TRENTON, NJ - A Bayonne business owner faces charges related to the discrimination of an employee on the basis of sexual orientation, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Tuesday. 

According to Grewal, the preliminary investigation substantiated the complaints of the employee at Professional Touch Dry Cleaning & Apparel Repair who said she had to quit her job as a counter person after two years because the business owner allegedly subjected her to a hostile working environment by openly disclosing, discussing, and deriding her sexual orientation.

The complainant stated that throughout her employment, the owner repeatedly made discriminatory comments about the fact that she is a lesbian in front of other employees and customers. As part of its investigation, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights interviewed several current employees, former employees, and customers of Professional Touch who corroborated the complainant’s claims, the statement read.

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One former employee recalled that the owner made a disgusted facial expression while telling her that the complainant is gay, according to the statement. A customer also described an instance in which he observed the owner mocking the complainant behind her back by making a lewd gesture alluding to her sexual orientation.

“There simply is no place in the workplace for unwanted touching, lewd comments, inappropriate remarks about an individual’s sexual orientation or other forms of harassment,” Grewal said. “Employers have a duty to ensure a discrimination and harassment-free work environment. When they fail to do so, the Division on Civil Rights will take action.”