Girl Sues Westfield Dermatology Follow For Hostile Work Atmosphere


WESTFIELD, NJ — A former medical assistant at Superior Dermatology Mohs & Laser Surgical procedure Middle has filed a lawsuit in opposition to the observe, and several other of its staff, claiming that she was subjected to a “hostile work setting.”

Samantha Sanchez, a Hispanic girl of Mexican descent, was employed by Superior from July of 2017 to round Nov. of 2021 in varied capacities, and most lately as director Sabatino Ciatti’s medical assistant, in line with the lawsuit.

She is now suing the observe, in addition to Ciatti, nurse Gina LaGrande, and doctor’s assistant Rachel Cittone on the premise that she, in addition to non-white sufferers, have been handled unfairly because of their ethnicity and/or race.

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Throughout a interval the place Sanchez labored as Cittone’s medical assistant, the lawsuit claims that Cittone handled Superior’s non-white sufferers, most of whom have been of Hispanic or South Asian nationwide origin or descent, worse than white sufferers.

After seeing a Hispanic or South Asian affected person, Cittone would usually say to different Superior
staff, together with Sanchez, that she “cannot perceive these folks,” “they should not
come to me” and “they need to go some other place,” amongst different related feedback, the lawsuit states.

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The lawsuit additionally claims that Cittone would use derogatory phrases to discuss with Hispanic and South Asian sufferers, comparable to “dumb,” “smelly” and “soiled.” Sanchez reported that she by no means as soon as witnessed Cittone discuss with or discuss white sufferers this manner.

Round Jan. of 2019, Sanchez complained to Robyn O’Pacity, the workplace supervisor at Superior that she was extraordinarily uncomfortable working with Cittone due to the best way she interacted with minority sufferers and her fixed “discriminatory feedback.”

In line with the lawsuit, O’Pacity — who was allegedly already conscious of Cittone’s habits — informed Sanchez that she ought to “simply put [her] two weeks in.”

Cittone’s “inappropriate and discriminatory habits” continued after this grievance, Sanchez reported.

In or round Might of 2019, Sanchez finally began working as an assistant underneath Ciatti — the medical director of Superior. He’s additionally a dermatological surgeon who has been practising in Westfield since 1998.

Whereas working underneath Ciatti, Sanchez claims she was additionally subjected to a hostile work setting by the hands of LaGrande, a registered nurse at Superior.

In line with the lawsuit, LaGrande would “steadily mimic a Hispanic accent to mock Sanchez and Norma Greer, one other Superior worker of Mexican descent.” Sanchez by no means as soon as noticed LaGrande mimic an accent whereas talking to a white worker, the go well with states.

Sanchez claims that Ciatti witnessed LaGrande mocking her on numerous events however by no means as soon as stopped LaGrande from doing it.

“Actually, Ciatti would often simply snicker when he noticed LaGrande mimic a Hispanic accent to mock Sanchez,” the lawsuit states.

Moreover, the lawsuit states that each LaGrande and Ciatti would often discuss with Sanchez as “AOC,” referencing the initials generally used to discuss with Hispanic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York Metropolis.

“Sanchez doesn’t in any means, form or kind resemble Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that Ciatti would additionally often interact in racist rhetoric within the office, together with making “extremely offensive feedback about Mexicans and Hispanics.”

“Ciatti would often discuss with Hispanic and Black folks as ‘animals’ and would
steadily say to sufferers, in entrance of Sanchez, that Mexican migrants to the USA
have been ‘not good folks,’ however have been ‘drug sellers’ and ‘murderers,'” the lawsuit states.

Ciatti can be accused of claiming that white folks shouldn’t be punished for being “smarter” and “extra laborious working” than Black and Mexican folks and shouldn’t be punished for or really feel badly about slavery because it was the “regular factor to do these days.”

The lawsuit additional states that Ciatti utilized completely different, extra lenient, requirements for worker conduct and self-discipline to Superior’s white staff. Sanchez claims she was held to stricter requirements and consequently was disciplined extra steadily and severely than white staff.

For instance, someday in or across the fall of 2021, in accordance the lawsuit, Ciatti yelled at Sanchez after discovering a suture discarded in a sharps disposal container — the place needles and different sharps are disposed of — and stated she ought to by no means eliminate a suture on this container.

Ciatti then ordered Sanchez to retrieve the suture from the sharps disposal container, which was crammed with used needles.

“After discovering out that it was truly Jana Alva, a white girl employed as a registered nurse at Superior, who had disposed of the suture within the sharps disposal container, Ciatti laughed off the scenario and informed Alva that it was not an enormous deal and to only make it possible for it didn’t occur once more,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit outlines numerous different incidents the place Ciatti had used “racist” and derogatory language in Sanchez’s presence.

Round Nov. 30 of 2021 Sanchez despatched an e mail to O’Pacity, informing her that she was “resigning from her employment with Superior because of the racist work setting there.”

The lawsuit claims that Superior knew of its staff’ creation of a hostile work setting however did not take measures to cease it.

Sanchez claims she has suffered financial, bodily and emotional hurt because of the hostile work setting she was subjected to.

Sanchez is searching for compensation from the observe, in addition to Ciatti, LaGrande and Cittone because of misplaced advantages, emotional misery damages and adverse tax penalties that she has acquired from working at Superior.

Sanchez is being represented by legal professional Usmaan Sleemi of Parsippany.

Patch reached out to James Bucci of Genova Burns, the legal professional representing Superior Dermatology, a number of occasions for a remark however didn’t obtain a response instantly.

Patch will proceed to comply with this story as extra info is made accessible.


Have a information tip? Electronic mail remy.samuels@patch.com.

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