Goldman Sachs janitor ‘was fired by drunk boss and had to wade home through flooded streets during Hurricane Sandy’

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 16:43 EST, 7 June  2013 |  UPDATED: 16:43  EST, 7 June 2013

Scene: Mefit Zecevic, a janitor at the Goldman Sachs building, was forced to walk home after Sandy 

Scene: Mefit Zecevic, a janitor at the Goldman Sachs  building, was forced to walk home after Sandy

A former janitor who helped secure the  Goldman Sachs building in Manhattan ahead of Hurricane Sandy has claimed he was  fired and forced to wade home through water in the aftermath of the deadly  storm.

Mefit Zecevic, 42, said he has been left with  post traumatic stress disorder after a drunk boss wrongly fired him for stealing  from a colleague and made him walk 13 hours to get home to Staten  Island.

He is now suing the maintenance firm, ABM  Industries., Inc, for $10 million, accusing them of wrongfully firing him and  ignoring his pleas to stay in the building or get help heading home.

Mr Zecevic, who worked for the company for 12  years, is now fighting to get his job back as he struggles to get his life back  on track after the petrifying ordeal.

‘They destroyed my life, what they  did to  me,’ he told the New  York Daily News. ‘I worked day and  night. They destroyed my life for  nothing. Nothing.’

On October 28, the day before the storm  barreled through New York City,  Zecevic helped stack sandbags at the building  and move equipment to  higher floors, DNAinfo reported.

He and his colleagues slept in the building  for the next two nights as the roads had been shut and it was too dangerous to  venture outside, he  said.

But according to the  lawsuit, on the morning  of October 30, his boss had become  drunk on alcohol he’d found at a restaurant  in the building and told him to collect a co-worker’s shirt.

Danger: A flooded street is seen on October 29, 2012, in the Financial District of New York 

Danger: A flooded street is seen on October 29, 2012, in  the Financial District of New York. Zecevic said he had to wade through  waist-high water for hours to get home to Staten Island

At 9.40pm, Zecevic  was still working when his boss approached him and told him he had been fired,  without providing a reason. When Zecevic  asked to stay at the building, the boss said he could not.

The lawsuit notes that the boss smelled  strongly of alcohol.

‘I said, “I live in Staten Island,  there’s a  state of emergency, there are no cars, no trains, no lights”,’ he said. ‘I was  begging for my life.  But he said, “Leave the building”.’


Zecevic began the walk home, but was picked  up by a police officer who returned him to the office and chided the boss for  his dangerous decision. When he left, the boss sent Zecevic  away again.

He began the walk through the waist-high  waters, fearing he could be injured or killed by downed electrical lines,  building work or disease from the sewage.

‘It was dark and cold,’ he told the Daily  News. ‘I could see the red emergency lights on the bridge. There was nobody  around. I was scared.’

Fears: He said he continues to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and nightmares that he will drown 

Fears: He said he continues to suffer from post  traumatic stress disorder and nightmares that he will drown

After eventually crossing the Brooklyn  Bridge, he headed south to the Verrazano  Bridge, where a police car escorted him across. He walked the four  miles to his  home, shivering and in pain.

Following the ordeal, he has suffered with  PTSD and considered suicide, according to the lawsuit.

Zecevic later learned that he had been fired  for stealing $100 from his colleague’s shirt. He denied this and the Department of Labor ruled that Zecevic did not  commit any misconduct.

‘I have been practicing law for over 25  years, and thought I had seen it all in terms of mistreatment from  employers,’  Zecevic’s lawyer, William Perniciaro, wrote to  ABM. ‘However, your company has  the dubious distinction of the worst  abuse of human dignity that I have ever  witnessed.’

ABM did not respond to a request for  comment.

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