The township of North Brunswick, New Jersey, will pay $250,000 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a municipal employee who claimed he was harassed and demoted in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about various abuses among city staff.
Mark LaMonica sued North Brunswick Township three years ago, alleging his supervisors demoted him from public works supervisor to a position in the Buildings and Grounds Department in retaliation for reporting an employee with ties to Francis Womack, the township’s mayor.
According to NJ.com, Mr. LaMonica called for the suspension of the employee, who allegedly put Armor All on the pedals in Mr. LaMonica’s vehicle. The plaintiff also accused the township of “looking the other way during a series of issues with its employees raised by LaMonica, such as: selling township scrap metal and keeping the cash; taking township tires; working on their own cars while clocked-in; sleeping on the job, and getting paid without showing up to work,” NJ.com reports.
Mr. LaMonica’s lawsuit, filed in Middlesex County Superior Court, alleged that supervisors behaved in a way that indicated they weren’t interested in hearing Mr. LaMonica’s complaints. The plaintiff says he was “exiled to a basement office” and denied a “substantial” amount of back overtime pay from his previous position after he was transferred in the demotion.
The case was settled Feb. 6, a few days after the jury trial started, and the North Brunswick council approved the settlement in a resolution Feb. 17.