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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY



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RODNEY DORSEY, WADE HALL, J R.,
and TODD VANDERVOORT,
Plaintiffs,
v.

BOROUGH OF SOMERVILLE,
ANTHONY HENDERSHOT,
PETER HENDERSHOT, KEVIN SLUKA,
and MICHAEL HALPERIN,

Defendants.
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Civil Action No. __________

COMPLAINT

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED





Sarah Fern Meil
67 Bridge Street
P.O. Box 145
Milford, NJ 08848
Phone: (908) 995-7320
Fax: (609) 228-4307
sarahfern@sfmesq.com
Attorney for Plaintiffs


BROPHY & LENAHAN P.C.
J oseph Alexander Brophy, Esq.
2101 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 558-7600 (office)
(215) 449-3376 (fax)
alex.brophy@brophylenahan.com
Attorney for Plaintiffs
Pro hac vice application to be filed


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COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs Rodney Dorsey (Dorsey), Wade Hall, J r., (Hall), and Todd Vandervoort
(Vandervoort) (collectively, Plaintiffs), by and through their attorneys, Sarah Fern Meil,
Esq., and Brophy & Lenahan P.C., for their complaint against Defendants, the Borough of
Somerville (Somerville), Anthony Hendershot (Tony Hendershot), Peter Hendershot (Pete
Hendershot), Kevin Sluka (Sluka), and Michael Halperin (Halperin) (collectively,
Defendants), respectfully allege as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1. Plaintiffs, each of whom is an African-American employee of the Department of
Public Works in Somerville, New J ersey, have been subjected to a racially hostile work
environment that has spanned at least the last two decades.
2. As set forth in greater detail below, from the mid-to-late 1980s until J anuary
2014, Plaintiffs were routinely addressed by general foreman Anthony Hendershot (Tony
Hendershot) with numerous racial epithets, including nigger, coon, moolie, monkey,
spook and jigaboo. Tony Hendershot spoke to Plaintiffs in this manner on a regular basis,
and escalated this behavior when he became Plaintiffs supervisor in or about 2004 or 2005.
Tony Hendershot would also use this racist language regardless of who was in his vicinity,
including his brother and supervisor, Peter Hendershot (Pete Hendershot), the Superintendent
of Somervilles Department of Public Works (DPW).
3. Somervilles Administrator, Kevin Sluka (Sluka), has allowed a custom of
racially discriminatory behavior to flourish at DPW by displaying utter indifference both to Tony
Hendershots behavior and Pete Hendershots tolerance of that behavior. On multiple occasions,
from the beginning of Slukas term as Administrator in 2007, Sluka was made aware of the
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racially hostile work environment and had multiple opportunities to take remedial action. But
for years, Sluka did nothing, and the racial harassment continued unabated.
4. Only in J anuary 2014, when Hall informed Sluka that he was in the process of
retaining an attorney, did Sluka take any action with respect to the racial discrimination that
Plaintiffs had been subject to for decades. Faced with the possibility of legal action, Somerville
hired an attorney to represent it in an investigation into the racial harassment. That investigation
took more than three months to complete and conclusively determined that Plaintiffs had been
subjected to a racially hostile working environment at the Somerville DPW for many years.
Despite that unequivocal finding, to date, Defendants have taken no action to remedy the
situation.
5. While Somervilles attorney was purportedly investigating the hostile working
environment, Slukas assistant, Michael Halperin (Halperin), made several threats to Plaintiffs,
as well as threats to witnesses to the discrimination, in an effort to retaliate against Plaintiffs for
making a complaint and to obstruct the investigative process.
6. Because of the extreme and pervasive racist environment Plaintiffs were subjected
to for decades at DPW, and due to the utter indifference displayed to Plaintiffs abuse by
Somerville executives, Plaintiffs now bring this complaint against Defendants.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
7. The court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. 1331 because Plaintiffs allege a claim arising under federal law
8. This court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law claims pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 1367.
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9. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391 because the parties
are domiciliaries of this district and most of the events giving rise to the claims alleged herein
occurred in this district.
PARTIES
10. Rodney Dorsey (Dorsey) is a resident of Somerville, NJ , and has been
employed by Somerville since 1985. Dorseys current position with Somerville is Parks
Foreman. Dorsey is African-American.
11. Wade Hall, J r. (Hall) is a resident of Princeton, NJ , and has been employed by
Somerville since 1988. Hall currently works for the maintenance department at DPW. Hall is
African-American.
12. Todd Vandervoort (Vandervoort) is a resident of North Plainfield, NJ , and has
been employed by Somerville since 1986. Vandervoorts current position with Somerville is
Sewers Foreman. Vandervoort is African-American.
13. The Borough of Somerville (Somerville) is a borough in Somerset County, New
J ersey.
14. Anthony Hendershot (Tony Hendershot) was the general foreman of DPW of
Somerville from in or about 2004-2005 through late J anuary/early February 2014, when he
apparently retired. In his position as general foreman, Tony Hendershot was the direct
supervisor of Dorsey and Vandervoort, among others, and also had supervisory authority over
Hall. Prior to being promoted to general foreman, Tony Hendershot was a foreman of DPW, and
had been employed by Somerville since at least the 1980s.
15. Peter Hendershot (Pete Hendershot) is currently the Superintendent of DPW of
Somerville, and is the supervisor of Dorsey, Hall, and Vandervoort, among others. Pete
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Hendershot is Tony Hendershots brother, and, until Tony Hendershots apparent retirement, was
his brothers direct supervisor as well.
16. Kevin Sluka (Sluka) has been the Administrator and Clerk of Somerville since
2007. In his role as Administrator and Clerk, Sluka is ultimately the final decisionmaker in
charge of DPW, and Pete Hendershot reports directly to Sluka.
17. Michael Halperin (Halperin) is an employee of Somerville who reports directly
to Sluka. After Tony Hendershots retirement, Halperin was placed in DPW on an interim basis,
during which he exercised supervisory authority over Dorsey, Hall, and Vandervoort, among
others.
BACKGROUND
Long History of Overt Racism in Somerville
18. Since Plaintiffs were hired in the mid-to-late 1980s, Somerville, and, in
particular, DPW, has been and continues to be a toxic racist environment for Plaintiffs and for
other African-American DPW employees.
19. The epicenter of the racist conduct directed at Plaintiffs, Tony Hendershot, served
as the direct supervisor of Plaintiffs upon his promotion to general foreman of DPW in or about
2004-2005. Tony Hendershots abuse of Plaintiffs began when Plaintiffs were hired in the mid-
to-late 1980s, escalated once Tony Hendershot became Plaintiffs supervisor in or about 2004-
2005, and continued to early 2014, when he apparently retired.
20. Both before and during his supervisory position as general foreman, Tony
Hendershot would regularly refer to African-American employees of DPW, including Plaintiffs,
as niggers, coons, spooks, moolies,
1
monkeys and jigaboos. He would directly

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Moolie was apparently short for moulinyan, a derogatory term in Italian for blacks.
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address Plaintiffs and other DPW employees using these epithets, and would also refer to
Plaintiffs using these terms while in conversations with other DPW employees.
21. The racist behavior, however, was not limited to Tony Hendershot. For example,
around 1995, DPW employee Barry Hutchinson, who is Tony Hendershots brother-in-law, told
Dorsey that he hoped Dorseys home would burn down with his children inside. Hutchinson also
commented that he would never work for a black man, and told Dorsey that a black man
would never be in charge in the Borough [of Somerville].
22. The racist culture in Somerville even extended beyond DPW. For example, on
one occasion in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Fire Chief Barry Van Horn, who is white, used a
public radio channel to ask for Hall and another African-American employee by referring to
them as his aces of spades. On a later occasion, a white dispatcher greeted Hall by saying,
whats up, nig? .
23. Tony Hendershot consistently used his position of authority to abuse Plaintiffs
and other minority DPW employees. As a show of his power over them, Tony Hendershot
pretended to befriend Plaintiffs. For example, on several occasions, he invited Hall to his house
to socialize and play darts; during these gatherings, however, he would refer to Hall as nigger.
24. African-American employees of Somerville were frequently given less desirable
work than their white counterparts. For example, Plaintiffs and other African-American
employees were generally given manual labor assignments, as opposed to assignments involving
equipment. This was significant because in order to be promoted to foreman, a DPW employee
needed to pass equipment operating tests.


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Tony Hendershot Racially Abuses Plaintiffs From His New Position
of General Foreman

25. In or about 2001, Dorsey was promoted to foreman of Somerville parks, and
Vandervoort was promoted to foreman of Somerville sewers. Upon hearing of Dorsey and
Vandervoorts promotions, Tony Hendershot commented to Pete Hendershot and others that
Dorsey and Vandervoort cant make what I make in terms of salary, despite the fact that all
three were DPW foremen.
26. In or about 2004 or 2005, the position of general foreman became open. Tony
Hendershot, Dorsey and Vandervoort were among the applicants. Of the applicants, Tony
Hendershot was chosen to become general foreman, a position in which he would report directly
to his brother, DPW Superintendent Pete Hendershot. Tony Hendershot also assumed
supervisory authority over Plaintiffs at this time.
27. In his position as general foreman and Plaintiffs supervisor, Tony Hendershot
escalated his racist abuse of Plaintiffs and other African-American employees whom he
supervised. Tony Hendershots abusive behavior would often be preceded and/or accompanied
with his consumption of alcoholic beverages while on the job.
28. The typical racial epithets used by Tony Hendershot to refer to Plaintiffs were
nigger, monkey, coon, spook, moolie or jigaboo, Tony Hendershot would typically
use such slurs, directed to or in the presence of Plaintiffs, on several occasions in a given month.
Tony Hendershots racist conduct was frequently witnessed by Pete Hendershot, who turned a
blind eye to his brothers racial abuse of Plaintiffs.
29. When one of the Plaintiffs would do something on the job that pleased Tony
Hendershot, Tony Hendershots typical complement was, youre one of the smart ones.
Plaintiffs understood ones to mean African-Americans. By contrast, when an African-
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American employee would do something that Tony Hendershot was dissatisfied with, he would
typically comment, I havent met a smart one yet. Tony Hendershot made such comments to
each of the Plaintiffs.
30. Another typical racist comment that Tony Hendershot would make to
Vandervoort had to do with where Vandervoort parked in the DPW lot. Tony Hendershot would
typically direct Vandervoort to the back, and comment, thats where you belong - in the back.
31. On another occasion, Tony Hendershot said to Dorsey, Abraham Lincoln done
freed you years ago and were still making fun of you.
32. Tony Hendershot would also regularly invite his friends from the Fraternal Order
of Eagles to the DPW shop, where he and his friends would frequently make racist dialogue,
jokes, and gestures, often in front of and directed to Plaintiffs and other African-American DPW
employees.
33. For instance, Tony Hendershot and his friends would often salute each other using
the Heil Hitler gesture. Additionally, on many occasions, Plaintiffs heard Hendershot and his
friends making racist jokes, such as Why do Black folks keep chickens in their backyard? To
teach them to walk. Hendershot and his friends also routinely used racial slurs with regard to
African-Americans, such as nigger, coon, moolie, monkey, spook, and jigaboo.
34. Plaintiffs were not the only targets of Tony Hendershots racist behavior. Greg
Paremore, an African-American DPW employee who retired in late 2013, was also a frequent
subject of abuse. For example, Tony Hendershot would refer to Paremore as a big fat black
nigger, black bastard or black asshole.
35. Another target of Tony Hendershots abuse was Eddie Collazo, a Hispanic
employee of DPW. Tony Hendershot would typically refer to Collazo as spic, wetback or
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Taco Bell, refer to him and his family as being off the boat and tell him that 15 people live
in your house.
36. Dorsey and Vandervoort found that, due to Tony Hendershots treatment of them,
they did not receive the level of respect as African-American foremen that was given to their
white counterparts. For instance, Dorsey and Vandervoort were discouraged from writing up
their white subordinates who committed workplace infractions, even though this was standard
practice before Dorsey and Vandervoort were foremen.
Early Efforts by Plaintiffs to Complain to Somerville Executives About
Tony Hendershot

37. Even before Tony Hendershot was promoted to general foreman, Hall complained
to former administrator Ralph Chick Sternadori (Sternadori) about Tony Hendershots
mistreatment of him. Sternadori responded in disbelief, but told Hall that he wanted to keep
everything in house.
38. Also in the 2000s, Hall complained to Pete Hendershot -- the DPW
Superintendent and Tony Hendershots immediate supervisor -- regarding his brothers abusive
and racist behavior. Pete Hendershot asked Tony Hendershot to apologize to Hall, but the
abusive treatment continued nonetheless.
39. In 2006, Dorsey wrote two letters to Somerville administration reporting
discrimination in Somerville. In his first letter, dated April 26, 2006, Dorsey wrote to
Somervilles Personnel Committee, questioning why a white peer was going to be granted a
salary adjustment that had been denied to Dorsey, and referred to this policy as discriminating.
Dorsey received no response to this letter.
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40. Later that year, on November 8, 2006, Dorsey wrote a letter to Mayor Brian
Gallagher (Mayor Gallagher) of Somerville, in which Dorsey complained that black foremen
were being treated worse than their white counterparts. Dorsey wrote, in pertinent part:
It appears that as minority foremen[] we are just an after thought
and arent given the same opportunities as our counterparts were.
Now that we hold these positions and with the advent of minorities
into these positions it appears the opportunities no longer exist

41. Dorsey sent copies of his November 8, 2006 letter to Sternadori and Pete
Hendershot. Again, Dorsey received no response from anyone.
Kevin Sluka Begins as Administrator of Borough of Somerville
42. In or about April 2007, Sluka succeeded Sternadori as the Administrator of
Somerville.
43. Shortly after Sluka first assumed the position as Administrator, he had a meeting
with Dorsey and Vandervoort. During this meeting, Sluka acknowledged the old boys club
that existed in Somerville, and assured Dorsey and Vandervoort that the culture in Somerville
would be changed under his watch. Dorsey and Vandervoort understood Sluka to be referring to
the racist culture that existed within DPW. Dorsey gave Sluka a copy of the letters he had
written to various Somerville executives in 2006.
44. Sluka also told Dorsey and Vandervoort that he had an open door policy, and
encouraged them to come to him if they ever had any issues.
45. Despite Slukas assurances that the culture in Somerville would change, Tony
Hendershots treatment of Dorsey and Plaintiffs remained the same, and the racial epithets
continued under Slukas watch.
46. Sluka, in fact, has contributed to the racist and hostile work environment. Upon
information and belief, for example, on or about December 23, 2013, Mike J ohnson, a temporary
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African-American DPW employee, was on a ladder assisting with setting up inauguration. Sluka
commented to white DPW foreman J oe Szwarc, youd better shine a light on him or have him
open his eyes or smile -- we cant see him up there.
47. Sluka regularly refers to Hall as homeboy, homey or homes in
conversation. For instance, Sluka will often greet Hall by saying, whats up, homey?
48. Upon information and belief, Sluka has also directed racist comments toward
Collazo. Specifically, during a blood drive in Somerville in late 2013 or early 2014, Sluka told
Collazo, who is Puerto Rican, that he could not donate blood because his Spanish blood was
dirty and no good.
49. Slukas comments toward Plaintiffs have been frequently insensitive and suggest
racist undertones. For example, Sluka has told Vandervoort, the foreman of sewers in DPW, that
Slukas 12 year old son could do [Vandervoorts] job. Sluka also has told Dorsey that he is
lucky that he gets paid, and that he would pay Plaintiffs nothing if he had the opportunity.
50. Similarly, during a conversation with Dorsey about his paycheck being late,
Sluka, in a mocking fashion, offered to lend Dorsey money, saying, you dont have enough
money? You want me to lend you some money? And during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
in November 2012, when Plaintiffs were working around-the-clock in terrible conditions for
Somerville, Sluka commented to Vandervoort, we fed you and put a roof over your heads --
what else could you want?
Summer 2008: Sensitivity Training Following Abusive Incident by
Tony Hendershot

51. In the summer of 2008, the day before Dorsey was about to go on a family
vacation, Tony Hendershot, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, confronted
Dorsey about pumps in the town pool. Tony Hendershot, in front of other DPW employees,
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repeatedly called Dorsey a mother fucker and a fucking asshole, accused Dorsey of not
knowing how to do his job, and threatened to fight Dorsey.
52. The following week, while Dorsey was on vacation, Mayor Gallagher and Sluka
left voicemails for Dorsey inquiring about the incident with Tony Hendershot, but Dorsey was
not able to speak to them about it, as he did not bring his phone on his trip out of the country and
did not realize they had left him voicemails.
53. That same week following Tony Hendershots threats against Dorsey, an attorney
conducted sensitivity training for the DPW employees (Dorsey, who was on vacation, did not
attend the training). At the end of the training, the attorney assured the DPW employees,
including Hall and Vandervoort, that they could call him to report any hostile work environment
issues.
54. When Dorsey returned from vacation the next week, Sluka told him that Tony
Hendershot had been reprimanded and was now on thin ice. However, Tony Hendershots
behavior and use of racial epithets on the job continued without punishment.
55. Later in 2008, Dorsey attempted to use Slukas open door policy to speak to
Sluka about an employment-related issue. Sluka refused to speak to Dorsey, and instructed Pete
Hendershot to write up Dorsey for going outside of the chain of command. Before Sluka,
Dorseys chain of command included only Tony Hendershot and Pete Hendershot.
56. The fact that Dorsey was written up for speaking directly to Sluka about a work-
related issue discouraged him from using Slukas purported open door policy, and caused him
to make no further efforts to follow up with Sluka about Tony Hendershots behavior.
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57. In the meantime, Tony Hendershots abusive and racist behavior continued. In or
about 2011, Hall spoke to Sluka about the situation, including the fact that Tony Hendershot
referred to Hall as nigger and other racial epithets, but Sluka took no action in response.
Tony Hendershot Tells Hall That His Wife Sucks The White Mans Dick
58. In or about 2011, Mayor Gallagher invited Hall to play with him and Sluka in the
Mayors Challenge golf tournament.
59. After Hall joined Mayor Gallagher and Sluka for the golf tournament, Tony
Hendershot escalated his racial abuse of Hall, and Pete Hendershot also began to mistreat Hall on
the job.
60. Tony Hendershots abuse of Hall went to new levels in the summer of 2012. In or
about J une 2012, when Hall was shampooing a rug in Borough Hall, Tony Hendershot, who
appeared to be intoxicated, confronted Hall and told him, your wife sucks Kevin Slukas dick.
She sucks the white mans dick.
61. Hall promptly reported to Pete Hendershot and Sluka what Tony Hendershot had
said to him, and reiterated to Sluka the types of racial abuse that Tony Hendershot had subjected
him to on the job, including his frequent use of racial slurs such as nigger to describe Hall and
Plaintiffs. Hall then asked Sluka for the card of the attorney who conducted the sensitivity
training in 2008, but Sluka refused to give Hall the card, telling Hall that he would handle it in
house. Sluka told Hall that he would investigate the situation, but Sluka again took no action in
response.
62. While Sluka was purportedly handling Halls complaint in house, Tony
Hendershot continued to abuse Hall and other African-American employees. For instance, on
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one occasion in or about J uly 2012, Tony Hendershot called Hall a spook while Hall was
performing his job.
63. Pete Hendershot also began to actively mistreat Hall during this time, repeatedly
threatening to fire him for having spoken to Sluka about Tony Hendershot. For example, in
J anuray 2013, Pete Hendershot said to Hall, I'm in charge of you now so you can't run to Kevin
Sluka or I will fire you. Pete Hendershot also mocked Hall by telling a fire department official,
dont say nothing to Wade [Hall] cause hell run to Kevin [Sluka].
64. Throughout 2013, Tony Hendershot continued his racist treatment of Plaintiffs
and other African-American employees of DPW. For instance, upon information and belief, on
one occasion, Tony Hendershot was discussing ordering gloves with other DPW employees, and
said, you better order the dark ones. They like the dark ones a lot.
65. On one occasion in the summer of 2013, Hall and Tony Hendershot were
conversing when Tony Hendershot noticed that the pants of Darren Manfreade, a white DPW
employee, were low. Tony Hendershot commented to Hall, Darren looks like a wigger. Hall
asked Tony Hendershot what he meant, and he responded, a white person acting like a nigger . .
. a nigger like you with his pants falling down.
Hall Complains To Mayor Gallagher
66. In the late summer or early fall of 2013, Hall spoke to Mayor Gallagher regarding
the racial abuse he had suffered at the hands of Tony Hendershot. Hall told the mayor about
Tony Hendershots prior racist comments, including his use of the word nigger and his
comment about Halls wife sucking the white mans dick.
67. Mayor Gallagher told Hall that such conduct could not be tolerated, and that he
would call Sluka and handle this quick. Sluka called Hall a day or two later, and asked how he
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was feeling (Hall had recently suffered an injury), but did not mention anything about Halls
complaint about Tony Hendershots racially abusive behavior, or anything about a conversation
with Mayor Gallagher.
First Snowstorm of 2013: Additional Racial Epithets by Tony Hendershot
68. On December 14, 2013, during the first major snowstorm of the winter, DPW
employees, including Tony Hendershot, Pete Hendershot, Dorsey and Hall, were performing
snow removal duties.
69. Dorsey was attempting to bring a piece of equipment into the garage, which
apparently angered Tony Hendershot. Upon information and belief, once Dorsey left, Tony
Hendershot, who was apparently intoxicated, told a group of white DPW employees, including
Pete Hendershot, Im tired of catering to these mother fucking niggers.
70. In response, Pete Hendershot told Hall to take Tony Hendershot out and buy him
coffee. Once Tony Hendershot got into a truck with Hall, he turned to Hall and said, Bro, I love
you, but youre a nigger. Tony Hendershot also said, Im going to fire all of you
motherfucking niggers when Im in charge, and repeated, I love you, but youre a nigger.
71. Shortly after the December 14 incident, Dorsey spoke to Slukas assistant,
Halperin, about Tony Hendershots racist diatribe during the snowstorm. Halperin
acknowledged that he already knew about the incident, and assured Dorsey that Sluka knew what
had happened. Hall had a similar conversation with Halperin around this time, during which
Halperin told Hall that Sluka knew what had happened during the snowstorm.
72. On or about J anuary 16, 2014, Sluka and Hall spoke about the snowstorm incident
involving Tony Hendershot. Hall told Sluka, dont worry about it, Kevin - Ive got a lawyer
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now. Only in response to Halls threat of legal action did Sluka finally take any action, hiring
an attorney to represent Somerville.
73. In the meantime, Tony Hendershot continued to work, and continued to abuse
Plaintiffs and other African-American employees. For instance, in J anuary 2014, Tony
Hendershot used the term wigger in a conversation with Dorsey to refer to a white employee.
74. Later that month, on or about J anuary 21, 2014, one of Tony Hendershots friends
from the Eagles Club, Ken Whalen, who was at DPW as a guest of Tony Hendershots, got into a
dispute with Vandervoort while Vandervoort was attempting to move a truck into the yard.
Whalen told Vandervoort, Dont hit me [with your truck] -- Martin Luther King Day was
yesterday and Ill kick your ass.
Harassment of Plaintiffs Continues Despite Investigation
75. Although Sluka and Somerville finally hired an attorney in J anuary 2014 to look
into Tony Hendershots behavior, harassment of the Plaintiffs continued.
76. In late J anuary or early February 2014, Tony Hendershot apparently opted to take
early retirement as a result of the discrimination complaint.
77. Following his brother's departure, Pete Hendershot began to retaliate against Hall.
For example, on Sunday, February 9, 2014, Pete Hendershot called Hall and told him that he
blamed him for his brother getting fired, and threatened to see to it that Hall would be fired.
78. Later that week, Pete Hendershot was injured, and is currently not working while
he recovers from injury.
79. In response, Sluka tapped his assistant, Mike Halperin, to oversee DPW, despite
Halperins complete lack of experience with DPW operations.
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80. Halperin used his position as temporary head of DPW to harass and retaliate
against Plaintiffs, particularly Dorsey, for having complained about discrimination in the
Borough.
81. Halperin stated on two different occasions to Dorsey that he would not have a job
for much longer. Halperin linked this threat to the Boroughs hiring of a consultant to oversee
DPW.
82. Specifically, Halperin told Dorsey, the Parks foreman, that he won't have to
worry about parks when the new guy gets here hes a parks expert. A couple of days later,
Halperin told Dorsey, youre not going to have a job much longer once the new guy gets here.
83. In March 2014, Halperin also took Vandervoort aside and explained to him that
Vandervoorts job was safe, but also said that Dorsey and Hall were not looked upon favorably
by Somerville executives, implying that their jobs were not safe.
84. Halperin also threatened African-American DPW employee Mike J ohnson with
regard to his interview with the attorney Somerville had hired to look into Plaintiffs claims.
Specifically, on March 13, 2014, in the presence of Dorsey, Hall, and others, Halperin told
J ohnson, if you're smart, you'll keep your mouth shut and say nothing to the attorney. Dorsey
and Hall also understood this comment to be directed to them, as they had interviews scheduled
with Somervilles attorney as well.
85. Halperin has also commented on Dorseys race, telling Dorsey, in the presence of
Vandervoort and others, that he should look into government programs for underprivileged
blacks if he wanted to undertake a project to rehabilitate a building.
86. Finally, Halperin has used his temporary position at DPW to harass Dorsey and
Hall for job-related functions. For instance, when Dorsey caused minor damage to a fence while
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plowing snow, Halperin initially threatened to call the police and report a hit-and-run, and then
instructed Dorsey to write himself up for the incident.
87. Additionally, when Hall had to miss work due to a back injury, Halperin
threatened to have people check at Hall's house to make sure he was really there.
88. The pattern of harassment and threats made by Halperin, coupled with his racial
comment about underprivileged blacks, has continued to create a hostile work environment for
Plaintiffs to this day.
CLAIMS FOR RELIEF
FIRST COUNT
Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. 1981 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 1983 et seq.)
Hostile Working Environment

89. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the above paragraphs as though fully set forth
herein.
90. Defendants subjected Plaintiffs to a hostile working environment based on race.
91. Defendants actions were unwelcome to Plaintiffs.
92. The harassment suffered by Plaintiffs was severe enough to make a reasonable
person of color believe that his working environment was hostile or abusive.
93. The harassment suffered by Plaintiffs was pervasive enough to make a reasonable
person of color believe that his working environment was hostile or abusive.
94. Plaintiffs believed their working environment to be hostile or abusive as a result
of Defendants conduct.
95. Defendants, acting under color of law, by policy or custom of the Borough of
Somerville, discriminated against Plaintiffs by creating a hostile working environment based on
race.
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96. Defendants violated Plaintiffs rights under 42 U.S.C. 1981 et seq.
97. Defendants violated Plaintiffs rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution.
98. Defendants actions caused harm to Plaintiffs.
SECOND COUNT
Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. 1981 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 1983 et seq.)
Retaliation

99. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the above paragraphs as though fully set forth
herein.
100. Plaintiffs engaged in protected conduct when they complained about racist actions
of Defendants and spoke to Somervilles counsel about the hostile working environment.
101. Defendants, acting under color of law, retaliated against Plaintiffs for engaging in
protected behavior.
102. Defendants, acting under color of law, retaliated against Plaintiffs for opposing
discriminatory practices.
103. Defendants, acting under color of law, retaliated against Plaintiffs for
participating in an investigation into discriminatory practices.
104. Defendants took action against Plaintiffs that might well have have dissuaded a
reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.
105. Defendants violated Plaintiffs rights under 42 U.S.C. 1981 et seq.
106. Defendants violated Plaintiffs rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution.
107. Defendants actions caused harm to Plaintiffs.

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THIRD COUNT
Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. 1985 et seq., 42 U.S.C. 1983 et seq.)
Conspiracy

98. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the above paragraphs as though fully set forth
herein.
99. Defendants, acting under color of law, conspired to deprive Plaintiffs of their civil
rights under 42 U.S.C. 1981 et seq., 42 U.S.C. 1983 et sq., and the Fourteenth Amendment of
the United States Constitution.
100. Defendants actions caused harm to Plaintiffs.
FOURTH COUNT
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.)
Hostile Working Environment

101. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the above paragraphs as though fully set forth
herein.
102. Defendants subjected Plaintiffs to a hostile working environment based on race.
103. Defendants Tony Hendershot, Pete Hendershot, Kevin Sluka and Mike Halperin
aided and abetted Defendant Borough of Somerville in subjecting Plaintiffs to a hostile working
environment.
104. Defendants actions caused harm to Plaintiffs.
FIFTH COUNT
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.)
Retaliation

105. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege the above paragraphs as though fully set forth
herein.
106. Plaintiffs engaged in protected conduct when they complained about racist actions
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of Defendants and spoke to Somervilles counsel about the hostile working environment.
107. Defendants retaliated against Plaintiffs for opposing discriminatory practices.
108. Defendants retaliated against Plaintiffs for participating in an investigation into
discriminatory practices.
109. Defendants retaliated against Plaintiffs for engaging in protected behavior.
110. Defendants actions caused harm to Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs demand judgment against Defendants, for:
A. Compensatory damages;
B. Consequential damages;
C. Punitive damages;
D. Interest, prejudgment and postjudgment;
E. Costs of suit;
F. Attorneys fees;
G. Equitable relief;
H. Such other relief as the Court deems just and equitable.












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JURY TRIAL DEMAND

Plaintiff hereby demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable.



s/ Sarah Fern Meil
Sarah Fern Meil
67 Bridge Street
P.O. Box 145
Milford, NJ 08848
Phone: (908) 995-7320
Fax: (609) 228-4307
sarahfern@sfmesq.com
Attorney for Plaintiffs


- and -

BROPHY & LENAHAN P.C.
J oseph Alexander Brophy, Esq.
2101 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 558-7600
Fax: (215) 449-3376
alex.brophy@brophylenahan.com
Pro hac vice application to be filed


Dated: May 13, 2014
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