A woman who was trying to become an NYPD traffic cop alleges a man in the hiring office sexually harassed her — and when she complained, she was rejected for the job on false pretenses, according to a new lawsuit.
Denise Johnson, 46, alleges in her Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit that for three months in 2018, Senior Police Administrative Aide Terrance Miller — who worked in the Candidate Assessment Center — came onto her and propositioned her for sex, according to a
Miller allegedly first called Johnson admitting that he’d gotten her phone number from her file telling her that he “was going to help her with the application process,” the court documents, filed Sunday, claim.
In the coming months, he “made several unwelcome comments that, over time, became increasingly sexual making plaintiff uncomfortable and creating an increasingly hostile environment for plaintiff, a job applicant,” the suit charges.
For example, on March 22, 2018 she alleges Miller called to ask about her application and said, “Are you ready to sit on my face?” the court papers say.
And on April 5, Miller allegedly told Johnson he wanted to perform oral sex on her and asked her to send him racy photos of herself, the court documents claim.
One time when Johnson called Miller to check in on what the next steps of her application process was, “Miller answered with a quid pro quo proposition, ‘Me,’” the suit charges.
On Aug. 10, 2018 Johnson says she complained about Miller’s alleged sexual harassment, and on Sept. 20, the NYPD for the first time raised questions about “plaintiff’s fitness to be a [Traffic Enforcement Agent],” the court papers say.
“NYPD was rushing to find a reason to reject plaintiff because she had complained … about defendant Miller,” the suit claims.
By Oct. 9, she was told she didn’t qualify for the position because of a criminal record and drug use, the suit says.
But Johnson claims she pleaded guilty twice only to violations of disorderly conduct, the most recent when she was only 19.
She also claims she had already disclosed this fact — and the fact that she had smoked pot in the 1990s — at a November 2017 orientation.
“Despite knowing as early as November 2017 that plaintiff had smoked cannabis and that she had, as a youth, twice pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, NYPD deemed her a suitable candidate to become a [Traffic Enforcement Agent] and, for nearly a year thereafter (until she filed a complaint …), continued to process her application to become a TEA,” the suit alleges.
Johnson lost an appeal of the NYPD’s decision not to hire her on Feb. 21, 2019.
Johnson is suing Miller, the NYPD and the city for discrimination, sexual harassment and other claims. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
A police spokesman said, “We will review the claim if and when we are served.”
The city Law Department did not immediately return a request for comment. Miller could not immediately be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy