A 14-year veteran of the police force in Haddon Township, New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit because he was dismissed from the force. The 36-year-old suffers from Stargardt disease. This is an inherited form of macular degeneration that causes increasing vision impairment over time.
According to the plaintiff, his condition was not the real reason for his termination. His lawsuit alleges, that he lost his job because he refused to comply with the inappropriate requests of the police chief. He contends that the chief’s sexual harassment, both verbal and physical, was “severe” and “repeated.” The chief allegedly proposed that the two run away together.
The township has filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, claiming that the officer was terminated because he was no longer able to do his job. According to the motion, he doesn’t meet “the minimum qualifications to be a police officer and is not qualified to perform the essential functions” of his job.
The former officer had been on light duty due to a shoulder injury. When he informed the chief of his vision problem and requested “reasonable accommodation,” he says that he was told that he would lose his job. He says that he was suspended without pay even though he is still able to handle numerous responsibilities inside the police station.
The plaintiff says he hopes that his legal action will help other officers with injuries and medical conditions that are non-work related get accommodations so that they can continue to work. He contends, “I am not seeking a better schedule nor an easier one.”
Anyone who believes that he or she has been wrongfully terminated for any reason should determine what his or her legal options are. A New Jersey employment attorney may be able to help.
Source: NJ.com, “N.J. police officer sues chief over firing, alleged sexual advances,” Greg Adomaitis, Aug. 29, 2015