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Jackson Township's Board of Education has just been slammed with a lawsuit which alleges discrimination violations, FAA News has learned.

The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey Superior Court, Ocean Vicinage, by a now terminated employee who alleges he was repeatedly harassed, and ultimately terminated by his supervisors over a disability that required him to use the restroom frequently.

The employee is represented by Cherry Hill Attorney Kathleen Redpath-Perez, Esq.

According to the Complaint, which names as defendants the Board of Education as well as several supervisors within:

The Plaintiff began his employment with the Jackson Township School District on March 7, 2022 as a Groundsperson.

He has a heart problem and suffers from gastrointestinal symptoms, of which he properly informed the District.

From the start of Plaintiff’s employment, Jesse Kalapos, the lead and Plaintiff’s direct supervisor, who was aware of his disability, would harass Plaintiff on the account of his disability and would humiliate him in front of others and behind his back regarding his need for a medical accommodation. Specifically, Kalapos would shame him about why he was needed to use the bathroom.

Kalapos would also comment in front of Plaintiff’s co-workers that Plaintiff was always in the bathroom. This caused Plaintiff severe embarrassment and humiliation.

Plaintiff was also harassed by Anthony Bruno, the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Board of Education. Bruno targeted him because of his disability and treated him differently than others.

In one instance, Bruno thought Plaintiff was driving a golf cart and yelled “why is Anthony driving around doing nothing” when it was actually another colleague who was driving the golf cart.

Shortly after Plaintiff began his employment and after the harassment started, Plaintiff began hearing from other employees that Kalapos and Bruno were watching him and waiting for him to do something wrong.

Plaintiff knew that Kalapos and Bruno had animus towards people with disabilities because he had observed firsthand the way they mistreated another coworker of his who suffered from a developmental disability.

When an employee was perceived as doing something poorly, the supervisors would compare them to the developmentally disabled man by saying “is this how you do things, like [the disabled employee].”

As a result of this harassment, Plaintiff began to experience severe emotional distress.

His stress increased more and more with time until July 19, 2022 when he was called by Bruno in the afternoon and angrily summoned to a meeting after he told Defendant Bruno he was in the bathroom.

Bruno yelled at Plaintiff and asked why he was always in the bathroom and demanded that he hurry up and meet with him.

Plaintiff met with Defendant Bruno who began yelling at him and saying that the school grounds were a mess.

Bruno said so despite the fact that Plaintiff had finished the majority of the work that the school administration had expected that he complete in one month’s time in a 2 day period.

To Plaintiff, it was clear that his disability and need for an accommodation were the real issue.

As a result, Plaintiff called out sick that Wednesday, July 20, 2022, and advised Human Resources that he needed to make a complaint because he was experiencing a hostile work environment.

On Thursday, July 21, 2022, Plaintiff reported to Human Resources and explained to Human Resources Manager Kimberlie Gartner that he was being harassed by Bruno and Kalapos.

As a result, a meeting was set to discuss Plaintiff’s complaint of a hostile work environment.

Thereafter, on or about Friday, July 22, 2022, Plaintiff learned that Kalapos was spreading to other co-workers of Plaintiff that Plaintiff had gone to Human Resources and even confronted Plaintiff saying, “I know what you did.”

Despite knowing that Plaintiff had a disability and required a medical accommodation, Kalapos then publicly pointed out Plaintiff’s bathroom habits and started to taunt Plaintiff about why he uses the bathroom so frequently.


Kalapos’ conduct in this regard was so outrageous that other co-workers of Plaintiff were offended and outraged that Defendant Kalapos would purposely harass and mock someone with a disability.

One co-worker was so disgusted by Defendant Kalapos’ behavior that he even went home and discussed the matter of Defendant Kalapos’ illegal harassment of Plaintiff with his wife.

After being rescheduled, the meeting to discuss Plaintiff’s complaint was held on Tuesday July 26, 2022 where Kimberlie Gartner, Daniel Baginski, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools and the Affirmative Action Officer for the Jackson School District, and Bruno were present.

Although the meeting was scheduled to discuss Plaintiff’s complaints of a hostile work environment, Defendants quickly turned the discussion to being one about alleged performance issues of Plaintiff that had never been discussed or documented prior to Plaintiff’s complaint.

During the meeting, Baginski told Plaintiff that he was going to recommend Plaintiff’s termination because Plaintiff suggested that Defendant Kalapos should not be the lead supervisor given his unprofessional and harassing conduct.

Plaintiff who was aware that the actions of these District officials constituted illegal retaliation told them that he would hire an attorney if they terminated him, at which point Baginski told Plaintiff that then he "was really going to recommend his termination."

Baginski’s actions were even more egregious given that he was also the district’s affirmative action officer and therefore should have known that his and the other employees actions were in fact completely illegal.

Thereafter on July 27, 2022, District staff mailed a letter to Plaintiff wherein they documented, for the first time, a number of complaints about Plaintiff’s performance, evidencing clear retaliation on their part.

The letter advised that they would be recommending terminating him.

Notably, there were no concerns about Plaintiff’s performance prior to his protected complaint about Kalapos and Bruno. Prior to Plaintiff’s complaint, Plaintiff had never been written up, warned, or disciplined in any way.

Following this letter, the Jackson Township School Board convened on August 17th and consistent with the district’s recommendation, Plaintiff was terminated.

As a result, Plaintiff and his family lost their medical coverage and Plaintiff suffered lost wages, humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages.

Upon information and belief, Kalapos was demoted from his lead position in or about September of 2022, corroborating Plaintiff’s complaints about him.

The First Count of the lawsuit alleges violations of discrimination based the basis of their disability and/or perceived disability.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their disability and/or perceived disability.

Given the timing of Plaintiff’s termination, Defendants’ actions were motivated by, or otherwise causally connected with, Plaintiff’s disability and need for a medical accommodation, and therefore a violation of the NJLAD.

The Second Count of the lawsuit alleges wrongful termination in violation of New Jersey Public Policy.

Here, the actions of Defendants are against public policy in that a disabled employee who made a protected complaint of discriminated was retaliated against and fired.

Consequently, the actions of Defendants constitute wrongful termination in violation of New Jersey law.

The Third Count of the lawsuit alleges Retaliation in violation of the NJLAD.

Pursuant to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, it is an unlawful employment practice for any person to take reprisals against any other person because that person has (1) has opposed any practices or acts forbidden by the NJLAD; or (2) has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under the Act. 

In this matter, Plaintiff engaged in protected activity as defined under the NJLAD.

Defendants are aware Plaintiff engaged in this conduct. Defendants subjected Plaintiff to an adverse employment action as Plaintiff was terminated from his position.

The Defendants’ decision to take adverse actions against Plaintiff was causally connected and/or motivated in part and/or determined in part by Plaintiff’ protected conduct.

The Fourth Count of the lawsuit is for past, present, and future emotional distress.

Defendants’ actions in intentionally harassing Plaintiff, discriminating against him, and then terminating him after he made a protected complaint have caused Plaintiff great emotional distress, embarrassment, and humiliation.

Consequently, Defendants are liable to Plaintiff for damages he has suffered as a result of their egregious conduct.

The Fifth Count of the lawsuit alleges a hostile work environment in violation of the NJLAD.

Plaintiff has a disability and, as such, is a member of a protected class within the meaning of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”).

Plaintiff was subjected to harassment that was severe and/or pervasive in that he was targeted on the basis of his disability and need for an accommodation.

Defendants are liable because they knew, should have known of the harassment and discrimination and failed to take effective remedial measures to stop it or were the ones directly/indirectly perpetuating the harassment and discrimination Plaintiff suffered.

Additionally, Defendants are liable because they were negligent in failing to take reasonable steps to prevent and/or address the harassment and discrimination and also because they delegated authority to supervisors who abused that authority in order to discriminate against Plaintiff.


Defendants are also liable because they failed to maintain and/or enforce appropriate policies and practices to prevent, address and/or remedy discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

The Sixth Count of the lawsuit is for equitable relief.

Plaintiff requests that the Court declare the practices stated herein to be a violation of public policy and the NJLAD.

Plaintiff requests equitable reinstatement, with equitable back pay, equitable front pay and all benefits received by Plaintiff as a result of his employment equitably restored.

Aside from financial recouping, the lawsuit also seeks for an Order from the Court dismissing and/or expunging all disciplinary actions referenced in this Complaint effectuated by Defendants against Plaintiff and contained in Defendants’ record of Plaintiff’s employment history, and for an Order of the court retaining jurisdiction over this action until Defendants have fully complied with the Orders of this Court, and that the Court require Defendants to file such reports as may be necessary to supervise such compliance.

The Board of Education has not yet filed an Answer to the recently filed Complaint.

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