Kearny’s NJ Reentry Corporation & Ex-Governor McGreevey Facing Discrimination Lawsuits

Pursuant to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination statute, multiple lawsuits have been brought and continue to be pending against the Kearny-based, NJ Reentry Corporation and against its Chairman, former NJ Governor James McGreevey.  One of the lawsuits also has the Jersey City Employment and Training Program as a defendant.

In the most recent case (Jessica Soberal v NJ Reentry Corporation, James McGreevey, John Does 1-5 and 6-10), the Plaintiff, Soberal, was and is a member of the United States Military and filed her complaint this past summer; alleging that she was discriminated against and retaliated against, including being fired due to her pregnancy.  According to the complaint, Soberal became pregnant and, due to having experienced medical complications related to her pregnancy, received an accommodation of being allowed to work remotely from home, was performing her job responsibilities satisfactorily, and McGreevey inexplicably refused to continue to honor that accommodation, insisted that she return to working from the office and ultimately terminated her employment.

Soberal is represented by counsel and the link to her lawsuit is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fj1pZQ0r6WLscfWMmIRg_jqgoG1iItSQ/view?usp=sharing

In the older case (Paul C. Williams v NJ Reentry Corporation, Jersey City Employment and Training Program, James E. McGreevey, John G. Koufos, and Lindsay Dunnells), the Plaintiff, Williams, seen above, was and is a formerly incarcerated person, having served a total of 17 years in the custody of the NJ Department of Corrections for numerous crimes and the most serious of which is first degree armed robbery, who filed his complaint on April 19, 2018; alleging that he was discriminated against, subjected to a severe and pervasive hostile work environment, and retaliated against, including being fired, on the basis of his gender.

According to his recently submitted amended complaint and which comprises 88 pages and 295 paragraphs, he meticulously provides a detailed perspective into not only the substance of the matter but also its underpinning facts and circumstances that include some recitations of numerous secretly recorded audio, and numerous text messages and emails, that occurred between himself and McGreevey, Koufos, and Dunnells throughout several months.

Williams was the only male among his co-workers for the Toms River location of NJ Reentry and, within weeks of his employment, began to realize that his immediate supervisor, Dunnells, may treat him adversely on the basis of his being a male; so he addressed his concerns to her and the upper management of NJ Reentry, as well as the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP), and became even more concerned so much that he resorted to audio recording his interactions, including conversations with his supervisor, the Executive Director, and the Chairman of the Board, in the event that he needed to defend himself.  In fact, he was regularly treated disparately than his female co-workers were by his supervisor who also, for example, spoke several times of being able to “menace” men and wanting to take a stiletto heel and burst her husband’s scrotum.  Upper management, including McGreevey and Koufos, were aware of Williams’ concerns and, in addition to the NJRC and JCETP not having any established policies and procedures regarding workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, failed/refused to even investigate Williams’ claims let alone take appropriate corrective actions.

It should also be noted that Williams included JCETP as a defendant because, although he was employed as a Case Manager for the NJ Reentry Corporation, there was a cognizable “employee/employer relationship” between himself and the JCETP  to establish liability (see: Hoag v. Brown) by virtue of the peculiar manner in which NJRC and JCETP operated and is also described in the complaint.

Williams has been and continues to be representing himself, with Steven Parness of Methfessel & Werbel representing NJRC, McGreevey, Koufos, and Dunnells, and with I. Michael Kessel of Littler Mendelson representing JCETP, and the link to his lawsuit is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14TD6fj-UJCltXdrqt0ZUuZw7YdNGuBrh/view?usp=sharing

Williams lives in Toms River.

This afternoon, the NJ Reentry Corporation will celebrate the virtual opening of its Hudson Reentry site, located at 591 Summit Avenue in Jersey City.  It is anticipated that more than 1,000 people will be served annually at the location in the areas of addiction, medical, legal, identification, housing referral, plus training and employment services.  During the opening, the Glen D. Cunningham Room will be dedicated as a testament to the vision, life and legacy of the city’s late Mayor.

Among those expected to attend the virtual opening today are Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Bob Menendez, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, New Jersey Attorney General Grewal and Senator Sandra Cunningham, widow of former Mayor Cunningham.

The New Jersey Reentry Corporation is a non-profit agency whose social mission is to remove all barriers to employment for citizens returning to society from incarceration.

 

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