New Jersey transit authority faces lawsuit for hiring defendant with sexual harassment history.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of four unnamed women employed as bus drivers in Hudson County, New Jersey, against the state’s transit authority. The suit claims a regional supervisor “sexually harassed, stalked and in some cases assaulted” the plaintiffs. All of the women work at Greenville Garage in Jersey City and have alleged the NJ Transit “helped the supervisor to conceal (his) violent and/or sexually predatory behavior and condoned a hostile work environment.” They cite violations of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination.
The supervisor himself, who was originally hired in 2007, is not named as a defendant but was suspended without pay at the end of last year. The lawsuit states NJ Transit “hired the supervisor even though he was named in another lawsuit more than a decade ago” when he was employed as a corrections sergeant in the Hudson County jail system. That litigation was also brought by four (different) women.
The current filing accuses NJ Transit of “creating and perpetuating a culture of fear and intimidation by protecting the supervisor. It states further, the supervisor drove a “vehicle with state-provided GPS to follow the bus drivers” around the city, sometimes pulling them over, boarding, “interrogating and harassing them.”
One of the plaintiffs claimed he removed her face mask and kissed her on the cheek. Another has alleged he “grabbed her and forced his tongue into her mouth.” Another woman indicated the supervisor “harassed her for her phone number” and she claims he “put his hand” in her “pants pocket and tried to touch her genitals.” Another states on two occasions she “received a video of a man masturbating that included her supervisor’s voice in the background.”
According to the lawsuit, the supervisor forced one of the drivers “to follow him to a remote location, where he boarded her bus, urinated in a cup, and then tried to get (the driver) to hold and touch his penis.” Other allegations include cornering drivers and making sexual comments in the break room, repeatedly asking the drivers to date him, and incidents of groping.
The women say they were afraid to report the behavior because they feared they would receive disciplinary action or be threatened with it. Another female driver who complained to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General was allegedly terminated. NJ Transit is being accused of being “directly liable for sexual harassment and/or retaliatory harassment due to its own negligence” and “knew or should have known of the sexually hostile environment.”
In the previously lawsuit filed against the defendant when he was a corrections office, the female plaintiffs claimed he sexually harassed and assaulted them. The current filing states, “In 2008 and after years of litigation, the Hudson County lawsuit settled during trial with a payment of $2 million to the plaintiffs.” It states further, the supervisor “was fired in 2008 on charges of conduct unbecoming a public employee, insubordination, neglect of duty, incompetency, inefficiency or failure to perform duties and other sufficient cause.” Despite the court’s findings, he was hired into a new role and the behavior continued.