Connecticut Mayor Heading to Mediation in Harassment Claim
Thursday, January, 29, 2015
Joseph Maturo Jr., the Mayor of East Haven, Connecticut, has agreed to confidential mediation proceedings with former city employee Francine Carbone over her accusations of sexual harassment. The decision came after the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities concluded its investigation into the matter, finding reasonable cause to continue investigating the charges. The stated purpose of the mediation is to settle the case outside of court.
The Commission's decision to investigate further should not be taken as evidence that the harassment actually occurred, however. The standard for prompting an investigation is necessarily much lower than the standard for a court decision or criminal charges.
Francine Carbone was a secretary in the Town Hall offices from 1997 until her termination in 2014. She claims that while she was doing routine job duties in 2013, Maturo entered her office and exposed himself. She also claims he created a hostile work environment for her based on her sex, and that her termination was directly caused by her rejection of Maturo’s advances. Mayor Maturo has denied all of her allegations.
Carbone filed a federal lawsuit under the Family and Medical Leave Act, naming the town itself as defendant. That case is on a separate track and is still pending. It will not be affected by the outcome of the mediation.
There is no time limit on the mediation proceedings, but only the first round is officially scheduled. If no settlement is reached Carbone will still have the option of filing suit against the Mayor personally.