JERSEY CITY - A former Jersey City police officer has lost his discrimination lawsuit against the city.
Jurors ruled Frank DeFazio did face a hostile work environment at the Jersey City Police Department, but felt he was unable to prove the conditions there were related to his age.
A Jersey City spokesperson declined to comment on the verdict.
DeFazio told his story to Kane In Your Corner last month in an exclusive interview. He says he faced retaliation after speaking out about what he considered unprofessional behavior in the city’s Emergency Services Unit, including some officers wearing patches associated with an anti-government militia. DeFazio documented the retaliation and sent a written report to Jersey City’s equal opportunity officer, then says he was confronted with a copy of that report by police brass. He says the report had been doctored, with many passages rewritten or deleted “to make me look paranoid.”
The facts of the case were always an odd fit for an age discrimination lawsuit. DeFazio originally tried to sue as a whistleblower as well, but a judge dismissed that part of the case, saying DeFazio and his attorney had failed to file within the one-year time limit set forth in the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. DeFazio’s attorney, Theodore Campbell, tried to make the facts fit an age discrimination case, arguing the department was “trying to get rid of the older members (and) have their way with the younger guys who would follow blindly.” In the end, the jury didn’t buy it.