An ICM Partners agent has filed a wrongful termination suit, alleging he was fired after being wrongfully accused of defecating on the bathroom floor.
Spencer Baumgarten, 58, alleges that he was interrogated in August by the HR director, Cindy Ballard, who accused him of defecating on the floor of the gender-neutral bathroom at the agency’s New York office. Baumgarten said he was humiliated and shocked by the allegation, which he denied.
Baumgarten said that gossip about the incident quickly spread around the agency, and many people approached him to inform him they had heard about it. The next day, he sent an email to Ballard copying the company’s general counsel, accusing her of engaging in a “ridiculous witch-hunt.” He also suggested she ask one of the “disgruntled agents” who had recently been fired.
“You think I’m that disgusting or discourteous to others and even if I had an accident, I wouldn’t have cleaned up for myself, I would never do anything like… which you described,” he wrote.
In a later conversation with the general counsel, Rick Levy, Baumgarten complained that Ballard had made him the subject of office gossip.
“The fact that people are talking about it internally is unacceptable,” he told Levy. “She left me vulnerable and exposed.”
According to the suit, Levy apologized on behalf of the company and explained that Ballard had to ask everyone who was seen on surveillance video. Unmollified, Baumgarten threatened to seek legal counsel.
A few days later, Baumgarten met with Chris Silbermann, the agency’s managing partner, who informed him that “it is just not really working.” Baumgarten was told that he would have time to “transition” to something else.
Baumgarten said that within weeks, he began hearing from people that he was leaving the agency.
Baumgarten alleges he was wrongfully terminated, and lists causes of action including age discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, and defamation. ICM Partners declined to comment.