We filed a Race Discrimination and Retaliation lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County, against Maximum Quality Food, Inc and its sales director, Joseph Sherif, in connection with the termination of an African-American sales manager.

The lawsuit makes the following, allegations, among others:

  • Plaintiff is an African American male and was employed by Maximum as a sales manager. He had about 30 accounts (restaurants and grocery stores) he was responsible for, including selling food products, as well as ensuring the quality of products sold to his customers.
  • On or about December 8, 2021, a customer complained to plaintiff at least two times about bad bananas being delivered by Maximum to the customer’s restaurant. Plaintiff relayed the complaints to the head of Maximum’s produce department and a district manager that the customer will not order any more bananas and fruits from Maximum because of the spoiled/rotten bananas. Subsequently, the customer did not order any more fruit from the plaintiff (as the area sales manager) as a result of Maximum delivering bad/spoiled bananas.
  • Subsequently, plaintiff complained about an African American customer who complained about a delivery of food products that were delivered in an improper manner. The customer complained that the food delivery was delivered and placed right in front of doorway of the restaurant, blocking the entrance of the restaurant. Plaintiff complained to Maximum’s head of transportation, its district manager, and Sherif. No one spoke to the African American customer. Consequently, plaintiff and Maximum lost that account, as the customer did not order any other products from the plaintiff, resulting in a loss of approximately $2000 per week.
  • Subsequently, another a customer (a bagel shop owner) informed the plaintiff that he was not going to order any more food products from Maximum because the sugar, avocado, and eggs purchased from the defendant were bad. The customer complained that the sugar was hard, most eggs were broken/cracked, and the avocados were spoiled/rotten. Plaintiff relayed the above information to Maximum’s district manager.
  • Later, plaintiff’s salary was reduced, and he was given a new sales budget, which doubled plaintiff’s prior budget, while plaintiff’s margin remained the same. Plaintiff alleged that his sales budget was doubled to “justify” his termination because Maximum knew that plaintiff could not possibly meet the new budget goals as many customers stopped ordering food from Maximum due to the quality of products being sold.
  • Plaintiff also alleges that Maximum did not give the same sales budget goals to white sales employees.
  • Subsequently, Sheriff called plaintiff into his office and told him that he was fired because his performance was “substandard.” Plaintiff was not given a termination notice, nor any written explanation as to the reasons for termination, nor placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP).

Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges Race Discrimination violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), Retaliation in violation of the LAD, Retaliation in violation of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), and Aiding and Abetting discrimination in violation of the LAD and CEPA.

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.

Additionally, under CEPA, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee because the employee discloses to a supervisor a  practice of the employer that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, rule or regulation, or objects to any policy or practice of the employer which the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation, or is fraudulent, or is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy.

If you have any information relevant to this case, or if you are victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, Kindly contact us at 201-222-0123 or [email protected]