Lawsuit says NJ Costco didn’t punish worker’s anti-Semitic rant
A Middletown man is suing Costco after he says a female store employee launched into an anti-Semitic rant against him while he was shopping at the store in Hazlet where his son also works.
Irwin Wayne Levy filed the civil lawsuit in Monmouth County Superior Court on Monday. It claims religious discrimination and negligent hiring and retention practices, while seeking damages in an unspecified amount.
A warehouse manager and a senior manager at the store also are named as defendants in the suit.
In the complaint, Levy said he was checking out on April 7 when his cashier mentioned to her line assistant that he was the father of their coworker, Justin Levy.
At that point, Levy said a senior manager at the store interrupted the conversation and said, “Oh, I know where he [Justin] gets his good looks from” before also asking “how much of Justin is Jewish?"
Levy said he answered that his son "is half Catholic from his mother and half Jewish from me," to which he said the woman replied, “I don’t think so. He [Justin] has to be more Jewish than that!”
He said he asked whether the comment was meant in a good or bad way, to which the woman responded “In a bad way, of course,” while also saying, “Jews only see things in black and white with no grey area; just like Justin.”
A rep for the Costco Wholesale corporate office said Tuesday of the lawsuit: "Unfortunately, I am not able to provide a comment at this time."
Levy said his son reported the incident to the warehouse manager, who called Irwin Levy two days later and asked about the encounter, while also saying she would get back to him with a resolution.
The lawsuit claims that to date, Costco and its human resources department have failed to act on the complaints of unlawful conduct.
“As alleged in the complaint, while shopping at a Costco store and minding his own business, Mr. Levy was subjected to egregious anti-Semitism and discrimination by a Costco employee,” attorney Christian V. McOmber said. "This type of conduct has no place in a civilized society, let alone in a place of public accommodation. Quite simply, Costco has not taken the matter seriously and has not taken accountability for its own obvious failures and the actions of its employee."
Levy said he no longer feels comfortable shopping at the Hazlet store and now goes to different Costco Wholesale locations that are further from his home, which are inconvenient and more costly in time and travel expenses.
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