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ONLY ON 3: Former Wave Transit worker says she was fired for blowing whistle on harassment

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Machell Huene says she is afraid to list Wave Transit on her resumé. She is afraid of retaliation after she says she tried to report injustices at her job, then got fired.

Now, with nothing to lose, she is taking a stand and fighting back.

Huene says reports of sexual harrassment, discrimination and unfairness at Wave Transit have fallen on deaf ears for several years. She says it all started after a conversation with her supervisor, Joseph Mininni, about sick days.

"We were discussing the reasons to use sick or vacation, and we were told we could use our sick if we had to go out for some reason, to take our cat to a vet, to get our hooha shaved," Huene said.

Huene says nothing to her knowledge was ever done about the harrassment. Plus she says ever since reporting the incident, she's had a target on her back.

"He told me that I was going to be put on six months probation, two days with no pay, and I asked for what reasons," Huene said. "There was a list of reasons, but they were all accusations. I was not provided with any documentation, any dates of instances."

Huene says while she does make mistakes here and there like any person, none were reason for probation or her ultimate termination.

She is not alone in her battle. Jessica Brown says she was discriminated against for being pregnant.

"I was interrogated by my supervisor and Joseph Mininni on a weekly basis of when I plan to go out on maternity leave and how long I planned to stay out," Brown said.

She says she was allowed 12 weeks off through the Family and Medical Leave Act, but just 11 weeks later, she says her position was already filled.

"I received a letter dated Dec. 9 saying that on Dec. 6 my 12 weeks of FMLA time were up, and that my position was no longer open and available to me," Brown said.

Heune, with Brown by her side, tried speaking with board members at a meeting of the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority today, but they did not allow her the time. They said this is a personnel matter, and not one to be discussed at the meeting.

We spoke with Wave Executive Director Albert Eby and Mininni, Wave's Director of Finance & Administration, by phone today. Both men refused to comment on the allegations.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Ridiculous

I wonder if some of these comments aren't in fact being made by the harassers themselves. There is a true case here, and these women weren't able to get the WHOLE story out based on air time and editing.
Perhaps some forget- when you stand for nothing you fall for anything. Proud of these brave ladies for taking a stand.

couple of thoughts

A doctor would determine when the women could no longer work safely while pregnant - so whats the use of interrogating her?

And shaving your hoo ha is certainly stereotypical and derogatory.
The front line management team at Wave needs quite a bit of training I'd say...............

Vog

I know Joe Mininni and

I know Joe Mininni and during the time we were coworkers he presented himself in a professional manner and was an all-around decent guy. Not once did I witness or hear of any inappropriate behavior directed toward any member of the staff (He would have been fired if that were the case, as the place where we were both employed takes harassment of any kind very seriously.) Based on that, I question the allegations and have to believe there is more to this story that the women are not divulging.

yep

I was let go in 2012 to for no reason.

WAVE has an

WAVE has an employment-at-will policy which means you can be fired for no reason at all. It's on the job application- "Either the company or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without notice." Most of the time, there is a good reason, but your employer does not have to disclose what that reason was.

NC is a "Right to Work"

NC is a "Right to Work" state so that clause is standard since unions cannot protect workers.. My last job I was called into the manager's office at the end of the week and was told "Today was your last day. It's time for a change and you are it." I didn't have a history of bad performance, write ups or similar so just kind of left there gasping for air.

WHITE GUILT

Machell Huene , let it all out, you were "discriminated" because YOU didn't toe to Political Correctness overtaking world. Including, State & Federal Governments We now live in... It is NO LONGER about QUALIFACTIONS, OR CHARACTER, IT'S about, COLOR, SEXUAL PREFENCE, OR SOME OTHER SILLY CRAP.. Now, If you had claimed you were "GAY" or something of THAT Nature, you would have the whole world behind you... Unfortunately, your NOT, face the facts, bye, bye... Good-bye JOB...

Take this seriously!

These allegations need to be fully investigated and not by the ones involved. These women need to be taken seriously. If allegations are true then laws have been broken and someone needs to be held accountable for their actions.

You are correct

These ladies are telling the truth. Their side will come out, you wait and see. What they have to say is legitimate. This company does not stand behind their workers,they degrade them, and Wave should be made to uphold the law just like every other employer, but they don't they make their own rules. When they want to get rid of someone they lie and try to cover up the truth. The truth will come out...

You 2 women are the very

You 2 women are the very reason a smart employer will try to only hire males, when yaw get in the frame of mind everything that is said to you is sexual harassment, an easy cop out for you not wanting to do what you were hired for
1- Huene you asked your supervisor when you could use your vacation and sick leave? Really, the super was trying to be as nice as he could allowing you a little latitude on using your sick leave dummy, when would you have thought you could use your sick leave? To go to a ballgame?
2-Brown you say you were discriminated against? because your supervisor asked on a weekly basis when you planned on going out on maternity leave? That would be a very legitimate question, why didn't you just answer it? This is a person that is responsible to work around these type of employee outages and keep the job running and maintaining you a place of employment when you come back, you have to do your part to help plan!
You 2 are pathetic.

WWAY: According to your

WWAY: According to your comment policies you prohibit in part sexist comments and ad hominem attacks. Maybe you could educate me as to how this screed from "g-45" cleared your moderators.

thank you Snarky for proving

thank you Snarky for proving my point, there was not 1 thing I said meant to be sexist or whatever you are trying to accuse me of saying. You have proved my point for me, you have taken it all out of text, and made it what YOU wanted it to be, something employers are having to deal with on a daily basis.

What kind of answer did you expect a boss man to give when you come to him with such a loaded question, when can I take my vacation and sick leave? Dah! nothing he answered was going to be what the lady wanted to hear.

And for Brown, why as a bossman would you not be entitled to know when an employee is planning on going out on maternity leave and coming back? Is that such a hard question? He has to plan accordingly to make sure everything runs properly and that there is a job there waiting when you return, he can't without those basic questions answered.

This is one mole hill you can't turn into a mountain, sorry.

You are so correct. You can

You are so correct. You can employ 100 men with no problem. As soon as you add a female or two, the problems and drama begins. Women cannot get along with each other and will not hesitate to play the race card or discrimination card should they not get what they want.

Pathetic? Look in the mirror for THE definition!

It seems pretty obvious that some serious housecleaning needs to be done in the transit ranks! It's against the law to NOT hold someone's position while out on maternity leave. Remember, the family leave law?

Nobody should ever be addressed by stating "...you can use your sick time to get your HOO-HAA shaved." That is obscene, totally unprofessional and is deserving of being immediately terminated! Nobody has the right to talk to people like this for any reason.

I'm not sure which rock you crawled out from under, but it sounds like you did it in 1942. I wasn't even aware that backward, faded idiots like you still existed in todays society! You are the grand-standing epitome of "pathetic"!

Ouch

Wow! I sure am glad that when I wake up in the morning I am not you. That must be a sad little world you exist in.