A New York City Council staffer says she faced retaliation after reporting a supervisor for disparaging minorities — conduct she said Council Speaker Corey Johnson wanted swept under the rug.
Lattina Brown, a legislative assistant, said Regina Ryan, the deputy director of the finance division, made comments about minorities being on food stamps and about a black woman sleeping her way to the top.
Brown said the retaliation started in 2019 almost as soon as she reported Ryan’s behavior, first to the council’s human resources department and Equal Employment Opportunity office.
She said other staffers would kick and punch her cubicle to intimidate her and that she was eventually transferred to another department and made to use a storage room as her office.
Brown said her boss told her Johnson was upset that she made the allegations.
“Corey was more concerned about his political career and running for mayor,” she said. “The thought of it getting back out to the public didn’t sit well with him.”
Brown said she wrote to the EEO office again in December 2019 to report the harassment and never received a response to her letter.
“My experience there has caused me a lot of anxiety. I’ve had to get some counseling because I’ve never experienced something like this. Ever,” Brown said. “I don’t understand how a person could be punished for doing the right thing.”
Brown, 36, is now seeking a City Council seat herself, running on the Black Women Lead Party column to unseat incumbent Rafael Salamanca Jr. in the Bronx.
She said she wanted to come forward “to avoid this from happening again to somebody else.”
“Under the Speaker’s leadership this council has worked to strengthen the Council’s Anti-Discrimination and Harassment policy and takes any and all complaints that are made seriously so that appropriate action can be taken,” said Kate Lucadamo, Johnson’s spokeswoman.
She said the council would not comment on an internal EEO matter “to ensure the integrity of its EEO process.”
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