Schenectady woman suing Walmart, Glenville store managers over sexual harassment

Exterior of the Wal Mart Supercenter in Glenville
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Exterior of the Wal Mart Supercenter in Glenville
Article Audio:

GLENVILLE — A Schenectady woman is suing Walmart and several of the superstore’s managers in Glenville, alleging she was subjected to repeated sexual harassment while working there that escalated to the point she was forced to move on three separate occasions to protect herself and family. 

The lawsuit claims the harassment began in June 2021 and continued until the woman resigned from her position in October 2021, and managers refused to intervene despite at least 20 complaints detailing the alleged misconduct.

The woman filed the lawsuit this week in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County. The Daily Gazette is not naming the woman because of the nature of the allegations.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was repeatedly sexually harassed by a maintenance supervisor named Adam, whose last name was not listed, and other managers not only turned a blind-eye to the harassment, but helped foster a hostile work environment by engaging in sexual intercourse with store employees during working hours, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to Walmart Stores Inc. and Adam, the lawsuit names the Glenville store manager Marvin Massey; Brian Cudemo, an overnight manager; and two overnight assistant managers, John and Richard, whose last names are also not listed.

The woman is seeking punitive damages and claims that the defendants “intentionally discriminated” against her because of her gender and harbor a “culture, pattern and practice of discrimination and retaliation,” the lawsuit reads.

A spokesperson for Walmart, in a statement, said the company has yet to be served with legal papers but takes seriously allegations of sexual harassment.

“We don’t tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Respect for the individual is a key pillar of our company, and we take allegations like this seriously. We will respond in Court as appropriate once we are served with the complaint,” the statement reads.

During the four-month period beginning in June 2021, Adam allegedly exposed himself to the woman and repeatedly harassed her with sexually charged comments, including routinely asking the woman to engage in sexual intercourse, according to the lawsuit.

The woman complained to defendant John immediately after the harassment began, but she was dismissed. At one point, the woman threatened to call the police, but John confiscated her phone and urged her not to involve law enforcement, adding he would talk to Massey, according to the lawsuit.

Later, when the woman went to retrieve her phone, she witnessed John having sex with another employee in his office. He then attempted to bribe the woman with a promotion and pay increase in a bid for her silence, according to the lawsuit.

“About one week after Plaintiff witnessed Defendant John engage in sexual acts with Plaintiff’s co-worker, that co-worker was promoted to the position of Assistant Manager,” the lawsuit reads.

The woman asked not to be bribed and never reported the incident because she was intimidated by John, according to the lawsuit.

In the weeks that followed the initial complaints, the harassment escalated and Adam soon began standing outside the woman’s house, where he allegedly screamed her name and waved his arms. In September 2021, he allegedly showed up to the elementary school of the woman’s 11-year-old autistic son and attempted to take the child out of school.

“Plaintiff was extremely uncomfortable and feared for the safety of her and her children,” the lawsuit reads.

The woman, according to the lawsuit, relocated on three separate occasions in order to avoid the harassment, including the first time in October 2021, the same month she resigned from her position as an overnight stocker she began in June 2019.

She moved again in December 2021, but still did not feel safe and relocated for a third time in February 2022.

“Defendant Adam constantly terrorized Plaintiff and created and maintained an extremely hostile work environment,” the lawsuit reads.

During the monthslong period of alleged harassment, the woman submitted five written complaints, including two to the the store’s Human Resources department. Three other complaints were submitted to Richard, one of the overnight assistant managers named in the lawsuit.

A total of 15 verbal complaints were also filed during the same period, including five each to defendents Richard, John and Cudemo, and at least one to Massey, the store manager, but no action was ever taken, the lawsuit states.

The woman eventually resigned in October 2021 due to the harassment.

“Due to Defendants’ constant sexual harassment and discrimination and Defendants’ failure to alleviate such working conditions, Plaintiff was forced to resign from her position,” the lawsuit reads.

But even following her resignation in October 2021, the harassment continued, the woman’s lawsuit claims.

In October 2022, the woman hired a lawyer, who contacted Walmart about the allegations. Less than two weeks later, Adam approached her at a pizzeria in downtown Schenectady, where she was eating with her child, and threatened her, according to the lawsuit.

“Defendant Adam approached Plaintiff and her son and said. ‘This is not over. I can get you. Marvin [Massey] told me you are coming for me. I can get you,’” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit also states that the outlined harassment “are just some of the examples of unlawful” conduct the woman was subjected to but does not delve into any additional details.

The woman is being represented by John C. Luke Jr. and Geoffrey A. Kalender of the law firm of Slater Slater Schulman LLP in Melville, New York. The lawyers did not return a request seeking comment.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

Leave a Reply