New York, NY – Jean Laurenceau, an African American man from the Bronx, is suing Legends Hospitality Management, L.L.C., and three of its employees, for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. Legends functions as the vending and hospitality service provider at Yankee Stadium, where Laurenceau worked onsite for the year leading up to his termination.
Throughout the course of his employment with Legends, Laurenceau performed his job in a satisfactory manner, and was never the subject of any disciplinary action. On July 21, 2010, Laurenceau was waiting in line for a general restroom on his break. Sick with a stomach virus, he was waiting for this particular restroom because it was a single-stall facility. While waiting in line, he was approached by two Concession Managers, Defendants Chris Buffer and Joe Poeliski.
Buffer asked Laurenceau what he was doing, and Laurenceau indicated that he was on break and waiting to use the restroom. Buffer then told Laurenceau to use another restroom. When Laurenceau explained why he was waiting for this particular restroom, Buffer approached him, pointed to a sign on the door for the general restroom, and said “[w]hat’s wrong with you people? Can’t you read?” Buffer then stated to Laurenceau, “Come on, use the other one, Brownie.”
Surprised by the blatancy of these comments, Laurenceau returned to his work station and consulted with his immediate supervisor on what he should do. Taking her advice, and that of other employees consulted, he decided to bring the matter to the Human Resources department.
Before he could go to Human Resources, however, Laurenceau was called to a storage area, where Buffer and Poelski were present along with Andy (last name unknown), Produce Manager. At that meeting, Andy, who was clearly aware that there had been a previous incident between Laurenceau and Buffer, asked Laurenceau if there was an issue or problem. Laurenceau advised Andy what had happened, and, in response, Poeliski referred to the matter as “bull****.”
Laurenceau then went to Human Resources to meet with the third individual Defendant named in this case, Kerry-Ann Cowan (“Cowan”), Human Resources Supervisor. He described the incident to her, though she seemed to have already heard about it. While she told him that she would look into it, she dismissed the matter a few days later, telling him that they would not be pursuing the issue further.
Less than a month later, Laurenceau came to work only to find that his badge was “flagged” and he had to go to the Administrative Offices to find out what the issue was. There, Poeliski, with a smile on his face, told Laurenceau to give him his identification card, because he was fired. When Laurenceau inquired as to the reason for his termination, he was told that it was due to the fact that Laurenceau had “abandoned his job,” which simply wasn’t true. While the Plaintiff had taken two days off of work, he had called in both days due to illness. The third day they claimed he hadn’t been there, he had attended work as scheduled. It was clear to Laurenceau that he was being fired in retaliation for filing a complaint with human resources for racial discrimination.
The Queens, NY, law firm, White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C.-a boutique firm specializing in employment law-is representing the Plaintiff in this matter. Thomas Ricotta, a senior partner in the firm, says that they are “aggressively pursuing damages for this disgusting display of discrimination and retaliation.”
Ricotta has filed the case with the New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County. “No one should face this kind of treatment,” says Ricotta. “We are committed to finding justice for Mr. Laurenceau. He has done nothing wrong and deserves to be appropriately compensated for his loss of wages and emotional damages.”
About White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C.
The law office of White, Ricotta & Marks, P.C., (www.queensemploymentattorney.com) focuses expressly on employment law and discrimination in the workplace. The boutique group operates a main office in Jackson Heights, NY, and an additional office in Westbury, Long Island. They serve clients in Manhattan, Astoria, Bayside, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Howard Beach, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Douglaston, Great Neck and Little Neck, as well as in the boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and throughout Nassau County.