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Discrimination suit against Macejko to proceed



Published: Wed, August 24, 2011 @ 12:09 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

jgoodwin@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A U.S. Northern District judge has cleared the way for a discrimination suit against city Prosecutor Jay Macejko, filed by an assistant prosecutor, to go before a jury in October.

Bassil Ally, an assistant city prosecutor and a “devout Muslim,” filed a lawsuit in U.S. Northern District Court in 2009 against the city, former Mayor Jay Williams, Law Director Iris Guglucello and Macejko claiming he had been harassed because of his faith and Middle Eastern descent. He also said Macejko threatened his job because he took a late lunch at 1:30 p.m. every Friday to go to his mosque.

The city asked to have the case thrown out of court and requested to have recordings made by Ally of conversations between Ally and co-workers placed under seal. Judge Christopher A. Boyko of U.S. Northern District Court subsequently removed Williams and Guglucello from the suit and placed the transcripts of the recorded conversations under seal, but allowed the case against Macejko and the city to move forward.

Daniel M. Connell, a Cleveland-based attorney representing Ally, said the ruling means Ally will get his day in court.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling. Mr. Ally gets to pursue his claims of discrimination and retaliation against the city and against Jay Macejko. He is very much looking forward to having his day in court,” said Connell.

The federal suit says Ally was subjected to comments regarding his religion and national origin. It claims a co-worker inquired whether Ally could have some of his friends in al-Qaida blow up the state of Pennsylvania. Another city employee, the suit claims, inquired whether Ally needed to be checked for bombs.

Ally, who has been an assistant city prosecutor for nearly seven years, contends that at the inception of his employment he informed his supervisors that an accommodation to his weekly work schedule would need to be made so he could attend his weekly religious services every Friday.

Initially, and for a period of approximately two years, Ally’s request for an accommodation to his work schedule was met primarily because he was the prosecutor assigned to a courtroom where court was not in session Friday afternoons. The suit claims that all changed when Macejko called a Friday afternoon meeting and informed Ally if he did not attend he would be fired.

Ally attended his religious service instead of the meeting and was placed on administrative leave. Ally filed a charge of religious discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission shortly thereafter and was brought back to work.

Ally, in his suit, contends that he was burdened with harassing behavior in the office after filing the religious-discrimination charge including a change in courtroom assignment to a court that regularly meets Friday afternoons.

The city, in its response to the complaint, denies any and all claims made in the complaint. A request for Macejko to comment was not returned Tuesday.

Transcripts say Ally, when asking for accommodations to attend religious services in the new court assignment, was told “that’s life” and that he was only thinking of himself and not the burden to other office staff.

The suit goes on to say Macejko repeatedly castigated Ally for filing the discrimination charges.


Comments

1muf65fin(27 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Macejko is a cry baby!
Is Gains his next target?
Is there still Christmas?

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2johnyoung(238 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding Macejko's questionable methods. More details will come as the campaign for county prosecutor heats up. This self-proclaimed peoples' advocate of morality will cost the city a good deal of money in settling this discrimination suit.

Sounds like he attended the same personnel management school as ex Trumbull County Engineer DeChristofaro.

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3southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

What is wrong with this country? We must always be careful not to offend anyone - get over it. Macejko find another job if you don't like where you work.

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4TheMuny(2 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

The truth will come out in the end Jay Macejko is a good man with a family and interests in our town, it is sad that as soon as someone runs for public office that here come all the people that supposedly know the dirt, almost always they know nothing, but they certainly like to see themselves post. What a joke!!! Go forth Jay and save the day!!

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5300(553 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree that he should not be given Friday afternoons off due to his religion, the same way if a case needed work done on a Sunday it shouldn't matter if the person planned on attending mass or not.

On the other hand, the fact that the city wants recordings sealed means that this guy definitely endured harassing behavior. For that he deserves compensation, and Macejko deserves anything that comes his way.

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6johnyoung(238 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

@ the Muny:

Jay will certainly go forth, forth from his current government job after he "saves the day" for the plaintiff through his responsibility for a large settlement, with his employer footing the bill.

Public entities must provide reasonable accommodations in avoiding discriminatory work practices. Freedom to practice religion is a constitutional right, whether one appreciates the Muslim religion or not.The issue that they once provided the plaintiff with the accommodation to attend religious service and then arbitrarily ceased the accommodation is telling. Then the issue with the harassing statements by employees is yet another issue.

This is not about whether some assistant prosecutor was getting over by not working his allotted hours. This is about discrimination and harassment, two practices that all citizens are protected against.

The City and Macejko both have dirty hands on this one. If you don't believe me...just wait and see !

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7One_Who_Stayed(236 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

@johnyoung

I wonder if I "inform" my employer that I need every Friday off for my religious purposes that he will be required to do so. . . .

Last I checked, the state of Ohio is an "at-will employment" state. If you cant do the job, they are free to fire you. Just because you hide behind the cloak of religion, doesn't make it ok for you to dictate terms to your employer and then sue them when they fire you for it.

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8johnyoung(238 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

@ One_Who_Stayed:

Ohio, just like every other place in the nation, is subject to Title VII of the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. Check out the following link to the EEO website; there is an example given that is right on point with this situation. You also must have attended the DeChristofaro Personnel Management School.

http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/backlashemp...

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9Nom_De_Plume(54 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

There must be so much more to this story. I'm not buying that the recordings necessarily contain damaging statements. A review if the federal docket shows that the motion to seal the case was a stipulated joint motion. So, both sides agreed to have the information sealed.

Also, the decision from the judge dismisses the vast majority of the claims. It actually looks like the case is falling apart. I'm not quite ready to say that anything wrong or unlawful happened here.

Finally, as to "JohnYoung's" points, the law says reasonable accommodation, not ALL accommodation.

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10Nom_De_Plume(54 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and by the way, "JohnYoung," wouldn't this time be better spent working on a real degree from YSU?

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11Citizensforjustice(13 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, obviously there was sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. You know how judges are usually quite protective of those who hold similar credentials. Surprising.

Macejko needs to be fired or put on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation to clean up the city. Macejko's power has gone to his head.

My guess is that there is more out there than this simple case.

Why was it OK for Ally's religious observance for the first 2 years of his employment but there was an abrupt change? Something smells.

Where do I sign up to campaign AGAINST this guy? Do we really need more corruption in the Mahoning County legal system?

Sounds like he was trying to extort ,or at the very least threaten, this employee.

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12commoncitizen(959 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Ally can't work on Fri afternoons?? (did he get paid for the time off) Then he should not be working at this place of employment--let him find a job that gives him the days he wants to work.
If you worked with this guy and had to put up with this crap every week would you be happy? I'm sure some of the other employees would like to take Fridays off also.

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13johnyoung(238 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

@ Nom_De_Plume:

Tell you what: You drop your "pseudo name", and I'll drop mine. Your suspicions as to my identity, I must tell you, are wrong.

A review of your previous comments, however, reveals that your current events interest lies in one concentration: Paul Gaines bashing. Therefore, I suspect that you are either Macejko, or one of his minions. Which is fine; you have a constitutional right to express your opinion here regardless of who you are. But remember, I also have the right to express my opinion, from an informed perspective, regarding an individual who I believe is not what he portends to be. Believe me, this discrimination case is not going to end well for Mr. Macejko, or for the city.

Time to study now.....

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14HOFcity(14 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Mr Ally took a late lunch every Friday (1:30)to attend his mosque. It further states court was not in session,Did he return to work, or was he gone the rest of the day? I smell something rotten in Youngstown!

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15YtownParent(276 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Attorney Ally did not dictate the terms of his employment, he "informed his supervisors" -if there was a problem with the request then the city could have hired someone else up front. It wasn't a problem. Ally’s request for an accommodation to his work schedule was met" for about two years. I don't see a compelling reason for changing it, which is probably why the case is going forward.

Anyone working at Target, Walmart, BJ Allen, Family Dollar or Lordstown has the right to ask for any accommodation when hired, whether for religious services, family obligations or mental health (some people shouldn't go to work on Monday mornings). If the company still hires them and makes the accommodation, any employee would expect, and should be able to expect, the accommodation to continue.

Disclaimer: Personally, my wife dealt with Attorney Ally when her son got lead poisoning from the negligence of a Ytown slumlord. Ally actually took it to court and let the slumlord talk his way into contempt and two weeks in prison. The slumlord plead guilty and was then sentenced the maximum fine and the maximum reporting probation. My opinion would remain the same no matter who the employee or employee were, but I'm not exactly unbiased as I've seen Basil Ally do his job. I cannot say that about many others at city hall.

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16crimelander(122 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

/ Disclaimer: Personally, my wife dealt with Attorney Ally when her son got lead poisoning from the negligence of a Ytown slumlord. /

Are you / your wife sure your son got lead poisoning because of the slumlord?

You have to eat quite a bit of lead paint to accomplish such.

It's way more probable that the cause of the lead poisoning.

As you can see from Ytown's water report:

Lead (ug/l)
0.0
15 AL
<5
<5
NO
2008
Household Plumbing Corrosion

source: http://www.youngstownwater.com/water-...

That's lead in the public water supply. The concentration in an old house is much higher.

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17Citizensforjustice(13 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I hope you don't need a Muslim to heal you in the hospital or argue a case for you in court in the future. I wouldn't want you to get blown up along the way. How sad that this is the mentality of individuals in the 21st century. Free speech permits such comments, but I wish we could overcome this type of thinking in the valley if we ever expect to move foward.

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18dennycrain(22 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

PEOPLE! The current Youngstown city prosecutor is a RACIST BIGOTTED JERK! It is who and what he is! He scheduled the 2:00 PM Friday afternoon meeting with his staff with the SPECIFIC INTENT of firing Attorney Basil Ally, knowing that Ally would be unable to attend at 2:00 PM because of his religious OBLIGATION! The prosecutor had given his WORD when Ally came on staff that he could use his LUNCH time for religious observance on Fridays and then WENT BACK ON THAT WORD!! In addition, Attorney Ally has ON TAPE, demeaning and denigrating comments by the prosecutor directed at Ally, EVIDENCE of what a JERK the prosecutor is! And he wants to be the Mahoning County Prosecutor??? NO WAY IN HELL!! I do NOT like Paul Gains BUT, he is not a RACIST BIGOTTED JERK and I am going to vote for him to get the Mahoning County Democratic Party endorsement! I am RICK BERGER, and I am a Democratic Precint committeeman and I approve of this comment!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHALOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! "Make a Difference" Semper Fi!

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