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Nov 21, 2017 2:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa Settles Discrimination Lawsuit

Southampton Town Police Headquarters
Nov 28, 2017 11:54 AM

Southampton Town and Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa have settled a gender discrimination lawsuit, in which Det. Sgt. Costa alleged that she had been unfairly passed over for promotions and was sexually harassed as a female cop.

Kelly Magnuson, an attorney with Burke, Scolamiero & Hurd, LLP, a law firm in Albany, who is representing Det. Sgt. Costa, said her client came to the settlement with town officials. Ms. Magnuson would not disclose the amount of the agreement, noting that it was a “confidential settlement.”

The case was dismissed with prejudice on September 14, meaning that it is permanently closed.

Town Attorney James Burke also declined to discuss the details of the settlement, pointing to the confidentiality agreement. “I’m not at liberty to say too much about it,” he said.

He noted that the settlement did not indicate an admission of guilt on either side of the legal battle.

Det. Sgt. Costa filed the lawsuit in 2014 against the town, claiming that she was denied promotions and special assignments in favor of male officers. The complaint detailed several instances of sexual harassment by other department officers and how she was passed over for promotions by male officers on several occasions, even though she was qualified for the job.

Det. Sgt. Costa was hired as a seasonal officer in 1999 and quickly began climbing the ranks: She was promoted to a full-time police officer in 2000, a detective in 2005, and a sergeant in 2006. But at that point she hit the “glass ceiling” at the department, according to the complaint.

“She is still employed there,” Ms. Magnuson noted of her client on Tuesday. “She hopes to continue, and she hopes she will be promoted to lieutenant—like she should be.”

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The stupid taxpayer yet again is duped into paying a whining crybaby who didn't get her way. Get a life
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 22, 17 12:04 AM
Just love when ignorant racially biased people gets mad when a qualified person protests their ability to be treated equally. If it was your wife , daughter would you hide like you do now . Whiner is your name
By 1percent (52), Quogue on Nov 22, 17 3:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
It should be unlawful for settlements between the town and public employees to be confidential. The citizens/taxpayers have a right to know how much of their money was given to the plaintiff.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Nov 22, 17 1:13 AM
I believe in society and didn't think of that this time. Brainwashed to just settle. I agree, if you take a job in public service and have a grievance, sue the public, the public has a right to know the settlement.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 17 10:16 PM
More waste of taxpayers $$$$$$$$$$$$$ on a useless whiner that didn't get her way. Several Southampton cops, male and female have told me that she is an embarassment to the force with absolutely no skills!
By mtkfishman (76), montauk on Nov 22, 17 8:01 AM
Issues it possible that she's an embarrassment to the force with absolutely no skills who was passed over for assignments and promotions because she was a woman?

After all, I've met plenty of lieutenants who could be described the same way.
Nov 22, 17 8:10 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
Isn't it possible
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 22, 17 8:10 AM
I’m sure all the good hard working police officers in the town must be amazed at what she pulled over on the people of the town. She Should Be In Cuffs... From Temp Cop to Sgt, with a stop at Detective. In Less then 7 years!!!! you must be kidding me that she was discriminated against. What a Joke.. How many males with over 20 plus years on the Police Department Are still Police Officers.. The tax payer should know what was involved in the settlement. This is a Total Disgrace and a slap ...more
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 17 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
I agree whole heartily,7 years common.I'm sick and tired of everyone playing i was discriminated.You rose to fast in the ranks as it was.Go to another Town.
By Shout ot loud (20), Southampton on Dec 5, 17 10:29 PM
She is a hero and shoujld be touted as such by anyone with daughters or sisters. What is the percentage of women vs men on the force? R there any women lieutenants? It's time we pay attention to what women say - just watch the news to see how many women r dissed for speaking out, whether gender discrimination, harrassment or abuse. Been there, done that.
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Nov 22, 17 11:42 AM
"What is the percentage of women vs men on the force? "

What should it be?
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Nov 22, 17 3:02 PM
I always wonder when a settlement is reached if there is not some truth to the story. Why would the Town even consider a settlement if there was no discrimination or harassment?
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Nov 22, 17 12:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think it's more of he said/she said. There's no way to prove what happened, therefore no right or wrong. With the legal system it means settle. She's buying a condo and a new car now. Congratulations...
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 17 10:20 PM
Sgt Costa is a dedicated professional who’s work ethic is second to none. More importantly, she’s a good person.

The Town set the stage for this and many other lawsuits by giving tacit approval for the bad behavior of some of their managers/officials. They allowed two sets of standards be applied to male and female employees and ignored complaints of sexually charged conduct which created a hostile work environment.

Faced with the real possibility of being slapped ...more
By Summerfun46 (10), HAMPTON bays on Nov 22, 17 4:16 PM
The correct translation is “We screwed the pooch and now you have to pay.”
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Nov 23, 17 9:53 AM
If Lt. Keirnan was a woman he would have been thrown off the force years ago. It's about time the old-boy school gets slapped.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Nov 23, 17 7:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
Lt Keirnan LIED to Suff County PD internal affairs investigators and got caught. In any other police dept he would have been FIRED. Why would anyone believe anything he says?
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Nov 25, 17 7:01 AM
Costa is the only Intelligent one in that place, she should have been promoted to Lt rather than Kiernan and he deserves to be in handcuffs. The admin of that place is the laughing stock of the police world, between schurek, Kiernan and Spencer the new Chief has his work cut out for him. That’s the old boys club still in full effect and not a brain between any of them.
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 23, 17 11:46 AM
Oh please you people sound like morons. This woman makes 150k a year with full benefits working a hundred seventy days a year. She will get half to three-quarter pay for the rest of her life when she retires plus full benefits. Taxpayers should be doing the lawsuit against all these greedy Municipal workers and there illegal deals with politicians
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 23, 17 1:00 PM
2 members liked this comment
So you are saying because she makes a good salary and has a good retirement, she should shut up and put up with sexual harassment?
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Nov 23, 17 7:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sexual harassment accusations should be taken seriously and investigated in any organization. None one should get a pass. To look the other way and ignore it is unacceptable. Good for Sargent Costa for having the courage to stand up for what is right. PAB
By patricia Brennan (8), San Jose on Nov 23, 17 10:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By patricia Brennan (8), San Jose on Nov 23, 17 10:52 PM
Sgt. Costa is a hard-working, dedicated police officer who has continued to serve Southampton Town despite the discrimination and sexual harassment she faced on the force. The town's willingness to settle is confirmation that her charges were based in fact. You naysayers out there should work as hard as she does. Get a life!!!
By samesta (3), Water Mill on Nov 24, 17 4:15 PM
Get a Life...Why you getting so personal. Oh maybe she let you go on a parking ticket.. She doesn’t deserve to be getting any tax payers money for baseless claims. I’m appalled that the town settle with her. As I said before how many white males are still Police Officer in the Department??? But this lady went from temp cop to Sgt with a stop at Detective in less then 10 years.. That’s what needs to be investigated. Unreal
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Nov 24, 17 4:55 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tomjulie (43), Hampton Bays on Nov 24, 17 4:56 PM
The misogynistic behavior of these miscreants will not be tolerated and woman shall be silent no more!

Sgt. Costa’s claims were validated during a lengthy discovery process during which a dozen current and former Town officials were deposed. If Costa’s claim was “baseless” the Town would have never settled.

As for the the pace at which she was promoted during the first ten years of her career..maybe she just plain deserved it.
By Summerfun46 (10), HAMPTON bays on Nov 24, 17 5:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Summerfun46 (10), HAMPTON bays on Nov 24, 17 5:58 PM
Stories of sexual harassment have come from being a dirty little secret to headline news in the blink of an eye. Remember when you were at that office party and that creepy, drunk guy that works in accounting grabbed your ass or leered at your cleavage? Yeah, me too. Remember what you did? Yep, I did the same thing...Told a friend, made a joke, slapped his hand or went home. There were no repercussions, no HR complaint filed, no telling it to your boss. Why?

My generation ( I just ...more
By Summerfun46 (10), HAMPTON bays on Nov 25, 17 1:42 PM
Sexual harassment should not be tolerated in any scenario, I also agree that the guilty should be brought to justice. Something wrong with s quiet monetary settlement. This Detective handled the Diner, yet never interviewed the owner, and that too is suspect to how it was handled. She deserves to be compensated for any pain she endured, yet she doesn’t conduct her investigations in the same fashion. In closing the world would be better if we treated others as we like to be treated.
By Bohay (18), Watermill on Nov 25, 17 2:09 PM
The MEAN streets of Southampton. These cops have it made in the shade. Overpaid and overweight. One level above a security guard. Never happy. MORE, MORE MORE. Sue the taxpayer because I am a female and somebody told a dirty joke. La Costa how much did you make last year? GREED. When will this crybaby crap end. Pity the taxpayer. La Costa go home and count your money.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Nov 25, 17 9:55 PM
I don't understand where you learned it was a "dirty joke" that sparked the lawsuit, do you know something we don't?
Nov 27, 17 5:20 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
Also, I'm not saying I'm more of a citizen, which is a legal status, I'm saying I'm more American (unless you're a member of the military), which is a state of mind.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 27, 17 5:20 AM
A bunch of whiners that need to go. We have men and women serving this country in a war making a fraction of what this lady makes. This woman makes more money than most of the taxpayers in her town for doing basically and easy job.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 27, 17 12:28 AM
Where exactly does Sgt. Costa need to go?

If any of those men or women were sexually harassed they would have legal recourse, why shouldn't Sgt. Costa?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 27, 17 5:19 AM
She should stay or do what ever comforts her. Once again I’ll repeat, people should treat others as they wish to be treated. Detective Costa should conduct her investigations with the same respect that she deserved and was compensated for. Shame if she watches people’s lives being ruined as she knows how painful that is. Once again , treat others as you would like to be treated. Golden Rule!
By Bohay (18), Watermill on Nov 27, 17 9:52 AM
What qualifications did Costa have to become a law enforcement officer: education, college, 4 year degree, job experience, military veteran ? Was she physically qualified? Did she get the job as a result of cronyism or nepotism like so many others? How many arrests has she made during her police career,100, 200? Is she the house mouse and never leaves the station house. Is she or was she the PIO? Was she the DARE officer and spend time in the elementary school? Anybody know?
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Nov 27, 17 9:56 PM
That's a lot of questions. I have my own: How is any of that relevant?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 28, 17 9:10 AM
Once again people, someone settled to cover up. As far as the good Sgt is concerned, I’m very suspicious of how she handles HER cases.
By Bohay (18), Watermill on Nov 28, 17 9:57 AM
Would have been much better if this had gone to trial and the individuals found guilty of the harassment get the bill personally. If the harassment was done by other officers, give the bill to the union.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Nov 28, 17 1:49 PM
The phrase you're looking for is "employer liability for employee's acts" and it makes sense when you consider that an individual might be judgement-proof (read: poor).

Where the act is sufficiently tied to an employee's work (like discrimination in distributing job assignments or deciding promotions) there is a long history of enforcing employer liability, but where the employee departs from their work sufficiently (like if an officer robbed a 7/11 during their shift) then liability is ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 28, 17 2:07 PM
The struggling Hampton Bays parents raising children will have to pay for this frivolous lawsuit. Costa, have you no conscience? Is money your God? If not, donate your share of the settlement to the needy.
By P. Revere (152), hampton Bays on Nov 28, 17 7:34 PM
Um...it's Southampton town police so everyone in SH town pays, not just parents in HB, right?

Why wouldn't she be entitled to compensation for gender discrimination?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 6:33 AM
A lot of qualified people that do a good job don't get promoted, especially when there are several candidates to choose from. I agree that this should have gone to trial as somebody else pointed out. We will never know the specifics.
By pigroast (100), East Quogue on Nov 29, 17 4:36 PM
Because the discovery process would have been embarrassing, most likely.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 29, 17 4:49 PM
When have town attorneys not settled? It's the only thing they know how to do. New case.. settle. Wish my job was like that.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Nov 30, 17 4:59 AM
Attorneys have a fiduciary duty to their clients that includes minimizing the cost of litigation. It may have been malpractice to go to trial on an obviously losing case.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 30, 17 6:14 AM
I am happy if due process has been justified. Detective Costa should receive what was determined. Once again she should give the same respect to her investigations. That’s my problem. She helped the Diner investigation, and that term I use loosely, helped destroy a business, families yet never questioned the principals. Shame on a woman who believed in the system when it aided her.

By Bohay (18), Watermill on Dec 2, 17 10:44 AM