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
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. 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
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.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337677/Goldman-Sachs-cleaner-fired-drunk-boss-wade-home-flooded-streets-Hurricane-Sandy.html#ixzz2VapLe700 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook