Chairperson stipend from Bevilacqua’s salary, and transferred the stipend to McGuirk’s salary. Bevilacqua was not advised of this decision until March 2006. 26. When Bevilacqua asked Kohlhagen why the Board of Education had removed

her CSE stipend, Kohlhagen said that he recommended the removal because Bevilacqua was unable to work until 4:00 p.m. Kohlhagen also informed Bevilacqua that McGuirk was now serving as the CSE Co-Chair. 27. However, McGuirk often left the office at 2:30 p.m. to serve as a track coach

in Rockland County, New York. McGuirk was also given the option to start the workday at 7:30 a.m. because he could not stay until 4:00 p.m., but Bevilacqua was never offered this accommodation. 28. In April 2006, Bevilacqua learned she was pregnant with her second child,

and disclosed the pregnancy to Kohlhagen and Dr. Coletti at the end of that month.

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29.

In or around May 2006, the CSE Chairperson position for the 2006-2007

school year was posted. Bevilacqua promptly re-applied for the position. 30. In or around June 2006, Bevilacqua asked Kohlhagen whether she would be

appointed to the CSE Chairperson position for the 2006-2007 school year. Kohlhagen replied that he did not know, but asked Bevilacqua why she did not want to stay home with her family. 31. In June 2006, Bevilacqua reduced her work schedule. Under an agreement

with Kohlhagen and Dr. Coletti, Bevilacqua worked for a half-day in the office, and completed the remainder of her work at home. 32. On or around June 24, 2006, the last day of school, Kohlhagen told

Bevilacqua that she had to work until June 30, as required by the CSE Chairperson job description, even though she was no longer receiving the CSE stipend. 33. In the meantime, McGuirk continued to receive the CSE stipend, although he

went on vacation on or around June 25, 2006, and did not work through June 30. 34. On or around July 10, 2006, Kohlhagen informed Bevilacqua that she was not

being offered the CSE Chairperson position for the 2006-2007 school year, but was being demoted to the position of School Psychologist instead. Kohlhagen told Bevilacqua that the arrangement was better for her, because she could now spend more time with her children, and refused to discuss the matter further. McGuirk was offered, and accepted, the CSE Chairperson position. 35. Throughout her employment with the District, Bevilacqua has never received

any negative evaluations, nor was she subject to any disciplinary action. 36. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) received a

timely charge (Charge No. 520-2007-00339) filed by Bevilacqua on or about October 20,

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2006, alleging discrimination in her employment at the District on the basis of her gender and pregnancy. 37. Pursuant to Section 706 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, EEOC investigated

the charges, found reasonable cause to believe that the allegations of gender discrimination in employment were true, attempted unsuccessfully to achieve through conciliation a voluntary resolution of the matters, and subsequently referred the charges to the United States Department of Justice. 38. occurred. 39. The District violated Section 706 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, and the All conditions precedent to the filing of suit have been performed or have

PDA, among other ways, by discriminating against Bevilacqua by improperly withdrawing her CSE Chairperson stipend, and by refusing to re-appoint her to the CSE Chairperson position for the 2006-2007 school year, based upon her pregnancies. WHEREFORE, the plaintiff, the United States of America, prays that the Court enter judgment against the District, its officers, agents, employees, successors and all persons in active concert or participation with it, as follows: (a) Declaring that the District’s failure to compensate and re-appoint Bevilacqua

to the position of CSE Chairperson was motivated by her pregnancies and was therefore in violation of Section 706 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, and the PDA; (b) Ordering the District to take steps as may be necessary to prevent and remedy

the employment discrimination identified above; (c) Ordering the District to provide sufficient compensatory damages to charging

party Patricia Bevilacqua, to make her whole for the loss she suffered as a result of the discrimination against her as alleged in this Complaint; and

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(d)

Granting the United States its costs and disbursements, and such further relief

as the Court may deem just. JURY DEMAND Plaintiff demands a trial by jury.

Dated: New York, New York ____________, 2011

PREET BHARARA United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Attorney for Plaintiff United States of America

By:

____________________________ TOMOKO ONOZAWA Assistant United States Attorney 86 Chambers Street, Third Floor New York, New York 10007 Telephone: (212) 637-2721 Facsimile: (212) 637-2686

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