A construction laborer claims that after a co-worker choked her on a Manhattan job site, her supervisor told her she’d have to “squash the beef” with her attacker.
Jaleesa McCrimmon says she was taken off multiple Trade Off-controlled job sites after complaining about physical assault and repeated sexual harassment over the course of more than a year, according to a lawsuit she filed against the Long Island-based construction company, its owner Ronald Lattanzio and an affiliate company, Construction and Realty Services Group. Ultimately, McCrimmon says, she stopped getting work.
The alleged choking incident took place while McCrimmon was working at 80 East End Avenue in February 2016. A co-worker called McCrimmon a “housewife” and then began choking her, according to the lawsuit. Other co-workers had to pull him off McCrimmon, the complaint states.
After reporting the incident to the site’s foreman, McCrimmon was moved to a different construction site, according to the lawsuit. At 118 Fulton Street, a Trade Off supervisor allegedly sexually propositioned her and other women on the site, regularly suggesting that they should go to a hotel to have sex. McCrimmon alleges that she complained about the harassment to a Trade Off executive, who responded by moving her to a different site.
According to the lawsuit, while working at 50 Clinton Street, a site foreman began sexually propositioning her. When she refused his advances, he told her that he had no work for her at the site, the complaint states. McCrimmon alleges that Trade Off then stopped assigning her work.
Throughout her tenure with Trade Off, McCrimmon says she worked at 1 Wall Street, 70 Charlton Street and 59 Fulton Street, among others.
“Trade Off takes any allegation of harassment seriously,” Erin McGinnis, attorney for Trade Off, said in a statement. “We are confident that the allegations against the company will be deemed unfounded. This is just another in the long line of frivolous lawsuits that have been filed against the company. That is why we filed our own lawsuit to fight back against these twilight zone lawsuits that are simply meant to scare us off.”
McGinnis refers to various legal fights between Trade Off and laborers union Local 79. Local 79 has filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board against Trade Off, accusing the company of illegal surveillance of workers. In addition to McCrimmon, former employees have accused Trade Off supervisors of sexual harassment in complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and multiple lawsuits. Another lawsuit accuses Lattanzio, who testified in the early 2000s that he bribed the city’s Department of Buildings officials while working as an expeditor, of creating “a web of interrelated companies” to again use his DOB contacts to “enrich himself.”
Trade Off, in turn, has accused the union of harassing its employees and conspiring to put it out of business. In one complaint, as reported by the New York Post, the company alleges that two Trade Off employees were outside a Midtown steakhouse in February 2017 when they were surrounded by 200 union members who spit and tossed lit cigarettes at them.