Pennsylvania Record

Friday, September 20, 2019

Former car salesman claims sexual harassment by female supervisor caused termination

By Jim Boyle | Jan 15, 2015

PHILADELPHIA - A former auto salesman claims that his reporting of sexual harassment by his female supervisor led the dealership owner and the woman's father to retaliate with the wrongful termination of the plaintiff, according to a discrimination suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Louis Domenico, of Saylorsburg in Monroe County, seeks compensatory and punitive damages, plus lost wages and benefits, based on six counts lodged against Colonial Used Auto Sales in Bartonsville.

According to the complaint, Domenico was hired as a salesman in March 2003 and began to experience aggressive sexual harassment in 2004 from his manager, Marguerite Vecchio, daughter of owner Ralph Vecchio, Sr. The claim says that Marguerite Vecchio regularly made sexual advances on Domenico, including offers for oral sex, and invited him to her house on several occasions.

The behavior continued openly and publicly despite Domenico's numerous denials and objections, the claim says, with no remedial action taken by Colonial. The complaint says that Vecchio's behavior turned more hostile following the plaintiff's marriage on Oct. 16, 2010.

According to the complaint, Vecchio subjected the plaintiff to severe criticism and scrutiny, demeaning and berating him in front of other employees for issues that other staff members had also experienced, and at one point threatening Domenico with physical violence.

Domenico made formal complaints in September 2012 and April 2013 to Ralph, the claim says, but no action was taken and he was advised to simply ignore Vecchio.

He allegedly made a third complaint in July 2013, this time threatening to bring in a lawyer if necessary. According to the complaint, Domenico was terminated a few days later, with the excuse that business was slow. However, the claim says, a replacement salesman was hired just two days later.

The plaintiff claims that Colonial terminated his employment as retaliation to his formal complaint of Vecchio's actions and created a hostile work environment by failing to remedy her behavior. Domenico says that the defendants' actions violated sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

He is represented by George Kounoupis of Hahalis & Kounoupis in Bethlehem.

The federal case ID is 5:15-cv-00158-JS.

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