School of Professional Studies

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


School of Professional Studies

Chief Instructor

Mary Piecewicz


In the city of Newark, New Jersey, Sebrevious Scott, a participant in the New Jersey Reentry program was hired as part-time office assistant in the city's re-entry office. After being transferred to the city’s Parks and Grounds Departments, she started being sexually harassed, inappropriately touched and propositioned by her supervisor, Richard Kirkland. Scott made repeated attempts to report these actions through the appropriate channels. She was met with dismissal, resistance, and later retaliation. While working in this hostile environment she was also pursuing a full-time employment opportunity with the city upon the completion of the reentry program. Unfortunately, this never came to fruition due to the behavior of her supervisor and other city staff. Scott eventually filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Following this filing and after two leaves of absences, Scott was notified that she had been terminated from her job. In performing this case study, the goal is to address the pervasive incidents of harassment taking place in municipal government. It will illustrate the challenges that victims face when trying to seek relief and how for vulnerable populations, e.g., part time, low wage, minority, and women employees the challenges are far greater. A discussion on how power dynamics play a major role along with workplace culture and male-dominated leadership teams contribute to this problem. An emphasis on strengthening policies and procedures will be reviewed, as well as a focus on the job environment and diversifying employees. Not only are these cases costly to municipalities regarding legal fees and other related expenditures, but it also has an adverse effect on employee morale, public trust in government, and general safety.



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