Bruce Menth filed suit today against former employer Sherwin Drobner, owner of Heartland Ostrich Farm, Renbord Farms, Aspen Falls Properties and Goldberg Realty Associates, for violating the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (N.J.S.A. 34:19-1) – also known as the “Whistleblower’s Act” – in Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division / Mercer County.
Menth had been a full-time employee at Drobner’s ostrich farm in Hamilton Township, NJ for 3 years – where he became familiar with the farm operations. He then became a property manager at Drobner’s Aspen Falls Apartments in Morrisville, PA for 2 years – where he was provided with an apartment in his benefit package.
In the Fall of 2002, Menth discovered more than 50 ostriches dead and dying from mistreatment on the farm. He reported the atrocity in the hope of bringing relief to the surviving birds. When Drobner learned that Menth exposed the problem, Drobner fired Menth and ejected him from his apartment in retaliation.
NJ SPCA and Hamilton Township officials have charged Drobner’s Heartland Ostrich Farm caretaker, Kevin Ploth, with several counts of animal cruelty in the deaths and neglect.
“This kind of retaliation by employers is exactly the behavior the New Jersey whistleblower’s statute was designed to prevent,” says Anne McHugh, the attorney representing Mr. Menth from the Princeton law firm Pellettieri Rabstein and Altman. “Bruce Menth did the right thing by all standards of law and decency, and now he’s out of a job and apartment because of it. That’s wrong. And, that’s illegal, whether it’s Enron, Worldcom or Heartland Ostrich Farm.”