Woman says she was harassed by employer at Rotterdam jewelry shop

A 13 Investigates exclusive: a Schenectady County business owner is facing criminal charges and a lawsuit.

The disturbing allegations are from a former employee of Jewels Jewelry in Rotterdam. She says her boss harassed her, used racial slurs, and sexual innuendo.

The woman says it all started because of who she was dating at the time.

13 Investigates blurred sensitive images in the story, but even the description is shocking.

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By all accounts, Nicholas Andreoli is a fun-loving, generous, successful businessman, based on the photos provided to 13 Investigates.

However, his former employee, Cortnie Costello describes him much differently.

“It’s just demeaning and disgusting,” she said.

Costello worked at Jewels Jewelry until August 2021, when a series of racially motivated and sexually explicit behavior became too much. She says her boss made distasteful jokes about her then-boyfriend, who was Black, including a Black sex toy nailed to the wall, next to her desk.

“It’s just demeaning and disgusting.”

Cortnie Costello

Then there was the despicable name-calling.

“Pardon me, I hate this word, ‘You’re a n***** lover.’ I just don’t like the word,” Costello said.

Costello says she probably should have quit and taken legal action at this point, but she says it took one last humiliating incident for her to fight back.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back was the incident on August 13, [2021],” she said.

According to the lawsuit, “Andreoli approached plaintiff [Costello] from behind and willfully and intentionally yanked her shorts down to her ankles while plaintiff [Costello] lawfully tended to a customer.”

Costello says she was mortified.

“The customer said to me, ‘You look furious.’ I’m like, ‘I can’t believe he just did that,'” she said. “He’s like, ‘Hehe, I just pantsed you.’ I’m like, ‘That’s not funny.’ He and the other employees are laughing.”

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Andreoli is charged with second-degree harassment.

Costello’s attorney, Daniel Smalls, says it’s surprising that’s the only charge. He says Andreoli should have been arrested for forcible touching.

“These are allegations that are extremely serious. These are allegations that are supported by evidentiary material. There are photos, video material. This is something that happened over a course of time. It’s not something that was an isolated incident,” he said.

13 Investigates reached out to the store several times to try to talk to Andreoli. We stopped by Jewels Jewelry on Monday and called the store twice on Tuesday to see if he wanted to comment on the lawsuit or on the criminal charge of harassment against him.

Twice, his employees told us he was not available. Then another time, they just hung up on us.

Meanwhile, a Rotterdam Town Court judge also ordered Andreoli to stay away from Costello.