A gender discrimination lawsuit against the Town of Chester moves to mandatory mediation next month.
Loretta (Lori) Streichert, a former employee of the Chester Recreation Department, alleges town officials treated her unfairly in their hiring and salary decisions.
She is being represented by civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman.
"As per standard protocol in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the case has been referred to mandatory mediation, which will be held in mid-December 2019," Sussman said in an email.
Mediation is intended to help both parties reach a voluntary settlement as a way to avoid the delays and costs associated with litigation. During this process, the parties and their attorneys meet with a mediator, who hears the demands of both sides. Everything said in mediation is confidential.
Streichert's lawsuit says she was appointed full-time recreation coordinator at 80 percent of the hourly salary associated with a full-time position, and 85 percent of the rate a man in the recreation department received.
When she took on added duties as director of the new senior citizen/recreation center, she was paid at a lower percentage than any of the men serving in the same or similar positions, according to the suit. She was also passed over for the job of director for the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, which was given to Walter Popailo, who got a lower score on the civil service test than Streichert did. Town officials also gave Popailo advanced notice that she didn't get on when interviews would be conducted, according to the suit.
Sheel Patel of the Morris, Duffy and Alanzo law firm is representing the town.
Alex Jamieson was supervisor the first time the town hired Walter Popailo, and Robert Valentine was supervisor the second time the town hired Popailo.
The suit asks for pecuniary damages and attorney's fees. The Vero Agency of Chester is handling the insurance claim on behalf of the town.
Editor's note: This article has been revised from the original.