A former Bayonne worker that was fired last year alleges in a lawsuit that City Hall was “a sexually charged hostile work environment and a culture of sex within the work place.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Dating back to May of 2014, Defendants James M. Davis and Joseph DeMarco created a sexually charged hostile work environment and a culture of sex within the work place,” Sincerrae Ross, who was fired from City Hall after about five years on October 2nd, says in a lawsuit filed in Essex County Superior Court on December 6th.
Through her attorney, Juan Cervantes, of the law firm Forman, Gardonsky, & Tsinman, she also contends that DeMarco would make “sexually charged comments” such as asking for a hug and calling her his “little peach.”
Ross also alleges that she complained to Davis directly, which caused DeMarco to stop interacting with her. However, she asserts that both the mayor and then-business administrator regularly engaged in sexual innuendos, physical touching, and sexually-charged jokes.
Additionally, the suit names 20 other municipal employees who she says either participated in the behavior or allowed it to happen.
The two-count court filing says she was subject to a hostile work environment under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, in one instance for being a woman and in another for being African American.
For compensation, Ross is seeking punitive damages, imposition of statutory penalties, enhanced statutory attorney’s fees, costs of suit, treble damages, among other things that the court may find just and equitable.
Bayonne Corporation Counsel Jay Coffey said the city’s policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation.
The suit comes in the midst of longstanding litigation filed by another former city employee, Stacie Percella, who alleged that Davis abused his office by sending her “sext” messages.
The case, which was filed in January 2018, survived a motion to dismiss earlier this year and the most recent development had a judge rule that over seven years of the plaintiff’s cell phone records will be admissible in the case, as only HCV reported.