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


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.

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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.

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