(CN) – The 2nd Circuit has reinstated a Verizon field technician’s claim that two male foremen harassed and discriminated against her and other female employees, which culminated with someone leaving a dead snake in her work truck.
The Manhattan-based appeals court found that Joan Pucino presented enough evidence of a hostile work environment to pursue her case.
She claimed that two foremen, Justin Hinspeter and Kevin Moore, assigned female technicians to work alone in dangerous areas, and denied them assistance and access to necessary tools, all of which were provided to men.
Pucino worked as a technician at the Union Avenue Garage in Newburgh, N.Y.
The garage employed 60 to 110 field technicians, but never more than five women at any one time, according to the ruling.
Pucino claimed Hinspeter and Moore regularly dispatched her and other women to work alone in dangerous parts of Newburgh, while “men were never assigned to work alone in those areas.”
Pucino said Hinspeter often granted her male co-workers access to tools that he told her were unavailable.
Female employees were also subjected to public verbal attacks, according to Pucino and others.
A union shop steward testified that Hinspeter “singled [Pucino] out for rougher, longer and more vicious treatment than anyone else.”
The three-judge panel revived Pucino’s hostile work environment claim, saying a jury should decide if one supervisor’s constant use of the word “bitch” over several years was “sex-based and reflected hostility to women.”
“Pucino offered evidence showing that both Hinspeter and Moore subjected women to disparately harsh working conditions,” Circuit Judge Ralph K. Winter wrote.
“These included the disparate assignment of work in dangerous areas and the refusal to provide assistance to female workers that was provided to male co-workers.
“Verizon has proffered no evidence suggesting a legitimate non-discriminatory explanation for the foremen’s conduct.”