Mirza Orriols (née Negron-Morales), HUD’s Deputy Regional Administrator for New York Found Guilty by EEOC of Repeatedly Intentionally Discriminating Against an Employee in Her Department

(LegalLaw247.com, February 19, 2013 ) New York, NY -- HUD’s Deputy Regional Administrator for New York Found Guilty by EEOC of Repeatedly Intentionally Discriminating Against an Employee in Her Department.

On September 1, 2010, EEOC Judge William Macauley issued a decision in which he found that United States Department of Housing and Urban Development intentionally retaliated against Thomas Saracco, an engineer who formerly worked in HUD’s Office of Public Housing in New York City, in retaliation for a federal lawsuit filed by Mr. Saracco against HUD based on disability (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) discrimination. (Saracco v. HUD, EEOC Hearing No. 520-2009-00104X).

Judge Macauley found that HUD had denied a promotion for Mr. Saracco that had been granted to every other engineer in the country except one. The HUD official centrally responsible for the denial of the promotion was Mirza Negron-Morales (now Orriols), then the Director for New York of HUD’s Office of Public Housing. Judge Macauley found that her testimony in the case was not credible and that the justification she advanced for not promoting Mr. Saracco was "a mere pretext to retaliate" against him.

Less than two weeks later, on September 13, 2010, Adolfo Carrion, Jr., HUD’s Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey, announced that HUD was promoting Negron-Morales to the position of Deputy Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey.

Notably, this was not the first time Judge Macauley had found that Negron-Morales had intentionally discriminated against Mr. Saracco. In a decision dated April 24, 2006, Judge Macauley found that Negron-Morales had retaliated against Mr. Saracco by suspending him on two occasions because he had filed the federal lawsuit and made other complaints of discrimination. (EEOC Case No. 160-2005-00337X) In that decision Judge Macauley found that Negron-Morales directly admitted that she suspended Mr. Saracco in retaliation for his protected conduct and that she "has expressed her retaliatory animus against [Mr. Saracco] on more than one occasion." Further, Judge Macauley determined that "Negron-Morales was preoccupied with [Mr. Saracco’s] EEO history and held retaliatory animus toward him." Finally, Judge Macauley expressly found that "Negron-Morales’ reasons for suspending [Mr. Saracco] were not credible ones."

In June, 2007 HUD placed Mr. Saracco on unpaid administrative leave claiming that a psychiatrist had determined that he was a threat to himself and others. He reached this conclusion after being provided misleading information by Ms. Negron-Morales and others. This included the two suspensions noted above which were ordered expunged by the judge. The psychiatrist never spoke with Mr. Saracco.

Mr. Saracco was required to provide a Fitness for Duty report, which he did. HUD still would not allow Mr. Saracco to return to work. Finally in June, 2008, more than one year after being placed on administrative leave, Mr. Saracco was told he could return to work.

In 2008, Mr. Saracco resigned from HUD and filed an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB Docket Nos.:NY-0752-09-0195-I-1, NY-0752-09-0197-I-1) alleging constructive termination and a suspension of more than 14 days. In 2011, HUD paid Mr. Saracco approximately $700,000 in order to settle that appeal together with the EEOC case.

Mr. Saracco was represented by David N. Mair of Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C. in New York City.

Thomas Saracco

Source: EmailWire.Com
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