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Oorah slapped with lawsuit after harassing employee because of his U.S. military service

By Mason White 12:18 PM August 12, 2013
billboard soliciting charity for Oorah 

By: Moses Gold
A popular Jewish charity organization known of spending large amounts of money on advertisements was slapped with a lawsuit after company executives harassed an employee because of his service in the U.S. military, according to a lawsuit filed in court.

A Clifton, New Jersey man hired as company lawyer has filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that he was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his military service obligations.

Stephen Schwartz has sued a number of companies all run by the same management office based in Lakewood, according to the lawsuit. He was hired under a two-year contract to serve as a lawyer. The defendants named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in State Superior Court in Paterson, are Oorah Inc., Kars4kids and J.O.Y. For Our Youth.

Schwartz has sued the defendants under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, harassment, discriminatory discharge, retaliation and breach of contract. He is seeking compensatory damages, plus attorney’s fees.

Schwartz was hired in September 2012, in a two-year contract “terminable only by showing good cause.” At all times during his employment, he was in the U.S. military. In October 2012, Schwartz notified the director of human resources of his status in the National Guard and the need for leave. He told the human resources director that he would retire from his military registration if the defendants provided him with health care coverage.

The human resources director, advised Schwartz that “we can not tell the CEO that you are in the army. He will think that you are disloyal. He will be upset that you did not say this in the interview.”

In April, Schwartz was called to a meeting with the company president Alwyn Gordon and human resources director Dina Stern. “Gordon told the plaintiff that the defendants would not have hired the plaintiff if they had known of his military service. During the meeting, Gordon spoke to the plaintiff aggressively and in a degrading manner. Thereafter, the plaintiff was treated in a hostile, intimidating and abusive manner,” the lawsuit states.

On June 25, Gordon presented Schwartz with a document stating that his contract would be terminated.