A Connecticut man has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, claiming his bosses told him to “suck it up” and “get over it” after he survived the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.
Charles Giampaolo attended the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in October 2017 when a gunman opened fire on the crowd in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. His father-in-law, Kurt Von Tillow, was shot while standing right next to him and was among the 58 people killed, according to the suit.
The aunt and cousin of Giampaolo's wife, Jessica, were among the 500 wounded; Charles and Jessica Giampaolo reportedly used a phone charger to staunch their bleeding.
The lawsuit, filed in Torrington Superior Court on Tuesday, states that Giampaolo returned to work three weeks later at Elevator Service Co. Inc., owned by Steven and Linda Roth.
Giampaolo had worked at the business since 2015 executing maintenance repair contracts and had been promoted twice prior to the shooting, according to the complaint. But he soon began experiencing panic attacks, claustrophobia, sleeplessness and anxiety and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Despite his symptoms, the complaint states that Giampaolo “did not miss a beat at work” and scheduled therapy appointments during his lunch break or at the end of the day.
He disclosed his diagnosis to Elevator Service's co-owners after attending a work event that triggered his symptoms because of the loud music, strobe lights and large crowd of 800 people. He left the event immediately, according to the complaint.
After that incident, the lawsuit argues that that the employers' attitude “morphed from warm support to outright hostility.”
The owners reportedly stripped him of his managerial duties and reduced his commission several times without offering an explanation.
When Giampaolo confronted Steve Roth about it, he allegedly referenced the massacre by telling him, “October has come and gone, you need to get over it.”
Giampaolo sent an email cited in the complaint criticizing Roth, whom he described as a onetime “mentor and father figure.”
“Your lack of empathy for me and my family has been noted. Never once have you asked how I am. How am I doing or have just pulled me off to the side and asked if I needed to talk,” Giampaolo wrote in an April 2018 email. “Instead you attack me where it hurts the most. My pockets.”
Giampaolo ultimately walked off the job during another meeting later that month where he was demoted.
During the encounter, Linda Roth reportedly compared the mass shooting to her surviving breast cancer.
The complaint states that she told Giampaolo that she had "sucked it up, and you should do the same."
The lawsuit seeks undefined economic and compensatory damages, in addition to attorney fees.
Steven Roth declined to comment to The Hill on Thursday.