Lancaster bus drivers claim workplace harassment

LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – In Lancaster, bus drivers say the district’s transportation supervisor has subjected them to an abusive work environment.

On Monday, supporters and drivers rallied across from the high school. The group says at least six women have filed a state or federal complaint claiming they have been bullied and harassed by Robert Mowry.

Some of the women claim sexual harassment, while others allege disability harassment, others say it is a misogynistic attitude held by the transportation supervisor that is creating an abusive work environment.

But a bus driver News 4 spoke to says Mowry “runs a tight ship” and that some of the complainants are “overly sensitive.”

“They take things the wrong way,” said Linda Crosetta. “But when things were working in their favor, they were all for the things he was doing. And when they’re not working in their favor, then they get disgruntled.”

Gina Scaglione countered, “Until they walk in our shoes and have been through what we have been through, coming to work sick every day, scared to death and intimidated, they have no right to say a thing.”

Lancaster Superintendent Mike Vallely told News 4 that to date, there have been no findings of discrimination, harassment or retaliation. He says if there were, that employee would have been terminated.

The man representing the group of women says this may qualify as status-blind harassment, which isn’t technically illegal.

Michael Schlicht of NY Health Workplace Advocates explained, “Status blind harassment is when a person is being harassed but you can’t attribute it to a protected class, meaning you’re not bullying a person based on a person being female, sexual orientation, marriage, disability, some of those types of things.”

Scaglione says bottom line, Mowry is a bully.

“He harasses a lot of women and I’ve seen several women come out of his office crying,” she said.

But Crosetta defends Mowry.

She said, “You know how it is when you have a workplace with a lot of different types of personalities. You’re always going to get different reactions to the same messages.”

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