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‘I Thought I Cleaned It Up’: NJ County Employee Sues Employer, Claims He Faced Retaliation After He Reported He Had to Clean Up ‘Mounds’ of Poop After His Boss Defecated Throughout the Hallway

A Mercer County analyst has filed a lawsuit in his state’s highest court, claiming his civil rights were violated by his employer. He further alleged that he was passed over, demeaned, and forced to do degrading work like clean up his supervisor’s defecation because of his race.

After being employed at the Mercer County Emergency Services Communications Center (MCESCC) for almost eight years, Tyrone Ebron is suing his former employer, stating he has been discriminated against and mistreated since being hired in 2014.

The civil claim, obtained by Atlanta Black Star, was filed on Thursday, June 9, in the Superior Court of New Jersey and named the County of Mercer, Chief Jeffrey Golomb, Robert Hartman, and others as his defendants.

In his lawsuit, he mentioned the chief reneged on promises to promote him several times despite Ebron being qualified. Instead, Ebron said Golomb hired less competent workers. He believes race played a part in his co-workers being elevated.

He states that he was not promoted until 2019 to assistant program analyst, a position he considered non-competitive.

While being overlooked was problematic for Ebron, it was when his boss put him in a hazardous work environment, asking him to clean up his excrement, that pushed the worker over the top.

Ebron, a Black man, says he had to clean up after his white boss multiple times, and on the last time Golomb “left mounds of human excrement along the hallway.”  

When he suggested his boss stay home until he could control his bowels, the lawsuit says, Golomb stayed home only for a few days, returning to work with a posture as if nothing had happened.

His lawyers said this caused his client great distress, believing he would have to clean up after the chief again if another accident were to transpire.

Out of this fear, he contacted other officials.

The lawsuit stated, “Plaintiff sent an urgent email to the administration reporting public health & safety hazards that resulted from incidents in which his immediate supervisor, Defendant Golomb, the Mercer County 9-1-1 Communications Chief.”

He told them that his supervisor had “defecated on the floors inside of the 9- 1-1 Communications Center and also in the Mercer County Fire Academy,” on Nov. 20, 2020, and Feb. 25, 2021, respectively. 

As evidence of his boss’ nasty ways, he provided the officials with a “video still of himself cleaning up” after the 2020 incident. He also told them Golomb originally denied that he made the mess on the company floor, but later admitted it.

“The Plaintiff had shown Defendant Golomb a copy of the security video still of Plaintiff cleaning up in the Communications Center to see how he would respond,” the lawsuit detailed. “Defendant Golomb took one look at the photo and then at the Plaintiff before saying, ‘Oh, I thought I cleaned it all up.’”

In disbelief of his boss’ response, “Chief, you did that?” and “You had an ‘accident’?” 

The complaint said, “Defendant Golomb confirmed by responding with a yes and then said, ‘Thank you for your discretion in getting things cleaned up.’”

The chief did not know that Ebron would report this incident.

The official Ebron informed was County Administrator Lillian Nazzaro, who assured him that his complaint would be anonymous, his claim states. However, shortly after that, Golomb’s disposition toward him had changed, the lawsuit shares, and when he tried to reach out to Nazzaro again, he received the “cold shoulder.”

Because Ebron reported his boss and his boss found out, he, the only Black peron working in the Mercer County Emergency Communications Center management team, believes it further hindered him from being promoted and it came abundantly clear to him that he was being discriminated against and looked over for promotions because of his race. 

He said he felt as though his work life was on a “descent into a racially biased and hostile work environment rife with retaliation.” 

He said over the next few years, under his boss’ supervision and after the incident, Ebron “has consistently been treated in a less favorable manner by Defendants than white employees,” and under the command of Robert Hartman, coordinator for the county’s Office of Emergency Management, he “was forced to stop working overtime and threatened with disciplinary action, while a white employee was allowed to sleep through shifts and then work overtime with no repercussions.”

Ebron also stated in his lawsuit that Golomb set a tone of disrespect in the office toward him, publicly speaking down to him in a “condescending” and “disrespectful” manner.

He even claims to have been demoted while other white co-workers were pushed forward in various capacities on the job.

His lawyers noted, “The totality of the circumstances described in this Count give rise to an inference of discrimination in that the Plaintiff, the only Black member of the management team, was subjected to multiple adverse employment actions, while white employees, even those who engaged in egregious fraud, waste, and abuse were not subject to any adverse actions.”

Golomb, Hartman, nor anyone else from Mercer County’s administration has commented on this case.

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