A public works employee with Bayonne, New Jersey, is suing the city over allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
The Jersey Journal, a local news publication, reports that the lawsuit was filed by Stacie Percella against city officials Joseph Waks and Richard Censullo, who had formerly been Percella's director of municipal services and health official, respectively. According to the complaint, Waks and Censullo are accused of engendering a hostile work environment wherein Percella was routinely discriminated against and sexually harassed. The lawsuit also charges the defendants with asking Percella for "illegal requests," and when she refused, suspending her without pay as a form of retaliation.
Waks and Censullo's attorney fired back last Wednesday, November 12, insisting that his clients had not done anything inappropriate or unlawful during their time working with Percella.
"Any damages suffered by [Percella] are the result of her own conduct and, therefore, any claims against the Defendants should be dismissed," the defendants' lawyer said in his official response. "Defendants at all times were acting pursuant to the lawful authority vested in them by the law."
Percella is reportedly seeking $450,000 in damages and court fees. Waks and Censullo no longer work for the city of Bayonne.
Harassment at work and discrimination for any reason in the workplace are never acceptable forms of behavior, nor is retaliating against employees who report such misconduct. If you believe you have been marginalized or harassed by a coworker or superior because of your age, race, religion or gender, contact The Meyers Law Firm right away. Our employment discrimination lawyers will provide you with the legal counsel you need and work tirelessly for any restitution you might be owed.