#NJ company hotbed of racism, drug use and fraud, suit claims

#NJ company hotbed of racism, drug use and fraud, suit claims

June 8, 2020 | 3:22pm | Updated June 8, 2020 | 3:27pm

Two black former employees at a New Jersey car warranty company claim they endured constant racism in a workplace that allowed drug-abuse and the defrauding of customers, new court papers say.

Kendrick Hester, 41, and James Waters, 47, both started at Motor Vehicles Assurance in Toms River as sales associates last October and were forced out by the Spring after complaining about working conditions, according to an Ocean County Superior Court lawsuit.

White employees repeatedly and causally threw out the N-word — even applying it to black professional athletes Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James, the court papers from last week claim.

One of Hester’s coworkers once told him, “Oh, there goes Sidney Poitier, the most well-spoken black man,” the court papers allege.

Other white employees performed mocking renditions of black stereotypes and would walk around work “‘rapping’ offensive racial epithets on an almost daily basis” and make fun of black customers after they got off the phone with them, the suit claims.

Black people and minorities “are passed over for promotion” and held to a higher hiring standard at MVA, the papers claim.

Also, drug use —  including Adderall, heroin, marijuana, and prescription pain killers — was rampant at MVA and were even sold by one employee every Friday out of a peanut butter container, the court documents claim. Even the managers abused Adderall, the suit alleges

Once in December, Waters walked into a bathroom to find another co-worker unconscious from an overdose and the person was “shockingly” revived by another employee who happened to have spare Narcan on them, the court papers say.

Employees also were required to pretend to be from car dealerships “in order to gain a client’s trust before bilking them out of their hard earned cash,” and were told to charge credit cards before they had customer permission, the court filings allege.

And when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the company flouted Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay at home order even though MVA isn’t an essential company, the court documents claim.

MVA didn’t even enforce social distancing or mask-wearing, and several people came down with COVID-19 at work, the court papers say.

Hester and Waters claim that their complaints about the racist culture, the drugs and fraud went unaddressed and Hester was forced to quit while Waters was fired for complaining.

“This type of behavior has no place in a civilized society,” Hester and James’ lawyer, Christian McOmber, told The Post. “Defendants’ conduct is the epitome of the cancer of discrimination that plagues this nation.”

MVA did not immediately return a request for comment.


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