Voodoo Harassment Alleged at Cablevision

     NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CN) – Discrimination got so bad for a Jamaican employee of Cablevision that a pregnant co-worker accused her of “working voodoo” on her baby, the woman claims in court.
     Cammesa Plummer filed the lawsuit on July 27 in the Middlesex County Superior Court, alleging that Cablevision Systems Corp. violated her right to a discrimination-free workplace and then retaliated against her for reporting the violations.
     The 16-page action notes that several Plummer’s co-workers “belittled her culture and attacked her religious beliefs” by “mischaracterizing” her practice of New Age Christianity as witchcraft and sorcery.
     Hired in 2007 as a sales agent, Plummer says she excelled in her first three years at Cablevision, receiving both a raise and an award recognizing her job performance.
     In late 2010, however, remarks about Plummer’s supposed practice of voodoo became prevalent, and a manager who had always been “unnecessarily hostile” toward Plummer walked up to her desk and “accused [her] of bringing voodoo and ‘the devil’ into” Cablevision’s Central New Jersey offices.
     Plummer says things only got after she complained, with one co-worker going so far as to bring a Bible into the office and promising to “burn” the book if Plummer touched it.
     A pregnant colleague even accused her of “‘working voodoo’ on the baby,” according to the complaint.
     “It also became a common practice at Cablevision to blame any unlucky or unusual occurrences on Ms. Plummer, as if she had caused such events through the practice of voodoo or black magic,” the lawsuit says.
     One staffer who broke his foot allegedly accused Plummer of putting a “hex” on him, for instance.
     Plummer says her tormentors also “attempted to disparage” her reputation with new colleagues and employees in other departments, telling them to stay away from her because she practiced voodoo.
     “Deeply hurt and intensely offended” by the stereotypes, Plummer says she appealed to Cablevision executives to put an end to the discriminatory comments.
     But Plummer’s “concerns were met with indifference,” and her attempts to educate her co-workers on her religious customs also “fell on deaf ears,” the complaint states.
     Plummer’s supervisors, two of whom are named as defendants in the suit, “took no steps” to end the harassment, which “continued to infect her work environment,” for over three years, the lawsuit says.
     When Plummer spoke to Human Resources about it, they initially “accused [her] of fabricating her complaints, and then insinuated that she had somehow brought [them] on herself,” according to the complaint.
     Cablevision fired Plummer in October 2013, claiming that the company had “dissolved her position,” she says.
     Though the company allegedly declined to transfer Plummer to a new position because of “poor performance,” Plummer says their “proffered justifications” are contradicted by the raise and performance award she had received earlier in the year.
     Plummer seeks unspecified damages for wrongful retaliation and for violations of New Jersey state laws against workplace hostility and discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and creed.
     A spokeswoman for Cablevision called the meritless, adding that Cablevision “will vigorously defend itself in this matter.”
     Plummer is represented by John Shahdanian II of Chasan, Leyner & Lamparello in Secaucus.

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