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Gay black man has cause to sue Bank of New York over comments, state agency says

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

The state’s Division on Civil Rights has given the green light to a gay black man’s complaint against the Bank of New York, in which he claims he was taunted about his race and sexual orientation, then was fired when he complained.


At least a half dozen other employees at the Hudson County facility where he worked confirmed Paul Nathan’s allegations that a supervisor often called him derogatory names (that won’t be printed here), the agency said, in an opinion that characterized the hostile work environment as “pervasive and ongoing.”

Someone at the office also posted a racially and sexually derogatory photo with a caption and a threat that Nathan would be sodomized with a stick.

Nathan worked for a securities and asset-management business owned by the bank for seven years, starting in April 2000.

His complaint claims that his supervisor, assistant manager Walter Gorski, began the harassment in 2004, and was joined by a vice president, Charles Ferrari.

Two other employees confirmed that Nathan and a black co-worker were often assigned to a room dubbed “the plantation,” where heavy lifting was required.

Nathan filed a formal complaint in 2006, alleging unlawful discrimination based on race and sexual orientation, and was fired on Aug. 8, 2007.

“The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to support a reasonable suspicion that [Nathan] was differentially treated and was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his race and sexual orientation,” the DCR said in a statement.

It added that agency investigators found “reasonable suspicion that [Nathan] was discharged because of his race and/or sexual orientation for complaining about protected activity.”

The case now goes to what’s known as reconciliation. If a settlement cannot be reached, a state administrative law judge would hear the case and could possibly fine the defendants.

The Bank of New York merged in 2007 with Mellon Financial Corp. and is now known as The Bank of New York Mellon. A spokesman denied all the charges.

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