The city of Cambridge and two women today announced they have settled a workplace- discrimination case that began in the late 1990s, a long-running battle that already has cost the city millions of dollars in a related case.
The city and the women — former Cambridge city lawyer Linda Stamper and current city employee Mary Wong — issued a joint statement declaring an end to the case. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The City of Cambridge, Linda Stamper, and Mary Wong jointly announce that they have resolved their differences with respect to the pending claims brought by Ms. Wong and Ms. Stamper against the City. The parties are all pleased with this amicable outcome,’’ the statement said.
The statement continued: “The City of Cambridge affirms its commitment to diversity and equal opportunity, and to protecting the rights of employees in the workplace. Ms. Wong and Ms. Stamper appreciate the City’s commitment and are satisfied that resolving this matter allows all parties to move forward.’’
While the statement included the names of the women, it did not include the name of City Manager Robert W. Healy, who was in the same post in the late 1990s when Stamper, Wong, and a third woman, Malvina Monteiro, alleged racial discrimination in the workplace and accused city officials — including Healy — of retaliating against them for speaking out about it.
Monteiro eventually won a multi-million-dollar jury verdict in Middlesex Superior Court, a verdict that was upheld by the state Appeals Court in August. With interest and attorneys fees for both sides, the case is expected to cost the city upwards of $10 million.
In the Monteiro case, a judge criticized Healy for what she said was the city manager’s “deliberate, systematic campaign to punish the plaintiff as a reprisal for her effrontery in lodging a discrimination claim.’’
A Middlesex Superior Court trial for Wong and Stamper discrimination allegations was nearing when the agreement was reached.
Wong is executive director of the Cambridge Kids’ Council. A city worker since 1994, she will be leaving city employ later this year, said her attorney, Ellen Zucker. Zucker said Wong remains deeply committed to positive programs for children.
“There are some very exciting initiatives in Boston, New York, and elsewhere in the country she wants to be involved with,’’ Zucker said of Wong. “She now will have the freedom to pursue them. She is very excited about that.’’
Zucker also represents Monteiro and Stamper.
Stamper left City Hall in October 1999 and has since built her own law firm focusing on children in the courts.
“Miss Wong and Miss Stamper, with the resolution of this case, believe that their work is done here,’’ said Zucker, who added she cannot disclose details of the settlement. “It’s really up to the city’s citizens and its leadership to decide what lesson they want to learn from the concerns that were raised, and the resolution, of this matter.’’
Through an aide, Healy declined to comment.