Rohan Marley Faces US$18 Million Lawsuit Over Alleged Harassment, Wrongful Termination

Rohan Marley Faces US$18 Million Lawsuit Over Alleged Harassment, Wrongful Termination

Rohan Marley Faces US$18 Million Lawsuit Over Alleged Harassment, Wrongful Termination Of Former Employee
Rohan Marley, the fourth son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, has vowed to vigorously defend himself against a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed in a US federal court by a former employee and Clover Leaf University founder Chloe Villano.
According to court documents obtained by DancehallMag, Villiano, 34, is suing Marley, 51, and his company Shashamane Group for at least US$18.7 million over alleged Quid Pro Quo Harassment, a hostile work environment, and wrongful termination.
Villiano, among other things, has alleged that Marley, not only forced her to endure a hostile work environment, but also demanded that she "not sleep with any other men."
But Marley has come out swinging at Villiano, and accused her of using the lawsuit in an attempt to "exploit" the Marley name.
"This lawsuit is without merit and I intend to vigorously defend myself in court. I will not let any person take advantage of me and exploit my family's name," Marley said in a statement.
"The allegation that Chloe Villano was terminated for any illegal reason could not be further from the truth. We are confident Ms. Villano's claims will be dismissed out of California and, most importantly, will be dismissed on the merits due to of the wealth of evidence we possess demonstrating Ms. Villano's desire to continue working with me months after she voluntarily resigned in writing as our Company's CEO," the statement said.
In the complaint, which was filed in a California Court on June 2, Villiano alleged that the incidents took place during the period March 2021 to March 2022, when she worked as CEO of Marley's Lion Order cannabis brand, which was a joint venture between himself, his sons, a retired football player and "long-time buddies." 
According to her, while "performing services pursuant to an oral or implied contract" during that period, she had positioned Lion Order "for a successful launch."
Villiano, who describes herself as "a thought leader and pillar of the cannabis business community since 2009", said she did "not fully understand at the time she agreed to officially sign on with Lion Order, was that she was actually setting herself down a path of exploitation, heartbreak, and abuse", as, while "making Defendant Marley and his 'boys' dreams a reality," she had to endure "blatant and shocking harassment on account of her gender."
In February 2022, she officially announced that she had been appointed CEO of Lion Order by Rohan to "help lead the charge" for the "roots luxury brand".
"I'm excited to say, I am building out one of the first real luxury brands In the industry with visionary Rohan Marley... Lion Order is a movement of the highest order. It represents this industry and all that it encompasses with integrity, authenticity, equality, and justice," she had noted.
The lawsuit alleged that "on multiple occasions, "the boys" were praised, while Villaino "was treated horribly and was constantly disrespected in front of all the boys."
"Rohan Marley was verbally abusive and denigrating to Plaintiff on a constant basis and spoke disrespectfully to her in meetings...  When Plaintiff pushed back on the sexist and disrespectful statements and the hostile work environment created by Defendant Marley, he told her in front of others, 'I can speak to you this way because I am f-cking you,'" it notes.
At another point, Villiano says, as her "supervisor", Rohan would randomly call her and say: "are you f-cking anybody? Because if you are, you're going to f-ck this up for yourself". 
According to Villaino, she first met Rohan in 2019 at the Cannabis Business Awards, during which he spoke to her about "wanting to enter into the cannabis industry and sought to pick her brain about how to manifest his vision into reality."
However, she said she "was resistant to joining" him in any business venture and told him she would consider getting involved "when he had a more solid plan of what he wanted to do." 
"Eventually, Defendant Marley had his business partners approached Plaintiff with a more concrete business proposal and pleaded with her to come on board as an equity member of Defendant Shashamane, the Limited Liability Corporation that would operate the fictitious business name/brand 'Lion Order'. On or about March 2, 2021, Plaintiff eventually agreed to work for Defendant Shashamane. As part of her offer, she was promised a 10% equity that would vest after two years," the lawsuit says.
The documents say that on or around June of 2021, after getting substantial pressure from Marley to expand her role in the Company, Villiano had agreed to serve as Shashamane's Chief CEO, and performed services and received monetary compensation for her work in that position.

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"Plaintiff is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that she was a statutory employee of Defendant Shashamane during the period of time that she worked as CEO. At all times, Defendants had the ability to hire and fire Plaintiff as CEO. Plaintiff reported to Defendant Marley and members of Defendant Shashamane, including John Zidziunas as to her business activities via one-on-one conversations and regular group briefings conducted by Plaintiff," it alleges.
In describing what it said was Rohan lacking the skills set to bring Lion Order to full fruition, the suit said the former linebacker had embarked on a long-percolating ambition to launch the cannabis-centered brand which presented itself as a "movement" encompassing, the production and sale of custom blends of cannabis products, accessories, apparel, and other things, but was incapable of executing it solo.
"Unfortunately, Defendant Marley possessed vision but no business acumen, especially as it related to navigating the complex logistical, regulatory, and legal hurdles associated with creating a sustainable and successful cannabis industry venture," it said.
"Defendant Marley's partners and collaborators in the venture...were similarly long in ambition but woefully short on relevant experience and contributed little to no actual labor to the venture. As a result, by 2021, Lion Order was lying in disorder with no direction, no progress, and with no one with the qualifications or experience to move the venture from conception to realization," the claim stated.
In citing what she said was the disrespect and misogyny exhibited by Rohan, and the hostile work environment he created, the other members of Shashamane, including General Counsel/COO, John Zidziunas, "devalued her work, attempted to give credit for her hard work to its male members, and conspired to terminate" her before her equity in the Company could vest.
It said Villiano objected to being singled out for termination/divestiture on the basis of her gender, but that "shockingly" Marley presented her with a "a classic quid pro quo proposition", that he would intervene on her behalf and extend his protection if she promised not to have sex with any other men.
"On or about March 21, 2022, Defendant Marley warned Plaintiff that if she was having sex with any other men, it would "fuck things up" for her at the company. Plaintiff refused to confirm to Defendant Marley in this conversation that she would accede to his Neanderthalic demands. The very next day, Defendants formally severed Plaintiff's employment with Defendant Shashamane," the suit said.
It added that "on or about December 21, 2021, Villiano had a conversation with Rohan, "after he had announced that he was having a new baby (which Plaintiff understood to be his fourth baby with different women in a span of approximately one or two years) and Plaintiff told him that she was "not a concubine."
"Plaintiff told Defendant Marley that she respected him, but she wanted to find true love and she was an honest and very hard-working employee," it stated.
Villano is seeking at least US$6.25 million for the alleged Quid Pro Quo Harassment in Violation of FEHA, $US6.25 million for alleged Hostile Environment Harassment In Violation of Fair Employment and Housing Act, and US$6.25 million for the alleged Wrongful Termination.
She's also seeking unspecified punitive damages on all three allegations, attorneys' fees, and costs.
In This Story: Bob Marley, Rohan Marley

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