POINT PLEASANT — Yes, men can be sexually harassed in the workplace, too.

Just ask the guys who worked for this borough’s school district when they say Andrea Giuffrida was kissing, grabbing and groping them.

The accusations cost Giuffrida her job — and now her career. The State Board of Examiners, the government body that regulates teaching credentials in New Jersey, last month voted to permanently revoke Giuffrida’s certifications. She has been a teacher since 1994.

The revocation is a harsher punishment than the one-year suspension that an administrative law judge had recommended.

Giuffrida had appealed the one-year suspension arguing that the accusations were from six years ago and that she had learned her lesson.

Giuffrida had since moved on from Point Pleasant. Pension records indicate she most recently was employed in Perth Amboy at an elementary school where she was earning a base salary of $63,000.

She moved to a new district after several male colleagues in Point Pleasant accused her of inappropriate physical contact and comments.

One man said she placed her hands on a his face and kissed him on the lips in front of others. He said he was embarrassed and told her not to do it again.

Another male colleague said she came up to him, told him that she was having a rough day and hugged and kissed him on the cheek. He said she also would stop by during lunch and say things like “she was not that bad looking for a 40-year-old woman going through menopause and that her breasts were OK, right?”

Another man said while he was showing a secretary a picture of his baby, she passed behind him and pinched his butt.

Responding to the charges before an administrative law judge, Giuffrida denied kissing anyone on the lips or groping buttocks. She admitted that she may have kissed a coworker on the check and said that other conduct was “friendly gestures to coworkers that have been misrepresented.”

The administrative law judge, however, found the accusations credible and her testimony not credible. The judge did not recommend revoking her credentials because the conduct did not involve students.

Hearings on this case began in 2012. It was not clear from the State Board of Examiners decision last month why it took until 2017 for the administrative law judge to issue a decision.

The board nevertheless found the passage of time to be “mere happenstance” and irrelevant.

The judge’s decision was appealed by the Department of Education, which argued that a one-year suspension was too light because she “repeatedly engaged in unwelcome physical contact.”

The state argued that Giuffrida had undergone sexual harassment training before the accusations and that she had lost a month’s pay for similar conduct in the past.

The State Board of Examiners agreed with the deputy attorney general’s arguments.

“Giuffrida systematically engaged in behavior that violated all norms of acceptable conduct in a workplace environment. Moreover, her actions embarrassed and discomfited her colleagues,” the board said in its decision last month. “Her arguments that any penalty is unnecessary because she’s ‘learned her lesson’ or inappropriate because of the length of time are misplaced."

Giuffrida can appeal the decision to the commissioner of education.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to include the correct dateline.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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