Ex-president sues Perspecta Trust for discrimination
Alleges he was let go after revealing treatment for anxiety, depression
The ex-president of Perspecta Trust has filed a discrimination disability lawsuit against the Hampton-based company and its founders, Paul Montrone and Paul Meister.
Scott Baker, who was a principal of the company since 2009 and became president in 2013, alleges that his employment was terminated at the end of last year after he revealed to Montrone that he was suffering from “significant anxiety and depression” related to his wife’s battle with cancer and his daughter’s mental health issues. The suit was filed in U.S. District court in Concord at the end of last week.
Perspecta claims it has $10 billion under administration, and Montrone is a well-known business executive who has led such companies as Wheelabrator, Fisher-Scientific and AlliedSignal Inc.. He also has successfully helped push the state to loosen its trust laws.
Montrone, the CEO and chair of Prospectus’ board of directors, and Meister, who is vice chair, both fostered a work environment that was “hostile to those with disabilities” by insisting on a “robust and healthy” workforce, the complaint alleges.
From the get-go, in 2009, Baker charges he was subjected to a three-hour psychological evaluation to join the firm. In 2015, Meister allegedly suggested staying away from a job candidate because of shaky hands, assuming it was caused by depression medication, according to the complaint.
Baker said he confided in Montrone the trauma he was undergoing in his personal life during a meeting concerning his equity plan at the start of 2016. Information about Baker’s expensive medication used to treat his condition was put in his personnel file, and Meister distanced himself from Baker and excluded him from meetings, according to the complaint
Despite this, Baker said that the company thrived, achieving record revenues in 2017, and being named one of the “Top 5 Trust Companies in the World” by the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the complaint says. (The company’s website indicates that assets under administration doubled from 2014 to 2018.)
Baker says he had no negative performance evaluation, and in April 2017 the board awarded him a discretionary bonus.
On May 1, 2017, Baker says he complained to Montrone about Meister’s treatment, charging that it was discriminatory and hurting the business. Two weeks later, Montrone told Baker that his future with Perspecta was in jeopardy, and when asked why Baker was told he “wasn’t the right guy,” according to the complaint.
Baker says the company pressured him to resign. When he refused, he was told at a Dec. 8 board meeting that his employment was “ending,” with no reason given. Baker alleges that Montrone and Meister controlled the board, which he said were made up of Montrone’s former employees and had been “beholden to him.”
In January, Baker filed a complaint with the NH Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, getting a “right to sue” letter and filing suit on Oct. 6. Baker is asking to be reinstated and awarded unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and court fees.
“Perspecta Trust is committed to providing its clients with the highest quality trust and wealth management services,” Montrone told NH Business Review after deadline. “Our team of experienced trust and financial industry leaders are dedicated to meet our clients’ unique needs. The defendants in Mr. Baker’s lawsuit deny any wrong doing with regard to his termination. Mr. Baker was removed as president after it was determined that he was not providing the management and performance expected of him in his position.”
The suit also names Bayberry Financial Service Corp. and Liberty Lane Service Company LLC, two related firms also controlled by Montrone and Meister.