$750,000 Settlement for Sexual Harassment Claims

September 21, 2000

The State of Connecticut has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle sexual harassment claims of 14 women who said they were mistreated while employees of the State Board of Education and Services for the Blind. The women alleged that a former director of the state agency had a romance with a secretary and created an atmosphere of sexual crudeness at the agency and that he treated blind clients with cruelty and indifference. The settlement averted a threatened class action lawsuit. Attorney Richard Bieder, who represented the women with attorney Antonio Ponvert of the Connecticut law firm Koskoff Koskoff and Bieder, said the state agreed to the settlement to avoid a prolonged lawsuit that would have involved many people still working at the agency. While the state did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, the women's complaints did lead to the director being forced to resign from the state agency.