Stew Leonard’s ex-worker claims ‘hostile environment’ – Low Calorie Diets Tips

A terminated employee has accused Stew Leonard Jr. of using insults and other degrading language towards black people and women and claims he was fired after being disabled by COVID-19, which he contracted at work , according to a lawsuit filed in New York last week.

Robert Crosby Jr., a former loss prevention manager at Stew Leonard’s Norwalk and Yonkers, NY stores, alleges in the lawsuit that he was fired after asking for time to recover after a battle with COVID-19. Crosby also claims he witnessed decades of inappropriate behavior from company executives, including Stew Leonard Jr.


During his 20-year tenure with the company, Crosby alleges in court documents that he saw Stew Leonard Jr. call young black male employees “thugs,” refer to two Jewish employees as “his resident Jews,” and use a racial slur when he Crosby asked to tell a black worker “to pull his pants up.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Crosby contracted the coronavirus and was fired after being disabled by long COVID due to the company’s lack of protective measures.

In a statement, Stew Leonard Jr. confirmed Crosby’s employment and his resignation, but declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“Robert Crosby Jr. worked for Stew Leonard for almost 20 years but unfortunately we had to part ways,” Leonard Jr. said in a statement. “We understand he has filed a lawsuit and we will review it with our attorneys, but we are not commenting on pending litigation.”

Crosby’s attorney Karen Mizrahi of Hertz Legal PC also declined to comment, saying, “The allegations in the complaint speak for themselves.”

According to the lawsuit, Crosby, a New Yorker who was fired in 2020 at the age of 56, repeatedly complained of discriminatory remarks and practices to the company’s human resources director. But the human resources rep dismissed the behavior, saying, “stew is just stew” and “he doesn’t mean it; it doesn’t have a filter,” the lawsuit said.

Crosby was threatened with disciplinary action if he continued to complain about the discriminatory behavior, the lawsuit said. The work environment was so hostile and riddled with “discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult” that a reasonable employee in the plaintiff’s position would find it hostile,” the lawsuit says.

As the pandemic hit the Northeast in March 2020, Crosby said he was increasingly concerned that the company lacked personal protective equipment like masks, the lawsuit says.

“We can’t say we have to keep six feet apart if you’re on the floor because we have to run a business here,” Stew Leonard Jr. said during a company meeting about COVID safety measures early in the pandemic lawsuit, according to Crosby’s.

Crosby tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3, 2020 while unemployed after being in close contact with colleagues who had the virus, the lawsuit says. His symptoms were “extreme and life-threatening” and included low oxygen levels, shortness of breath, fever, digestive problems, migraines and other problems such as dizziness, memory loss and blurred vision, the lawsuit says.

Crosby was hospitalized and granted time off under the Family Medical Leave Act and took time off until July 22, 2020, when he applied for medical clearance to return to work after being threatened with losing his job , according to the lawsuit .

But his case of long COVID prevented him from performing essential functions of his job, the lawsuit says. The company refused to provide housing for his disabled condition and forced him to work from a hospital bed when he was reinstated due to catering issues caused by long COVID, the lawsuit says.

Crosby was terminated on September 28, 2020, according to the lawsuit, which alleges the company violated New York City laws that prevent companies from firing employees because of a disability.

He brought his case before the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, both of which cleared the case to file a lawsuit, the documents say.

Crosby is seeking judgment for “not less than $500,000” in damages and costs of filing and prosecuting the lawsuit and “such other relief” as the court sees equitable, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount Crosby is seeking.

Headquartered in Norwalk, Stew Leonard’s has stores in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and is known for its dancing and singing farmer figures throughout the building, as well as fresh produce, meats and a variety of gourmet dishes.

Leave a Comment