A former Bergen County Sheriff's Deputy filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former boss on June 24 in Bergen County Superior Court. He alleges that he was laid off from his law enforcement role in 2017 because of his Jewish faith.
In 2010, his boss was running for Bergen County sheriff. He asked him if he wanted to be introduced to different Jewish organizations to drum up additional voter support. He reportedly responded to the officer by telling him that he didn't need any of their votes. He then walked away.
That officer who made that recommendation was laid off in 2017. He believes it has to do with the sheriff finding out that he's Jewish.
When asked to comment on the lawsuit, the former sheriff simply called the former officer's allegations a complete fabrication. He said that he had no knowledge that the plaintiff was Jewish and that he didn't play any role in choosing the officers that would be laid off. He noted that The New Jersey Civil Service Commission apparently made that decision instead. They decided who would go based on seniority.
The former sheriff points out that he believes that the officer who filed the lawsuit is simply trying to capitalize on the previous accusations of racism that have been levied against him. In January of last year, the former sheriff was apparently tape-recorded making homophobic and racist remarks. He later left his position after the take recordings were released to the public.
As for the plaintiff, he started working for the county as a corrections officer in 1998. He then transferred to Passaic County Sheriff's Office for two years starting in 2004 before ultimately returning to Bergen County to work as a police officer. He notes that when he was laid off, he was forced into early retirement. This was the only way he could ensure that he'd get benefits and a pension.
It's unclear how much in damages that he's hoping to collect in this matter.
It's unlawful in New Jersey and every other state in the country for a worker to be discriminated against because of their race, religion, ethnicity and for other protected reasons. Individuals who have been denied advancement opportunities or let go because of this should consult with a wrongful termination attorney here in Burlington who has experience in handling such cases.