New Hyde Park limo service loses sexual harassment lawsuit

A former employee at the New Hyde Park office of U.S. Limousine Service, LTD. will receive more than $700,000 after winning a civil rights lawsuit in which she said her boss fired her for refusing his sexual advances.

Geralyn Ganci, 32, a dispatcher for the company, filed lawsuit in 2009 for $5 million against the company and her former supervisor, Raymond Townsend. Last week, Ganci received a ruling of $550,000 in compensation and $170,000 in legal fees.

Ganci’s complaint painted a pattern of rampant harassment lasting more than a year, during which time Townsend left Ganci explicit messages at all hours, made repeated comments — including around other employees — about being obsessed with her breasts, and made unwanted physical advances, according to court documents.

Ganci, a Nassau County resident, said the tone and content of the messages reflected that “I should not reject [Townsend’s] advances otherwise my job would be in jeopardy.” He also sent her an explicit picture of his “lap,” saying this is what you do to me, according to her complaint.

She was fired in February 2009 following an encounter in the bathroom in which she allegedly spurned Townsend’s unwanted physical advances, her complaint said. A text message said Townsend fired her because she “refused to have sex with the general manager,” court documents say.   

The defense responded to the complaint by denying most of the charges.

A jury found in favor of Ganci, who said she feared losing her job or causing marital strife for her friend if she reported the harassment, leading to severe emotional distress.

Townsend’s wife also worked at the company, and Ganci had attended their wedding, court documents say.

Last week, a federal judge finalized the ruling, awarding Ganci $450,000 in compensatory damages against U.S. Limousine and Townsend and $100,000 in punitive damages against the company, in addition to the legal fees.

U.S. Limousine Service’s New Hyde Park office is located at 1827 Gilford Ave. Townsend no longer works for the company, the New York Post reported.  

“We are pleased with the jury verdict and to have gotten justice for Ms. Ganci,” Ms. Gianci’s attorney, Debra Wabnik, told the Post.

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James Galloway

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