Mocci v. Connelly Properties, Inc.
IRLI represented Maribel Mocci, a leasing agent, who sued her employer for retaliation when it took adverse employment actions against her when she refused to participate in an illegal scheme to harbor illegal aliens in substandard housing. Specifically, while performing her duties, Ms. Mocci noticed that the defendants were targeting and renting apartments to illegal aliens. In addition, Ms. Mocci was directed to steer citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal aliens to different apartment buildings owned by the landlord defendants. The defendants purchased dilapidated buildings in northern New Jersey at bargain prices, and then managed them, without renovating or maintaining the buildings to code. The primary technique was to lease apartments to illegal aliens, greatly boosting profits. By segregating the illegal aliens in the most dilapidated buildings, the defendant believed that illegal aliens would not complain about code violations for fear of interacting with authorities. When Ms. Mocci confronted the defendants about these issues, the defendants retaliated against Mocci for her refusal to participate in their illegal activities. Ultimately through IRLI’s efforts, the defendants settled with Ms. Mocci.