Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B7 Date: Friday, September 5, 1997
EX-CLERK FILES HARASSMENT SUITBECHETTA JACKSON Staff writer
A former clerk in the comptroller's office has filed a human rights complaint against the city, charging that she was forced to quit her job due to stress related to harassment by her boss.
Franny Fazioli, 44, of Remsen Street filed the complaint Aug. 21, approximately six weeks after resigning from the job she had held for five months, said her attorney, Randall E. Kehoe of Albany. She alleges that City Comptroller Steven P. Niedbalec persisted in asking her personal questions about ``the men in my life.'' ``She was forced into resigning because of conditions that existed at work,'' Kehoe said. Niedbalec denies the accusations.
``That's absurd,'' he said Wednesday. ``It's an absolute lie.'' Niedbalec said he has no idea why Fazioli would fabricate such a charge. ``It's impossible for me to explain something that never happened,'' he said. Barbara Klar, a spokeswoman at the New York State Division of Human Rights headquartered in New York City, confirmed that the complaint has been filed with the agency. The case is under active investigation, she said. ``We're looking for probable cause. If we find it, an administrative hearing will be held.'' Fazioli's complaint also alleges that deputy comptroller Jeremy Hayes helped to make her working environment ``difficult and stressful,'' Kehoe said. Kehoe did not elaborate. ``We think there are two witnesses who will corroborate her story,'' he said. According to Kehoe, Niedbalec -- over a period of time -- started ``getting into Fazioli's personal life,'' asking questions about men. ``She asked him to stop and he didn't,'' Kehoe said. ``She thought he crossed the line with the comments about why there were no men in her life.'' Meanwhile, the New York State Department of Labor has denied Fazioli unemployment benefits because officials there say she left the job without good cause -- meaning she did not substantiate her claims. Kehoe said he is appealing the decision to terminate his client's claim for unemployment benefits.