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Former employee: Dashcam video bolsters sexual harassment claim against Westbury auto dealership

A dashboard camera on a vehicle being serviced at a Westbury auto dealership caught two male employees making disparaging remarks about a female co-worker, who is using the video to buttress her allegations of sexual harassment, according to a complaint filed with the state.

The unidentified vehicle owner posted the video on a social-media site, says a complaint filed Tuesday by Melissa Kendall, 33, of Flushing, with the state Division of Human Rights.

"I certainly don't ever want women or anyone to ever be put in the position I was put in," Kendall said. "Where they're unjustly terminated or have to work in a hostile work environment and suffer the way I have suffered."

The complaint names Westbury Jeep, VIP Auto Group, as the defendant and details the actions of four male employees.

The identity of the vehicle owner is not known, and the two employees apparently were not aware the dashcam was recording, according to Kendall's attorney, Lenard Leeds of Mineola.

Joel Sporn, Westbury Jeep owner, denied the allegations.

"The company denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend its position in court," he wrote in an email.

The male employees named in the complaint could not be reached for comment.

Kendall says in the complaint that she was hired as assistant vehicle exchange manager Dec. 9 and "had several rapid promotions." Her last promotion, to vehicle exchange director in June, increased her salary to $125,000 from $65,000, she says.

"While working at the Westbury Jeep Service Department, Melissa became aware of a 'boy's club' environment, in which female employees were subjected to disparate treatment in the workplace," the complaint says.

It says one male employee "repeatedly bit Melissa on the arm," and a supervisor failed to address the matter "despite Melissa's vocal opposition to being touched without consent."

The complaint says that while Kendall worked in the showroom, she "experienced male co-workers having conversations and maintaining a list of female co-workers whom they wished to sleep with, as well as insulting and derided female co-workers whom they did not wish to sleep with."

Kendall said that despite an "excellent work" record and promotion, she was fired on June 15, "mere days after having voiced opposition to sexual harassment and gender discrimination."

"As soon as she complained about sexual harassment, 10 days later, she's terminated," Leeds said. "It's a double standard -- rewarding her for her efforts and then punishing her because she made a complaint."

"As a result of her termination, Melissa has suffered financially and emotionally, including physical manifestations of stress and anxiety," the complaint says.

Leeds said they would seek to file a lawsuit as needed, depending on the outcome of state and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission examinations of the complaint.

With William Murphy

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