NEW YORK CITY—Cedar Realty Trust’s CEO and president, Bruce Schanzer, was accused of sexual discrimination by Nancy Mozzachio, the former COO of the company, in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn state court on Thursday.
Mozzachio’s complaint alleges that for several years, up to the date of her termination on February 12, 2016, Schanzer sexually harassed her, creating a hostile work environment. The complaint claims Schanzer regularly leered at Mozzachio’s breasts and made inappropriate comments, including about her breast such as “I see you have double D’s today.”
The pleading claims Schanzer repeated called Mozzachio “babe,” even though he knew this made her uncomfortable. It alleges Schanzer made inappropriate comments to Mozzachio’s husband, Michael Mozzachio, about performing oral sex on his wife Nancy Mozzachio, in her presence.
Nancy Mozzachio had suggested that Schanzer purchase sexual harassment and management software programs, advising him that sexual harassment was prevalent at the company. He responded by becoming irate and yelling at her, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges the chairman of the board at Cedar Realty, Roger Widmann, sexually harassed her and that the CFO, Philip Mays, also behaved inappropriately due to the sexual harassment that was condoned by Schanzer. Mozzachio claims Mays discussed his son’s private parts with female employees, and sent photographs of a female in a body suit to another employee, and made sexual comments.
Mozzachio says she made her complaints about sexual harassment within one week of her termination.
In addition, the complaint alleges that Mozzachio received outstanding performance evaluations throughout her career at Cedar Realty. She was promoted to COO in 2014 and Schanzer has given her a performance evaluation for 2015, rating her as “exceeds expectations.”
However, the complaint states that she was paid less than Mays, and asserts that according to industry standards, the second highest paid executive for companies comparable to Cedar Realty, is the COO, not the CFO. The complaint further states that when Mozzachio complained about her pay compared to Mays, Schanzer expressed displeasure.
GlobeSt.com reached out to Cedar Realty requesting a comment from Schanzer. In response, a company representative provided the following statement to GlobeSt.com. “At Cedar Realty Trust, we are proud of our strong and empowering culture and diverse workforce. We take allegations of this nature very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. As a matter of policy we do not comment on pending litigation. That said, we are confident that the case is entirely without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves against this baseless litigation.”
The defendant has not yet filed a response.
The complaint has been filed at a time when sexual harassment has become a topic of national conversation with the multiple accusations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, President Donald Trump and other nationally known figures.