NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Mayor Bill de Blasio said that every person who makes a claim of sexual harassment has the right to be believed. However, he also said at times city workers file complaints of all kinds and they may have ulterior motives.
"On many fronts, we get a certain number of complaints that are not real," the mayor said, referring to complaints filed by employees with the city Department of Education for a host of alleged infractions.
He said that out of all of the city agencies the DOE has a culture of people making false claims of wrongdoing.
"We need to address that culture reality within the DOE," he said. "It's a thorny issue."
The mayor was asked about complaints on the heels of news reports examining sexual harassment complaints within the DOE. De Blasio responded by addressing the general history of all types of complaints—not just sexual harassment.
"It is a known fact that there's been a bit of a hyper complaint dynamic—sometimes for the wrong reasons," de Blasio said. "And I think that's inflated their numbers."
New York City records show that out of about 1,300 sexual harassment complaints by city workers between 2014 and 2017, DOE employees filed 471. Of those, seven were substantiated, 14 unsubstantiated, and 249 were withdrawn.
Criminal defense attorney Julie Rendelman said that despite the #MeToo movement empowering some women and men, most are still hesitant to come forward. She said many victims fear that they will be embarrassed and not believed.