MCAD Digest: Picco v. Town of Reading…Employee Wins Sexual Harassment Case

Overview: In Picco v. Town of Reading, the MCAD found in favor of the Complainant and awarded emotional distress damages. This is the MCAD’s second decision in 2016. Although this case began based on causes of action for sexual orientation and perceived sexual orientation, the hearing officer noted that the evidence presented at public hearing did not show that the Complainant is gay or was perceived as such. The MCAD noted that “[s]uch a discrepancy is not fatal, however, because the crux of the charge is that Complainant was subjected to homophobic names and a sexual assault by Lt. Stamatis.” In doing so, the hearing officer concluded that the Complainant stated a claim for sexual harassment based on the homophobic slurs directed at him.

Decision Date: February 26, 2016

Docket Number: 10-BEM-00986

Hearing Officer: Betty E. Waxman

Claims: Employment discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation, hostile work environment, and sexual harassment

Prevailing Party: Complainant

Back Pay: $0

Front Pay: $0

Emotional Distress: $7,000

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