Mager Parúas Obtains Settlement from ADP for Liability in Sexual Abuse of Children
ADP being sued by three plaintiffs who were sexually molested by employee. Landmark case would set precedent for employment companies like ADP and Paychex
Three former middle school students who were sexually abused by one of ADP TotalSource, Inc.’s employees are entitled to sue the company, says Broward Circuit Court Complex Division Judge Patricia Englander Henning – who last week denied an attempt by ADP to dismiss the lawsuit. The case involves horrific acts of child sex abuse at the hands of a Principal and school teacher of a Broward County school. This landmark case would set significant precedent in lawsuits against Professional Employment Organizations, such as ADP, Paychex and other entities.
The complaint involves substantial allegations of negligence and vicarious liability against ADP for its employee Tariq Ahmad, who served as the principal and a teacher at Nur-Ul-Islam Academy, Inc. and is alleged to have repeatedly raped or sexually molested each of the three plaintiffs (who were then middle school students) over the course of roughly a decade. One plaintiff was victimized over 100 times and required reconstructive surgery. There were other documented victims who chose not to sue. While the Academy settled for a significant amount, the case continues against ADP.
In 2001, the Defendant hired Tariq Ahmad as its employee to ‘teach’ minor children enrolled at the Academy. Despite that hundreds of sexual acts (which ADP employees were informed about as early as 2005-06) were visited upon numerous girls as young as 12, the pedophile was not terminated until 2014.
“It is despicable what happened to these children,” said Plaintiff Attorney Scott Mager of Mager Paruas, LLC, who has successfully championed the rights of children on numerous occasions. “You cannot explain in words how permanent and devastating it is to a child over her lifetime to have to cope with sex abuse.” One of the victims regularly thinks about committing suicide, and all of them remain in need of extensive medical attention. Mager says that if ADP had done their job, the children would never have been abused, and “they and their families’ lives would never have been destroyed in the horrific manner that occurred here.” These children, now adults, continue to deal with extensive psychological consequences and other substantial problems and will need lifelong care. “What’s equally disgusting,” says Mager, “is that ADP’s employee knew that there was a problem, and instead of protecting the children, worked with the school to protect the pedophile” (who was later indicted on multiple child abuse felony counts). “Incredibly, when faced with the criminal actions, ADP actually recommended that Ahmad NOT be fired.” “You may not believe this,” says Attorney Brian Paruas, “but they performed virtually no training of the teachers or staff as required by law in detecting child abuse, monitoring for sexual behavior, addressing allegations of sex abuse on girls as young as 12, or any other appropriate training for detecting and preventing such abuse.” Attorney Paruas noted that “it’s a scary situation when you have to live in fear of having your children attend a school where (without your knowledge) there is little regard for protecting children against pedophiles.”
ADP is a “Professional Employer Organization” (also called a “PEO”). PEOs act as joint employers and sell their services (such as payroll services, worker’s compensation services, healthcare benefits, human resource services, and employee training) to organizations like the school in this case. Under its ‘Employee Leaseback’ arrangement with the Academy, ADP was tasked with assigning employees to the school, had the right to either approve or disapprove of the hiring of any prospective employee, was responsible for training of all employees, and, according to other sworn testimony of numerous school officials, specifically ran the School’s entire HR department.
According to the Complaint, ADP had non-existent policies and procedures, training, and other systems required by law in order to provide vital provisions for the safe running of a school full of impressionable and vulnerable minor children; ADP knew or should have known that those who commit pedophilic sexual assault tend to seek jobs in which they get an opportunity work with young, vulnerable children, such as a school like the Academy. The latest Complaint, as well as earlier versions, contain horrific details of the nightmarish behavior visited upon each of the young girls. There is ample sworn testimony through depositions that also details the numerous incidents and supports the allegations of the latest Complaint. Indeed, ADP did not want to terminate Ahmad, specifically advising the school not to do so. When the School eventually fired the pedophile, ADP amazingly stated that the only way they could support the decision was based upon the “angst [Ahmad’s] recent arrest was causing in the community.”
The Court noted that the Complaint stated sufficient facts to find ADP liable and ordered the case to proceed forward. “ADP, who makes billions of dollars, has a responsibility to take their employment responsibilities more seriously, and care more about the protection of children,” says Paruas. “It is crazy that they think they have no responsibility whatsoever for what happened, and we believe a jury will think differently.”
The case was recently settled for a significant confidential amount.