Employee claims he was punished, but still makes $122,000

An employee in Union County, New Jersey, claims that a political vendetta against his brother, a local politician, led to the employee being transferred to a windowless storage room at the county juvenile detention center to perform an undefined job that had no duties. The twist is that despite the employee's stated unhappiness, he was still drawing his previous salary of $122,000 to do it.

The employee, the former head of Union County's facilities and operations department, has been with the county since 1979, starting as a carpenter. He claims that when a political ally of the brothers left his state Senate seat in 2003, the employee's supervisor began to harass him. After the former senator died in 2005, the employee says the harassment increased, leading to the current employment litigation drama.

County officials say that the employee's lawsuit is without merit. They declined to comment on photos that the employee provided to a newspaper of his supposed workstation, nor would they say what his actual responsibilities were. Ex-county employees, who did not want to be identified, said that the employee had a heavy-handed, brutish work style and constantly reminded everyone of how much money he made--to the point that he was nicknamed "Mr. 102" because he earned $102,000 a year at the time.

The employee claims he suffered depression as a result of his reduced workload and position, even though he maintained his salary. He currently works at a county facility that houses horses, a nature and science center, and a small museum.

Employers who are faced with lawsuits from aggrieved employees are often advised to seek advice from an experienced employment law attorney who can work to defend the employer and its reputation.

Source: The Star-Ledger, " Spurned Union County official sues after being given $120K do-nothing job," Ryan Hutchins, Jan. 12, 2012


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