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New Jersey

Paterson NJ courts called ‘toxic hive’ for female workers

4 minutes learn

PATERSON — Manuel Quiles, who was fired from Paterson Magistrates’ Court final March, has been accused of sexual harassment by two clerks he supervises.

The two ladies – Carolina Hernandez and Sayuris Del Rosario – claimed Quiles tried to kiss them as he pulled down their COVID-19 masks within the court docket places of work. One of the ladies mentioned Quiles called her into his workplace and put his hand on her breast, then grabbed her hand and compelled her to the touch “his privates.”

Quiles called the allegations towards him “insane.”

“I swear to God, I swear to God I’ve never done anything to respect anyone,” Quiles mentioned in an interview Tuesday morning. “I have always treated the women in the office with the utmost respect.”

The ladies made these allegations in separate lawsuits filed in New Jersey Superior Court late Monday afternoon, utilizing the identical legislation agency in Jersey City, Matsikoudis and Fanciullo.

“That Quiles’ predatory behavior was allowed to smolder unchecked for so long at the court is hardly a surprise: the court was a toxic hive for female workers,” the 2 complaints mentioned.

The ladies additionally alleged of their lawsuits that “a senior court official” — somebody aside from Quiles — had an extramarital affair with a court docket clerk he allegedly singled out “over far more qualified applicants” for a profitable promotion earlier this yr. The lawsuits didn’t title the senior official or the worker who obtained the promotion.

Previous protection from Paterson Press:The Paterson court docket official has taken paid go away pending the investigation

In April 2021, the town authorised a $50,000 settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by then-City Court Clerk Noelia Batista towards metropolis legal professional Albert Asphaltal.

Mayor Andre Sayegh didn’t reply when requested by a reporter on Tuesday what steps his administration had taken to handle the sexual harassment complaints within the metropolis court docket.

Quiles started working for Paterson in 2002 and earned $91,014 when he was positioned on paid go away final winter whereas allegations towards him have been being investigated. He was fired weeks later, officers mentioned.

Quiles mentioned he wouldn’t jeopardize his 36-year marriage. He mentioned he contacted his spouse Tuesday morning after a information reporter requested him for touch upon the allegations.

“She said, ‘Relax, don’t stress,'” Quiles mentioned. “I said, ‘Don’t stress? Those are false accusations.’”

Hernandez’s lawsuit said she was working at a restaurant that Quiles frequented a few years ago when he asked for her resume and suggested they have dinner to discuss a possible new job with the city court.

“But when she acquired to the restaurant, it rapidly grew to become clear that the ‘dinner’ wasn’t knowledgeable assembly,” she says. “Instead of speaking about work, Quiles drank a number of glasses of wine, informed Carolina she seemed ‘lovely,’ and upon studying that it was round her birthday, the waiter had Carolina introduced out a small cake to rejoice.”

Hernandez accepted the job in court despite Quiles’ “unusual habits” because the job presented a good opportunity, the lawsuit said. She was hired as a data collector in December 2017, and her main job is processing parking tickets, she said in her complaint.

Quiles admitted to helping Hernandez get the court job. He said he wanted to help her and advised her to learn English. “I mentioned to her, ‘Learn English and I’ll get you on board,'” he recalls.

Hernandez said in her lawsuit that when Quiles made his first advances to her, she told him she had a boyfriend and pointed out that Quiles was married to a family. She said Quiles didn’t take no for an answer and picked her up at his office. This incident, she claimed, caused her so much stress that she took a six-month leave of absence.

Finally, Hernandez said in her complaint, she participated in an investigation into Quiles that led to his termination.

Del Rosario, meanwhile, said in her lawsuit that Quiles invited her to dinner shortly after she began working at the city court in 2018. She said she declined and told her manager she was married.

“Qules did not cease, nonetheless,” Del Rosario said in her lawsuit. “He incessantly – and inappropriately – commented on the plaintiff’s look and demanded proof that she was married when she tried to take bereavement go away when her father-in-law died.

“Sayuris complained to a supervisor about Quiles, but was told, ‘He’s just like that,’ and he’d made sexual advances towards other female court officials,” the lawsuit continued. “As a result, no one in court stopped Quiles, and the plaintiff was forced to endure his behavior — and an intolerable work environment — for years.”

Del Rosario mentioned the difficulty reached “despicable” new depths early final January when Quiles allegedly tried to provide her a New Year’s kiss behind closed doorways in his workplace. She mentioned she turned her head and he kissed her on the cheek. In the lawsuit, Quiles informed Del Rosario that he had desires and fantasies about her.

Quiles mentioned Tuesday that when he kissed Del Rosario, he merely wished his worker a Happy New Year.

“I kissed her on the cheek,” he mentioned. “There was nothing sexual about it.”

Joe Malinconico is Editor of Paterson Press.

Email: [email protected]

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