GREENLAND — Former road agent and property maintenance supervisor Paul Hayden is suing the town and two selectmen, alleging he was fired in retaliation after reporting that he was harassed.
Hayden recently filed a lawsuit in Rockingham County Superior Court in an attempt to get his job back and seek damages.
The suit names the town and selectmen Robert “Chip” Hussey and Chester Deorocki as defendants.
Hussey and Deorocki filed a motion this week asking the court to dismiss the suit.
Hayden was fired on June 14 and is alleging wrongful termination and intentional interference with employment relationship.
In addition to his roles as road agent and property maintenance supervisor, Hayden was also sexton of the town’s cemetery and was responsible for mowing, landscaping and preparing grave sites.
He was hired as the town’s property maintenance supervisor in 2009 and as road agent in 2016.
In his suit, Hayden claims Hussey and Deorocki began antagonizing him in 2017.
“Within a week of becoming selectmen, both began driving to Greenland’s municipal garage, giving a variety of unreasonable orders that the selectmen had not voted to have Hayden perform,” the suit said.
Hayden claims Deorocki followed him and videotaped him while he worked.
He filed a written complaint about the alleged harassment to the five-member board of selectmen in January 2018. The town hired outside counsel to investigate the report. The suit referred to a memorandum in Hayden’s personnel file in which the investigator recommended, among other things, that a “clear set of expectations be developed with Paul and a mutual understanding be arrived at regarding his use of the highway garage and personal tools, hours he works and communication channels,” the suit said.
During that investigation, Hayden acknowledged that he can get “overwhelmed when there are several projects going on at the same time and he is receiving requests from more than one person,” the suit said.
The town stated in court documents that dealing with several projects at the same time was a “necessary duty of his job.”
The town has denied that Hayden was harassed and many of the other allegations claimed in the suit.
“The town at all times acted in good faith and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and similarly did not violate any recognized public policies,” Joshua Hilliard, the town’s attorney, wrote in court paperwork.
Hayden claims that at one point Deorocki repeatedly drove around the town hall while he was working at a computer and stared at him through a window.
According to the suit, tension escalated during a confrontation between Hussey and Hayden on Feb. 18. Hayden claims Hussey entered the town hall and told him, “You come here. I’m one of your bosses.” Hussey then pointed to tape covering an electrical switch and indicated that it was a hazard and needed to be fixed, according to the suit.
“I’ll have your job,” Hussey told Hayden, who replied, “I will not be spoken to like that,” the suit said.
Hayden eventually told Hussey, “F- — you,” and walked away, the suit said.
After he was hired in March, the suit said Town Administrator Matthew Scruton asked Hayden to sign a pre-written apology letter to Hussey for the February incident.
The suit referred to various complaints about Hayden’s performance that Scruton added to his personnel file over the course of several weeks, including an allegation of a rat infestation at the transfer station, which Hayden denied.
In their motion to dismiss, Hussey and Deorocki claimed Scruton documented several issues that included Hayden’s “failure to make progress on a list of tasks he was responsible to complete.”
Hayden appealed his firing and requested and testified at a public hearing on June 24, but selectmen didn’t give him his job back.