BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – A copy editor for The New York Times was humiliated when his friendly, innocuous attempts to take a male trainee under his wing by calling him “lil bro,” for instance were misinterpreted as sexual harassment, Charles Cretella claims in state court.
Cretella, 57, says he tried to give 33-year-old Douglas Duncan a sense of workplace camaraderie by calling him “Lil bro,” giving him a new jacket that didn’t fit anymore, letting him use Cretella’s coffee maker, bringing him candy corn on Halloween, and ordering balloons on Duncan’s six-month anniversary on the job.
But he says his acts of kindness did not go unpunished, and Duncan complained to their supervisor that Cretella was making him uncomfortable.
At a meeting to discuss the matter, an employee in the human resources division accused Cretella of telling co-workers that he “pined for Douglas on Monday,” the lawsuit claims. Cretella allegedly responded by asking, “Are you implying that I am gay?”
Another human resources employee, Corrine Osborn, allegedly stated that this was “one of the worst sexual harassment cases” that she had ever encountered.
“Plaintiff was humiliated by Osborn’s false imputations of homosexuality and destruction of his reputation, one that he had built over his 40-year employment with (the newspaper),” the suit claims.
Cretella says he was denied a promotion based on his age and perceived sexual orientation.
He demands “all compensatory, emotional, physical, and punitive damages,” including lost pay.
His attorney is Michael Borrelli of Carle Place, N.Y.