A married Brooklyn woman has filed a complaint after her boss at an East Flatbush store allegedly ordered her to clean up a pile of dog poop as retaliation for spurning a co-worker’s advances.
Shanae Johnson said the owner of Easy Thrift Shop on Rutland Road knew the droppings duty would cause her great anxiety and humiliation and even recorded her on his cell phone as she became visibly nauseated and started crying.
“It felt so degrading,” Johnson told the Daily News. “I’m talking to you now, and I’m shaking. It was so degrading.”
Johnson, 26, said she attempted to fulfill the request Nov. 29 on the sidewalk outside the store but broke down sobbing and ultimately refused.
She said the owner then picked up the pile, held it near her face and told her it was actually fake feces as he tried to block her exit from the premises.
Johnson filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights last week, naming both the store and its owner, Earl Dennis. She claims she was targeted with the cruel prank after she shut down the advances of a male co-worker a few days earlier.
“My client rejected sexual advances and was retaliated (against) for doing so. Her boss made her pick up what he described as ‘dog poo’ and filmed the incident on his cell phone,” Johnson’s lawyer, David H. Rosenberg, told The News.
Johnson said being forced to pick up dog poop by the Easy Thrift Shop on Rutland Road “felt so degrading.”
(Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
“I don’t know anything about this,” Dennis told The News when reached by phone. “I think there’s something mentally wrong with her.”
He referred to Johnson as a volunteer, not an employee.
“It didn’t happen,” he said of her allegations. “We’re good people. We don’t do anything bad.”
Rosenberg said Johnson was indeed a paid employee and that the business was not a charity.
“She was paid in cash. We have texts from her to him about running late,” he said.
In her complaint, Johnson says a co-worker identified only as Joe sexually harassed her as they worked at Dennis’ request at his separate financial services business, Tax Town, down the block.
“You smell so nice. What are you wearing?” Joe, who was her supervisor that day, allegedly said. Joe also stood “unreasonably close” to Johnson as he “sniffed” her, the complaint obtained by The News states.
“How old are you? Just asking to see if I am not too old for you,” Joe allegedly said, according to the paperwork.
“I am 26 and have been married for six years. Please stop,” Johnson says she responded.
Joe turned angry and ordered her to clean a toilet the next day, Nov. 25, something not previously part of her clerk job and that he knew would disgust her, Johnson claims.
According to the complaint, Johnson spoke to Dennis about the alleged harassment, and a few days later Dennis pulled the poop prank, which ended her employment at the store.
Johnson said her experience was so traumatizing, she can’t even walk down the block where it took place.
“I don’t know why he’d want to do a prank like that, while recording it on his phone. What kind of human being does something like that?” she said. “It was so humiliating. If I could erase it from my memory, I would do that.”