Race And Ethnicity Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Corbion in Totowa, New Jersey And Its Human Resources Manager.
We filed a Race and Ethnicity Discrimination lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Passaic County, against Corbion d/b/a Caravan Ingredients Inc., located at 100 Adams Drive, Totowa, New Jersey and its human resource manager, Stephanie Wypasek in connection with the termination of a Hispanic Employee.
The lawsuit alleges as follows, among other allegations:
- Plaintiff is Hispanic and father of three children.
- Plaintiff worked as a material handler for approximately 17 years, and often worked long hours, including over 70 hours per week, and was a dedicated employee.
- At the time of Plaintiff’s termination, he was earning in excess of $100,000 annually.
- After 17 years of employment, plaintiff was fired by Stephanie Wypasek, Corbion’s Human Resources Manager, who is Caucasian.
- In a termination notice, Wypasek wrote that plaintiff was “not following Corbion Work and Conduct Rules and not being a role model for others as he took extended breaks,” among other asserted reasons, and claimed that she viewed videos of plaintiff starting several minutes late
- The lawsuit alleged that non-Hispanic co-workers and supervisors frequently start their shift late without any discipline, including, but not limited to, termination, and that non-Hispanic employees committed far more serious infractions but were not similarly
- The lawsuit alleged that Wypasek also wrote that plaintiff used “unprofessional/insulting language to other employees”. However, plaintiff claimed that Wypasek knew that non-Hispanic employees, including supervisors, repeatedly uttered substantially similar offensive language at the workplace, but Wypasek failed to impose any disciplined reasonably close to
- The lawsuit further alleged that Wypasek herself referred to the plaintiff and several of his family members, who were also employees at Corbion and also fired, as a “family clan,” which, in and of itself, is a racially offensive and derogatory term, according to the lawsuit.
- The lawsuit alleges that the environment in which the plaintiff worked was a factory/warehouse, and joking around, name calling, the use of profanities and ordinary workplace banter were very common among and between workers as well as their supervisors, all of this known to Wypasek.
- The lawsuit alleges that despite the existence of written policies against using offensive language, virtually everyone breaks those rules, including managers and supervisors who also curse and use profanities frequently without fear of punishment.
- The lawsuit alleges that Wypasek picks and choose which workplace banter is “offensive” based on the race and/or ethnicity of the person engaging in such
- The lawsuit alleges that one of plaintiff’s co-workers referred to him as an “illegal Mexican” and “illegal alien,” but was not similarly disciplined.
- The lawsuit also alleged that plaintiff was terminated for providing favorable testimony in an employment discrimination case involving an employee who had sued Corbion and Wypasek for race discrimination.
Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges Race and Ethnicity Discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), Retaliation in violation of the LAD, and Aiding and Abetting discrimination and retaliation in violation of the LAD.
Generally, unless there is an employment agreement between the employer and employee, an employer is free to hire or fire anyone at will, with or without reason. However, under the LAD, an employer cannot discriminate against any employee in the terms and conditions of that employee’s employment including hiring, promotion, discipline, salary, etc. Further, under the LAD, an employer cannot retaliate against any employee for providing favorable testimony in aid of another employee’s complaint or lawsuit alleging discrimination.