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CEO at Ithaca company says nightmare boss has been fired, denies feds’ accusations

The CEO at the Ithaca company slapped with a civil rights lawsuit this week said he fired the plant manager whose racism and sexism federal officials claimed ran rampant.

Porous Materials, Inc. CEO and founder Krishna Gupta said he was away in Europe for the entire period of time when the plant manager was allegedly sexually harassing female employees, openly using the N-word and telling immigrants to go back to their native countries.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Gupta’s company over the manager’s alleged “ugly mix of sexism, racism and xenophobia.”

According to the lawsuit, Gupta mishandled reports of the manager’s behavior and fired a black female employee who complained. The EEOC says the owner and CEO used sexist, misogynistic language himself.

Gupta denied ever saying anything derogatory toward his employees. He said he fired the plant manager as soon as he became aware of the allegations. He said the female employee who complained was fired for poor performance.

An EEOC lawyer said she could not comment on the specifics of the investigation into Porous Materials, but stood by the claims raised in the lawsuit.

Attorney Nora Curtin said the company did not take immediate steps to protect its employees from “egregious harassment.” Multiple employees were “subjected to a hostile work environment,” she said, including directly by the CEO himself.

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