Former New York Giants employee claims workplace was a 'culture of violence' in lawsuit

A lawsuit by the New York Giants’ former video director accuses the organization of promoting a “culture of violence" in the workplace that led to physical fights between assistant coaches and staff with little repercussions.

David Maltese, who worked in the organization for 30 years, claims team management retaliated against him for reporting that his immediate supervisor assaulted a co-worker in the video department in September, according to a Superior Court lawsuit.

The incident was one of several altercations among employees that Maltese witnessed over his long career, alleges the suit, filed last week. Alerting management to the fight precipitated his unceremonious firing without reason in March, Maltese claims.

"After 30 years of dedication to the Giants organization, it was devastating to lose my job for doing the right thing and trying to protect my co-worker from violence and abuse," Maltese, of Kinnelon, said in a statement. "No employee should ever have to suffer assault and intimidation in the workplace, and certainly not at the New York Giants."

The September fight involved Tyseer Siam – the team’s director of football data and innovation – who attacked Steven Venditti, one of Maltese’s subordinates, the suit states. Maltese allegedly raised complaints about Siam in an email to the organization, after it placed Siam and Venditti in seats near each other on a team flight to Chicago during the 2020 season. But the email, according to court documents, was rebuffed by the Giants’ senior vice president and general counsel, William Heller, who accused Maltese of “trying to set us [the Giants] up.”

Siam was later removed from supervising Maltese, but the organization declined to fire him, according to the complaint.

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Representatives from the Giants said they are aware of the lawsuit and will “aggressively defend the organization and its employees against the meritless claims.”

“Beyond that, we do not intend to make further comment on this matter,” the team said in a statement.

Maltese says he has “personally been victimized by the culture of violence in the Giants’ workplace.” In one instance he was physically attacked by the Giants’ former video director John Mancuso, the complaint says.

The lawsuit also recounts an incident in December 2004, when then-assistant coach Dave DeGuglielmo “ragefully tackled Maltese, driving him into a table while screaming 'I’m going to kill you.' ” Three players and a coach had to restrain DeGuglielmo, while other coaches and Chris Mara – the Giants' senior vice president of player personnel – looked on, according to the suit.

The team took no disciplinary actions against DeGuglielmo, the lawsuit says, a decision that “endorsed and condoned a culture of violence in the Giants’ workplace.”

Maltese alleges that his dispute with Siam culminated with a Sept. 30 meeting that included Heller and Debra Agosta, the Giants’ vice president of human resources. The suit claims Heller berated Maltese for hiding behind personnel problems to cover up his job performance, and accused him of throwing Siam under the bus by “writing emails or saying things that might cause friction.”

The meeting allegedly ended with Heller threatening Maltese, saying he must not reveal what was said in the private talks, or else “I will personally go into your office and strangle you until you can no longer breathe, OK?”

“At the time Defendant Heller made that threat of physical violence, he was well aware that Plaintiff had a history of traumatization having been subject over the years to violent attacks by Giants’ managers and executives,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint charges the Giants and Heller with violations of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act. Maltese is entitled to unspecified damages for “pain, suffering, stress, humiliation” that resulted in medical expenses for mental and physical harm, the suit says. He also is owed for loss of income and damage to his reputation, it says.

The Giants faced another high-profile lawsuit in recent years, involving a group of memorabilia collectors who accused the team and Eli Manning of passing along phony game-used gear that was later sold as authentic. One supposedly bogus item was a helmet said to have been used by Manning during the Giants' 2007-2008 Super Bowl season.

Three collectors settled with the team in May 2018 for an undisclosed sum.

Tom Nobile covers Superior Court in Bergen County for For unlimited access to the most important news from criminal trials to local lawsuits and insightful analysis, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on Former New York Giants employee sues team over 'culture of violence'