Published October 29, 2013
A delivery man for the midtown (Manhattan) restaurant Mangia 57 has won a $900,000 jury verdict, payback for the anti-Semitic harassment heaped upon him by three supervisors at the eatery.
“It’s a very happy ending — I’m in another world,” said an ecstatic Adam Wiercinski, of Washington Heights.
“They would call him a ‘dirty Jew,’ and when he would say, ‘But I took a bath,’ they would laugh and say, ‘No, you still smell like Jew,’” said his lawyer Matthew Blit.
Nightshift manager Artur Zbozien often “passed gas” in front of Wiercinski, and would then joke that the gas was Zyklon B, the poison used in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust, according to the Brooklyn federal court lawsuit.
“How can I explain to you — he passed wind, loudly,” Wiercinski told The Post of Zbozien. “Everybody laughed, and then he said, ‘See? this is your Zyklon B, you stupid Jew.’
“My father had six siblings — only two of them survived in what is now the Ukraine,” he said.
“I had to explain to the members of the jury, what is Zyklon B,” he added. “Because they were very young; they do not know. When I explain how it was used in the gas chambers, they were very serious. Everybody [in the courtroom] was silent.”
Other supervisors would dock Wiercinski’s tips, call him a “Jewish pederast,” and throw pennies at him, again making anti-Semitic jokes, the lawsuit said.
Wiercinski worked at the W. 57 St. restaurant from 1992 until 2008, staying despite the abuse because, “He was 50 years old,” explained Blit. “He said, ‘Who else is going to hire a 50-year-old delivery man.’ He was afraid.”
Jurors heard just three days of testimony last week, including supporting accounts from three of Wiercinski’s outraged co-workers. Much of the testimony was in Polish, the language used by many of the restaurant’s employees. The jury reached a verdict in just four hours, Blit said.
“He’s in shock,” the lawyer said of Wiercinski’s reaction to the hefty jury award.
“He was so happy. It’s a moral victory for him.”
Employees at the restaurant and caterer, which has three Manhattan locations, have denied the harassment took place. The restaurant is expected to seek that the verdict be tossed out or reduced; calls to their attorney were not immediately returned.