McOmber McOmber & Luber attorneys Christian V. McOmber, Peter D. Valenzano, and Jeffery P. Rankel filed a Complaint and Demand for Trial by Jury (Complaint) on behalf of their client, Robert Wilson, against Ole Hansen & Sons, Inc. (OHS) and three employees alleging sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) and Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”). Before he was wrongfully terminated, Mr. Wilson was a Property Manager for OHS and fulfilled his duties in a diligent and responsible manner.
The Complaint alleges that Mr. Wilson’s direct supervisor repeatedly made sexually explicit and misogynistic comments, including describing in detail how the supervisor believed Mr. Wilson and his co-workers of wanted to “f*ck” a female co-worker. When Mr. Wilson tried to stop the harassing and inappropriate behavior, the harassment intensified and OHS employees bombarded Mr. Wilson with further obscene sexual comments objectifying him and the female coworker.
It is further alleged in the Complaint that employees of OHS acted in concert to retaliate against and intimidate Mr. Wilson for trying to stop the harassment. In fact, another OHS employee, who had a reputation for violent and temperamental outbursts, screamed profanities and made threats of violence against Mr. Wilson, leaving Mr. Wilson so fearful for his safety that he had to call the police and report the attempted assault. This toxic and retaliatory conduct was aimed at forcing Mr. Wilson to leave his employment by creating a working environment so unbearable that no reasonable employee could endure it.
As set forth in the complaint, instead of assisting Mr. Wilson, the human resources department and certain employees of OHS ignored Mr. Wilson’s pleas for assistance, allowed the retaliation to persist, and then set Mr. Wilson up for failure by fabricating non-existent performance issues to create a basis for their wrongful termination.
MML is seeking the reinstatement of Mr. Wilson’s employment with all benefits, back and front pay with benefits, compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and expenses, as well as any other relief available under the NJLAD. Additionally, Mr. Wilson seeks to require OHS to take appropriate corrective action to prevent retaliation and sexual harassment in its workplace including anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and civility training.
In reference to the matter, Mr. Rankel stated, “As alleged in Mr. Wilson’s Complaint, we are seeking redress for the incessant harassment and abuse Robert suffered at the hands of his employer and hoping to prevent other employees from facing such sexual harassment, intimidation, and retaliation in the future. Unfortunately, Mr. Wilson was punished and wrongfully terminated for doing nothing more than asserting his basic civil right to work in an environment free from such sexual harassment and threatening acts of violence.”