A judge has tossed a former New York state lawyer’s suit claiming he was fired for cooperating with the probe into sexual harassment allegations against ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Craig Herskowitz — who worked as an assistant counsel in the governor’s Manhattan office — filed suit in April, claiming he was fired in retaliation because he “corroborated” some of the accusations against Cuomo in an April 1, 2021, interview with New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
Herskowitz, 41, who was canned that August, also claimed he was a victim of “reverse sex discrimination,” after he joked about the alleged harassment with an executive assistant in his office.
But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Dakota Ramseur granted a bid by the state to have the suit dismissed, rejecting Herskowitz’s arguments that he was both a victim of sex discrimination and retaliation.
Ramseur said he “fails to allege” that the female executive assistant “was treated more favorably” than he was.
And his interview with the AG’s office and his firing four months later on Aug. 12, 2021, were “too far removed” from each other to show a “causal connection” that he was retaliated against, Ramseur found.
James released a report on Aug. 3 accusing Cuomo of sexually harassing 11 women. Cuomo has denied the allegations but stepped down in disgrace a week later.
Herskowitz claims that when the report came, the executive assistant joked that she “felt left out because the governor never sexually harassed her.” And Herskowitz jokingly responded that she “should have come forward with the information because it would have cleared Gov. Cuomo of the allegations against him,” the suit claimed.
Then three days later, Herskowitz was questioned about whether he’d received anti-harassment training and he was fired by Cuomo’s acting counsel, who told him the office had a “zero-tolerance policy” toward sexual harassment amid the accusations that Cuomo was facing and the AG’s probe.
Herskowitz’ lawyer Chaya Gourarie said her client “will definitely be appealing this decision” adding that it was “wrong as a matter of law.”
“The judge applied the standard for reviewing summary judgment motions rather than the standard for reviewing motions to dismiss,” the lawyer said.