Lawsuit: Tax collector like 'Adolf Hitler' to subordinates

March 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM
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OCEAN CITY, N.J., March 12 (UPI) -- A lawsuit from a former employee accuses a New Jersey tax collector of abusing her subordinates "in a manner resembling ... Adolf Hitler."

Michelle Ruppert's Ocean City Court lawsuit accuses Tax Collector Bernadine Pearce of bullying employees she deemed to be "less perfect" than herself, Courthouse News Service reported Wednesday.

"On the first day of plaintiff's employment, defendant Pearce, in a manner resembling the way Adolf Hitler treated the disabled and the Jews during the Holocaust, showed plaintiff her 'wall of shame,' which wall displayed a funerary urn filled with 'ashes of problem employees,' and various name plates of the employees who were 'exterminated' by defendant Pearce," the complaint states. "Defendant Pearce told plaintiff that the nameplates on her 'wall of shame' belonged to past employees she had personally 'exterminated,' [i.e.,] fired or had quit their jobs because of her."

The lawsuit alleges Pearce "engaged in a severe and pervasive pattern of mentally abusive and offensive behavior directed at plaintiff, who suffered from a disability, which conduct was designed to, among other things, punish plaintiff for being disabled and cause plaintiff severe emotional distress."

The lawsuit names Pearce, the borough of Point Pleasant, the borough's Office of the Tax Collector and borough administrator David Maffei. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages for hostile workplace, discrimination, negligence and emotional distress.

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