A lawsuit filed in federal court in early July suggests an international tree pruning company allowed one of its employees to become the subject of vicious attacks at the hands of other employees at job sites throughout Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.
The suit was filed on behalf of Roland Scornavacca Jr., a 20-year-old from Jefferson Township. The suit, filed by Wilkes-Barre attorney Peter C. Wood Jr., names Asplundh Tree Expert LLC as the defendant in the suit.
According to the complaint, Scornavacca was subjected to routine physical abuse at the hands of several of his coworkers, often while those coworkers were allegedly drunk on job sites, during a four-month period at the beginning of this year.
In a March incident, spelled out in graphic detail in the suit, Scornavacca was accused of being a homosexual and was called numerous homophobic and transphobic names.
He was allegedly forced to fight two other coworkers, after which he was forced to wear a Burger King crown “to celebrate his newfound manhood.” He was allegedly threatened that if he took the crown off at any time throughout the week he would “pay the price.”
Further, Scornavacca says his coworkers put out lit cigarettes on the back of his neck and used a black marker to draw swastikas on his forehead.
Photos of Scornavacca wearing the crown with a crudely-drawn swastika on his forehead are attached to the suit as evidence.
While the suit does identify several of Scornavacca’s coworkers by name, they are not named as defendants and no charges been filed in either Lackawanna or Luzerne counties against them.
However, the suit does suggest that at least one of the employees allegedly responsible for Scornavacca’s abuse had a lengthy criminal record.
According to the suit, Asplundh should have taken action to protect Scornavacca, as he complained to a superior who allegedly refused to intervene.
Wood’s suit claims Asplundh has previously come under fire due to its hiring process. The company pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges, agreeing to pay a record-breaking $95 million fine after it was found the company employed thousands of illegal immigrants.
According to Wood, that $95 million fine was not enough to deter Asplundh from what he characterizes as unscrupulous hiring practices. As such, he is seeking compensation of at least that much.