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Howell Employees' Harassment Lawsuit Settled for $1.3M

The township insurance provider settled the claim, according to the News Transcript.

A harassment lawsuit brought by four Howell employees was settled by the township's insurance provider for $1.3 million, according to the News Transcript.

The suit accused former Howell Municipal Court Administrator Dominick Pondaco of using profanity and sexually explicit and abusive language in conversations with the employees. He allegedly referred to the women as "idiots" and "monkeys," as well as a derogatory slur for female genitalia.

The group will split the settlement  equally; three of the four employees have subsequently returned to work and one has retired, according to the article.

This article contains earlier reporting by Adam Hochron.
dave ryan February 12, 2014 at 07:40 AM
Lemme see if I got this straight. We, the sucker Howell taxpayers are footing the 1.3 million tab for 4 thin skinned people. They walk away wealthy and our insurance tab will surely increase. Who pays for that? Right, the sucker tax payer. When, oh when is this robbery going to end?
Lucretia B February 12, 2014 at 09:07 AM
This is THE MOST incredible thing Ive ever seen. I worked for the State for a period of time and I can tell you that there was not one staff worker who didn't carry a very hard face and exterior. So I wonder--were these women just using this excuse in order to retire early? I think so. And if they've proven what they'll do in court, they are capable of doing it again. The taxpayer will suffer.
susan tuhy February 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Who pays for this settlement?
Lucretia B February 12, 2014 at 04:36 PM
Perhaps its time for either the insurance company or top leaders in the township to come up with some tough, strict policies governing employees and department heads and the subject of management.... so that these things don't happen again.
dave ryan February 13, 2014 at 07:06 AM
I really think a big part of the problem are lawyers. Now think about it. The settlement was 1.3 million. No doubt lawyers took 1/3, or @ 400,000. The 4 employees split 900,000, so they got 225,000 each. And of course the Howell taxpayer will foot this bill. Training people how to act proper is not the answer. Being called a monkey does not warrant such a payout on my back and your back. Workplace boorishness is a fact of life in some venues. If you don't like what's going on and you tell your superiors and they don't act on it then the superior as well as the perpetrator should be fired, and that's all!! No huge payout on our dime. Fire them and move on, case closed.
Lucretia B February 13, 2014 at 02:11 PM
In top companies, managers are hired on their employment records, their skills and how they act in the interview. Youll find no jerks in top companies and if one like the Howell manager existed....he wouldn't last long. So here we have 4 rich women who sued and won. I wonder if there are any others in that office who also suffered this guy's wrath but did not sue?
Lucretia B February 19, 2014 at 04:40 PM
Things couldn't have turned out better....the Township Council has agreed to a salary raise for all union township employees. To my knowledge, the townspeople will foot the bill. But its worth it just to see some smiling faces.
dave ryan February 20, 2014 at 07:50 AM
Giving raises to township employees is a necessary fact of life. Costs rise so people need to earn more money. However, what is bankrupting cities and towns across the USA is pensions! Liberal democrats, mostly, have promised the moon to govt employee unions in order to get elected. The general public would not sit for immediate massive increases in salary so they snuck in thru the back door these impossible to afford pensions. You want to see what continuous liberal rule can do? Look at Detroit. Governed by liberals continuously since 1962 Detroit is now a vast wasteland. Liberal giveaways and corruption in the motor city have led to mass exit of the population, city services that are now nonexistent due to lack of money, 14,000 abandoned buildings and a city govt begging for federal assistance. This is what happens when govt employee unions get in bed with a political party. The cycle continues unabated until there is a demographic collapse.
Lucretia B February 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Let me point out to you and to fellow citizens that Howell Township has always had a Town Council who met in front of the public to discuss a plethora of subjects. I encourage all citizens to watch Channel 77 where they may catch the airing of this Council meeting and meetings of the Board of Education, Planning Committee and others. You will learn things about your city you never knew. You will become very educated about whats being done on your behalf. You know the saying...be there or be square.
Carolyn Ann February 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM
I am glad the women won their suit, as no one deserves to be treated so poorly. A hostile workplace is purely the responsibility of the manager. He should have been dealt with, & by dealt with, I do not mean a paid administrative leave. FIRED is what it should have been. And what has happened to him? I'm guessing nothing or the article would have shared the info. As for these employees, I don't understand why there is not more support here. Would you want your mothers, wives, or daughters to endure 2 years worth of being called vile names, & I'm not talking monkey here. You want someone to pay for this? Then have the township lawyer bring suit against the Court Manager. It is time for all of Howell's "Good Ole Boys Club" to step back & re-access themselves.
dave ryan February 24, 2014 at 02:32 PM
I agree that no one should have to put up with constant abuse. My point is that why do I have to pay for it??? My argument is based on firing those responsible, not making the whole town share in the burden of such a high payment. That is patently unfair, don't you all agree?
Carolyn Ann February 24, 2014 at 03:12 PM
I absolutely agree with you Dave. The responsibility lies with Pondaco, & he should be heavily sanctioned. The man's reported income was greater than $75k, & unfortunately, there was tremendous back-peddling, when the suit was initiated. Howell Twp. was named in the suit because reports to the administrative board were ignored. Their answer was to transfer the women, & say they had no say in anything regarding the court personnel. I find that unconscionable. It had nothing to do with the court. I'm sorry to climb on my soapbox; I know you have read the story when it first became public knowledge. Pondaco should bear the brunt of the payment, & I sincerely hope someone in the township looks into it. Using vulgarity to communicate is totally not acceptable. Had they called him a male organ head, they would have been fired. Anyone know what Pondaco is doing, other than thinking he has no fault in this?
dave ryan February 24, 2014 at 05:51 PM
Male organ head? That is hilarious Karen!!! I've never heard it referred to that way. He must be a real posterior hole!!

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