Business manager

Westborough women sue union company manager over sexual harassment

MEDWAY – Westborough twin sisters allege sexual harassment at their old workplace, a Medway-based union office, even as union leadership accuses one of closely mismanaging funds of $ 1.5 million.

The two court cases were filed earlier this year. Each party denies the allegations made by the other.

Ginamarie Alongi and his sister Rosemarie Alongi worked in offices managing the benefits of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 4. Ginamarie worked there for 42 years, according to his lawyer, including 24 as an administrator. funds.

At least four boards of directors of different funds associated with the union, collectively referred to as “the funds,” as well as the union itself, filed a January 29 lawsuit against Ginamarie Alongi in the US District Court in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit accuses Alongi of spending time she was supposed to use to work for the funds and instead of working for another group of benefits, called the Massachusetts Coalition of Taft-Hartley Funds. She is also accused of telling other employees, including her sister Rosemarie, to work for the Coalition.

“Just prior to his termination, the Funds had begun to uncover the myriad of serious employment discrepancies explained in the complaint,” wrote Jennifer L. Markowski, of Boston-based Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP, on behalf of the Funds. “When details emerged of Alongi’s embezzlement and misuse of assets and resources, the trustees were forced to terminate Alongi.”

The complaint further states that Longi took an additional two weeks vacation on five occasions between 2015 and 2020, started working late on several occasions, and used his cell phone for personal calls.

“Local 4 members and retirees affected by the misuse and misallocation of Fund resources by Alongi are building New England’s infrastructure to keep our communities prosperous and secure,” Markowski wrote, “and the trustees acted quickly to protect their hard-earned retirement and health funds. dollars. “

Longis ‘attorney, Timothy P. Van Dyck of Bowditch & Dewey LLP, called the federal case “without merit” in his clients’ complaint, calling it one of a series of retaliatory measures taken against Ginamarie Alongi after she stood up to him. sexual harassment from the boss.

“This kind of behavior has no place in today’s society and the Alongi sisters want to make sure that what they have endured does not happen to others,” he wrote in an Press release. “The accused’s attempts to silence my clients are gravely misplaced. “

The Alongi sisters filed a lawsuit on February 10 in Norfolk Superior Court, calling William McLaughlin, the union’s business manager since 2017, a sexual predator. The case was filed against McLaughlin, as well as several funds associated with the union.

“He engaged in highly inappropriate sexual behavior towards complainants and other Fund employees, behavior well known to outside Fund lawyers,” the complaint states. “Such conduct created an obviously hostile working environment. “

The complaint accuses McLaughlin of regularly making “very inappropriate” and “sexual” comments to employees, including visiting Ginamarie’s office to discuss “her sexual desires and fantasies.” The complaint also states that he gave unsolicited massages to an anonymous employee.

The complaint details a meeting in 2018 in which Ginamarie Alongi told McLaughlin her behavior made her uncomfortable, which the complaint said was met with a verbal attack from McLaughlin “so vicious that it made her feel uncomfortable. (and other Fund employees) feared for Gina’s physical safety.

McLaughlin is further accused of attempting to kiss Alongi to apologize after the explosion and of saying he was about to get an erection as a result of the altercation.

“Mr. McLaughlin and the Funds categorically deny all of the claims made in the lawsuit brought by two former employees…. (Who) were fired for a good cause,” Markowski said. “The allegations in a lawsuit are just that, allegations, and we look forward to seeing this case properly adjudicated by the court system. “

Alongi was discouraged from filing a sexual harassment complaint by an outside lawyer for the funds, she and her sister’s complaint read, after which she began collecting similar stories from other female fund employees.

The complaint goes on to describe what it characterized as McLaughlin’s retaliatory acts.

The complaint said McLaughlin had prevented her from bringing her service animal to work, which detected hypoglycemia, and expected Longi to show up for work at 8 a.m. despite what the complaint explains be a deal that she would come later to help manage her diabetes.

Both lawsuits admit that Ginamarie Alongi was fired in July 2020. The sisters’ complaint adds that Rosemarie was fired the following month.

The union case only mentions Rosemarie Alongi once, in the list of employees accused of using union time to perform non-union work under Ginamarie’s direction.

Van Dyck portrayed his client as an exemplary worker who made no secret of her work for the Coalition from the union. In 2015, the Labor Guild awarded Ginamarie Alongi its Cushing-Gavin Award for “Outstanding Service to the Labor Relations Community of Eastern Massachusetts”.

McLaughlin received the award the previous year.

The Alongi lawsuit seeks damages from both the Funds and McLaughlin, although no dollar amount is specified.

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or at [email protected] Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.