A former New Jersey police officer claims he was retaliated against by his division after a complaint that it had not investigated racial discrimination and sexual harassment claims. A jury found in the Trooper's favor, awarding over $1 million. The man received compensation for pension and back pay, as well as emotional distress, in addition to an award due to failure of the State Police to accommodate his illness (ulcerative colitis) as required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
The officer claimed that allegations of discrimination would not be investigated due to a concern for a paper trail through the State Police to the Attorney General's Office. The State Police were already under federal oversight for racial discrimination when the officer claimed that white troopers were punished less severely for offenses such as sexual harassment than African-American officers.
He alleged that the Attorney General's office discouraged him from filing these reports. As a result of his complaints and allegations, the officer was passed over for promotions and an internal affairs complaint was lodged against him.
He also claimed that the ulcerative colitis he suffers from was caused by undue stress in a hostile workplace. These lawsuits worked out in the officer's favor; he was eventually promoted and went on to win this largely-paying suit. A civil verdict remains under review, as well as an appeal for punitive damages. So, the officer may stand to reap more financial gain from this unfortunate situation in which he tried to do the right thing and was wrongfully punished for it.
Source: The Star-Ledger, "Essex County jury awards State Police trooper $1.06M in racial discrimination, sexual harassment lawsuit," Christopher Baxter, Aug. 2, 2012
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