Teacher Sues Principal at P.S. 15Q and New York City Department of Education
Queens, NY, June 24, 2013 – New York City teacher, Shaunte Penniston filed a suit on June 24, 2013, against the New York City Department of Education and Antonio K’Tori, Principal at P.S. 15Q. Ms. Penniston has allegedly endured not only sexual advances and discrimination at her job but also the negative retaliation of Mr. K’Tori after rebuffing him and filing complaints with the New York City Department of Education regarding his inappropriate conduct.
Ms. Penniston claims she has been harassed by Mr. K’Tori since before her first day of school. The principal allegedly flirted with Ms. Penniston while she was setting up her classroom. Things had already escalated by the first day of school when Mr. K’Tori allegedly told Penniston that she was pretty and asked a male student if he agreed with that opinion. Continuing the onslaught of unwanted attention in February 2012, K’Tori told Penniston that she could not maintain a social life because she would be spending all her time with him after school and on weekends. He also stated that he had the power to make Ms. Penniston’s time at P.S. 15Q "miserable" but that she would be fine if she did what she was "supposed to do." She rebuffed his advance and Mr. K’Tori began a pattern of retaliatory behavior.
While Ms. Penniston has reached out to the New York City Department of Education, the UFT, and the New York City Office of Equal Opportunity to help her address these allegations of harassment and retaliation, none of these organizations has been able to give Ms. Penniston respite and The Department of Education has denied her a transfer, effectively requiring her to work in a hostile work environment. Once Mr. K’Tori was informed of Penniston’s complaints, he proceeded to retaliate even more, causing Ms. Penniston considerable discomfort in her position at the school, and routinely subjecting her to disciplinary meetings. He went so far as to engage other school professionals to lie about Ms. Penniston so he could create negative notes in her permanent record. Ms. Penniston now has numerous erroneous complaints logged in her permanent record.
"Ms. Penniston has faced unfair treatment at the hand of Mr. K’Tori and the New York City Department of Education, and we are seeking to solve this problem once and for all," says Ms. Penniston’s attorney Thomas Ricotta, partner at White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C. "She deserves to work in a safe environment, free from unwanted advances and unwarranted retaliation. Mr. K’Tori and the Department of Education have continued to subject Ms. Penniston to a hostile work environment and we intend to help her free herself from this caustic environment."
About the White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C., Group
The law office of White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C., focuses expressly on employment law and discrimination in the workplace (www.queensemploymentattorney.com). The boutique group operates a main office in Jackson Heights, NY, and an additional office in Westbury, Long Island. They serve clients in Manhattan, Astoria, Bayside, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Howard Beach, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Douglaston, Great Neck and Little Neck, as well as in the boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and throughout Nassau County.