On May 22, 2009, in the case of Sassaman v. Gamache, Commissioner, Dutchess County Board of Elections, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated the gender discrimination claim of an employee who was forced to resign because another employee accused him of sexual harassment. The Second Circuit is the federal appellate court that covers several states, including New York.
The plaintiff in that case, Carl Thomas Sassaman, worked for the Dutchess County Board of Elections. In March 2005, another Board of Elections employee, Michelle Brant, accused Mr. Sassaman of harassing and stalking her. Mr. Sassaman denied harassing Ms. Brant. He also claimed that she had previously asked him if he was interested in a one-time sexual encounter with her, which he declined.
When Ms. Brant complained about the sexual harassment, the Commissioner of the Board of Election, David Gamache, suggested that Ms. Brant file a complaint with the Dutchess County Prosecutor’s office. The Prosecutor’s office subsequently found insufficient proof that Mr. Sassaman had enaged in a crime.