‘Women Should Not Have the Same Rights’ — Boss Accused of Harassment
A South Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against her male boss and the electrical contracting company they both worked for, claiming frequent and increasingly explicit sexual harassment over a more than two-year span.
In a lawsuit filed last week in state Superior Court in Salem County, Meaghan Martin, of Monroeville, shared details of what she said was crude and suggestive behavior by Dru DiSilvestro, her direct supervisor. She said DiSilvestro once showed her a photo of his penis, left a sex toy on her desk, repeatedly propositioned her and openly stated that “women should not have the same rights as men do" -- a quote heard on a video published by Martin's attorney.
Krise Electrical, a family-owned and operated business in Elmer, is named as a defendant as are owner Eric Krise, operations manager Jim Park and head of human resources Wendy Seagraves.
Martin said the company treated DiSilvestro's offensive and unlawful behavior as a running joke, "fining" him a dollar for each inappropriate workplace comment, via a “harassment jar” kept in the office and tallied each week.
Martin was hired as a receptionist in October 2016. When she was promoted to residential manager by January 2018, she began to share an office space with DiSilvestro, at which point his behavior escalated and intensified, she said.
By February 2018, Martin and her husband, also an employee of Krise Electrical, had separated, which she said also spurred DiSilvestro’s sexual harassment to increase. Martin said DiSilvestro began to make sexually explicit comments toward her on a more regular basis, from propositioning her to wondering out-loud about her personal grooming habits and sexual activities.
Martin said DiSilvestro once called her to his desk and showed her a picture of his penis that he claimed to have just taken in the office bathroom, while also telling her “This is what you’re missing out on.”
Among evidence given in the lawsuit is a photo of the sex toy that Martin said DiSilvestro left on her work desk, as well as screenshots from a Snapchat conversation the co-workers had in October 2018, in which Martin said DiSilvestro alluded to wanting a sexual encounter, despite his being married.
Martin's attorney's law firm also has shared a video clip from last month, which it said features the audio of a conversation between Martin and DiSilvestro, in which he said “Women should not have the same rights as men do" and that “[Women] need to be told what to do.” Any edits to the video and the captions on it are the firm's.
Martin said she was not the only female employee who dealt with DiSilvestro’s unwanted and unlawful sexual advances. She said around late 2017, DiSilvestro was written up for sexually assaulting another woman who worked at Krise Electrical by slapping her on the buttocks. Martin said the woman dealt with retaliation from DiSilvestro before being "discharged" from the company.
Martin said she began to suffer anxiety attacks and difficulty breathing as a result of DiSilvestro’s harassment and the company ignoring her various complaints about him. In the month before filing her lawsuit, Martin was placed on medical leave as a result of her symptoms.
The NY Post reported that attorney Evan Blaker, representing both DiSilvestro and Krise Electrical, said Martin's claims were “not well-founded” and dismissed DiSilvestro as a “class clown.”