Partners Christian V. McOmber and Peter D. Valenzano represent Kendrick Hester and James Waters in a harassment, discrimination, and whistleblower claim against Motor Vehicle Assurance in Toms River, New Jersey. Named defendants in the lawsuit include an owner of Motor Vehicle Assurance, Christopher Doyle; General Manager, Michael Kahlbaum; Floor Manager, Anthony Theodor; and sales associates, Steven Capone, Rebecca Yule, and Mark Puglio.
Mr. Hester alleges that he was subject to harassment and racial discrimination while employed as a sales associate at Motor Vehicle Assurance. Specifically, Mr. Hester alleges that employees and management used the “N” word in the office, ridiculed African American customers, and denigrated famous African American athletes with all manner of racist invective – but Mr. Hester’s demands that this behavior cease were categorically ignored. The CEO of Motor Vehicle Assurance, Daniel Rodd even went on to wear a “Donald Trump Riding a Mexican” costume to work on Halloween (picture here). Furthermore, the complaint alleges that African American sales representatives were paid less than their Caucasian counterparts. Against this backdrop, the complaint asserts that Motor Vehicle Assurance forces its employees to lie to prospective customers, effectively defrauding them out of their hard-earned money. Ultimately, after repeated complaints about the intolerable discrimination and unlawful conduct, Mr. Hester was constructively discharged from his position with the company, in violation of law
Mr. Waters alleges that he was subject to similar racism while employed as a sales representative at Motor Vehicle Assurance. Additionally, Mr. Waters alleges that the workplace was riddled with the use and sale of illegal drugs, including Adderall, heroin and marijuana. According to the complaint, he repeatedly objected to the rampant use of drugs and the problem was so bad that, on one occasion, Mr. Waters found an unconscious co-worker in the bathroom who had suffered an overdose. The complaint goes on to allege that sales representatives were encouraged to lie to potential customers – falsely claiming that they were calling from an automobile dealership or manufacturer – to try to sell their warranties. After his repeated complaints of racial discrimination, drug abuse, and fraud, Mr. Waters was suspended. Shortly after his suspension, Motor Vehicle Assurance terminated Mr. Waters on account of his complaints, in violation of law.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Ocean County Superior Court, alleges violations of, among other things, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Mr. Hester and Mr. Waters seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
“This type of behavior has no place in a civilized society. As alleged in the Complaint, Defendant Motor Vehicle Assurance operates a workplace beset with racism, fraud, and drug abuse. Defendants’ conduct is the epitome of the cancer of discrimination that plagues this nation – referring to African Americans by the “N word,” treating minority employees in a hostile manner, and mocking minority customers. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our clients in exposing this outrageous and unlawful behavior.”Christian V. McOmber, Esq., McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.