A staffer at a publicly traded human resources company is suing his employer, claiming that he faced retaliation after discovering a hidden camera taped to a urinal in an office bathroom.
Jason Savage, a client success coordinator at TriNet USA, which is headquartered in California, claims in his 46-page complaint filed last week in New Jersey Superior Court in Monmouth County that on July 22, he was in the men’s room at the company’s office in Iselin, New Jersey, when he spotted a small video recording device attached to the urinal plumbing with electrical tape.
The gadget was the size of an iPhone power adapter with a small lens ‘that was pointed to secretly record the genitalia of those using the urinal, ‘ according to the lawsuit filed in Savage’s behalf by the law firm McOmber & McOmber LLC.
The rear of the camera was equipped with a micro USB port, a power button and a SD card slot.
Jason Savage, a client success coordinator at TriNet USA, says he found a hidden camera taped to this urinal in a second-floor men’s room at the office
The complaints states that Savage ‘was shocked to discover that some deeply disturbed individual had been secretly recording his genitals (and that of many others) as he used the bathroom,’ and he became concerned that the footage may have been disseminated online.
Savage left the second-floor bathroom and shared the starting discovery with his co-workers, who then followed him into the men’s room to inspect the device.
While savage and his two colleagues were discussing the situation, the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff’s direct supervisor, David Swerdloff, overheard their conversation and asked them what was going on.
Savage, 27 (pictured), wanted to report the find to the police, according to his lawsuit, but his director supervisor took the camera and promised to do it himsel f
When Savage told his boss about the camera, the complaint alleges that Swerdloff, ‘without hesitation…reached and grabbed the device from the urinal and proceeded to walk out of the bathroom door.’
As Savage and a co-worker began discussing how to report their find, Swerdloff allegedly turned to them as said, ‘No, don’t worry about it, I will handle it; I will go right to the police station and file a report.’
Savage and his colleague became suspicious that Swerdloff was the person who had installed the camera in the bathroom in the first place, given his eagerness to remove the device following its discovery, according to the lawsuit,
Fifteen minutes later, Swerdloff, who did not go to the police as promised, called the office to explain to the employees that he did not file a report with TriNet headquarters of the police.
‘On the call, [Swerdloff] stated, in erratic fashion, that he accidentally smashed the camera and in a state of panic hurled the device form his car off the Garden State Parkway overpass.’
This latest twist confirmed to Savage his initial suspicion that Swerdloff was the person responsible for installing the hidden camera and recording men in the bathroom, the court filing claims.
The incident took place at TriNet USA’s Iselin, New Jersey, location (pictured)
The next day, Swerdloff confronted Savage and his two colleagues, and expressed his anger after learning of the subordinates’ suspicions concerning his alleged involvement in the hidden camera stunt.
The supervisor blustered that everyone ‘will get fired because we did not report the incident what it happened,’ according to the lawsuit.
He also allegedly issued a threat, saying: ‘You do not want to be fired, you have TriNet paying for your school, rent, and benefits.’
Swerdloff also repeatedly taunted Savage and others saying, ‘Hey don’t go into that stall, there is a camera in there,’ the suit alleges.
Not deterred by Swerdloff’s words, Savage and the other workers proceeded to report a confidential complaint to TriNet’s HR tipline.
During an internal investigation that followed, Swerdloff allegedly tried to meet up with Savage ‘to get their stories straight,’ but the staffer refused.
The probe eventually led to Swerdloff’s firing for violations of company policy, which were never made public, leaving many employees to blame Savage for their boss’ termination.
But that was not he end of the saga for Savage.
In his complaint, the employee claims that a couple of weeks later, TriNet ‘turned the tables on him’ and opened a ‘sham investigation’ into unspecified misconduct, during which the company’s HR team tried to ‘dig up dirt on him.’ Savage has denied any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit accuses TriNet of carrying out an ‘orchestrated, retaliatory effort’ to either force Savage out, or get him to quit, despite his stellar performance reviews and clean disciplinary record.
TriNet, an HR company with an estimated annual revenue of $3.5billion, is being sued for retaliation, sexual harassment; negligence; breach of contract and invasion of privacy
‘This matter involves an egregious and shocking invasion of privacy,’ Savage’s attorney, Matthew Luber, said in a statement. ‘Public exposure of this case is critical because, as alleged in the complaint, the company was more concerned with muzzling its employees than learning the truth.’
According to his LinkedIn profile, Savage continues to be employed by TriNet USA, which hired him in 2015.
TriNet USA specializes in human resources and risk mitigation, working with thousands of companies in the US and abroad. The company has about $3.5billion in annual revenues and employs more than 3,500 staffers.
The civil lawsuit accuses TriNet of retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act; sexual harassment; negligence; breach of contract and invasion of privacy, among others.
Savage seeks a jury trial and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.
TriNet USA has released a statement to NJ.com saying the company is ‘committed to creating a safe, professional work environment for our colleagues’ and takes ‘swift and appropriate actions to investigate any allegation that a company policy was not followed.’