A former legislative aide to Newark Councilman Luis Quintana has filed a lawsuit claiming he was the subject of retaliation and then terminated after refusing the politician’s request for a $10,000 donation for an annual parade the aide oversaw.
In a May 4 complaint filed in Essex County Superior Court, longtime employee Nelson Nieves alleges Councilman Quintana badmouthed him, changed his work duties and tried to sabotage the city’s Puerto Rican Day Parade after he couldn’t come up with the funds politicians had committed to raise for a festival scheduled along with the September 2016 event.
Three months later, Nieves said he learned he was canned upon discovering the locks on his office doors had been changed, according to the the complaint, which accuses Quintana and the city of Newark of violating the state’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act.
The alleged hostile work environment caused Nieves “anxiety, emotional distress and humiliation,” the complaint says. Nieves wants to be reinstated in his position and is also seeking compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
A message left with Quintana wasn’t immediately returned and a city spokesperson declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. Nieves’ attorney, Louis A. Zayas, didn’t have any comment beyond the allegations in the complaint.