On Aug. 6, the city Council of Hoboken, New Jersey, voted to authorize the mayor to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former city employee. The lawsuit stems from an alleged disagreement between the mayor and a woman hired by the city as its Environmental Services Director. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff had alleged that the mayor had forced her out in 2011 after learning that she had encouraged another former city employee to pursue other litigation against the city.
The plaintiff alleged that her duties as Environmental Services Director were curtailed significantly after the mayor learned that she had dinner with the former Public Safety director. That former director had previously won a judgment against the city, which is now under appeal, for being forced to resign after threatening to disclose the city's involvement in illegal activity. The plaintiff alleges that her relationship with the mayor soured after the mayor learned of the eventful dinner.
The change in the relationship between the mayor and the plaintiff represents a drastic reversal. Just 16 months earlier, the mayor hired the plaintiff and lauded her resume on the city's website as a public works manager, certified planner and architect.
The exact terms of the wrongful termination settlement will not be revealed until the case is disposed, but the resolution was adopted with five votes for the measure and one abstaining.
The plaintiff has been serving as the borough administrator of Union Beach, New Jersey, since 2012. Her work in the recovery efforts of that area following Hurricane Sandy received favorable attention in the media.
New Jersey residents should know that under most conditions, employers have a right to terminate workers for little reason. However, employees who are under contract or fired in retaliation for exposing the employer's misconduct may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Source: Hudson Reporter.com, "Council awards settlement to terminated employee" Carlo Davis, Aug. 10, 2014