We hear about people in California being discriminated against on the job and being fired for all types of reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to do their job, including disability, sexual orientation, and many more. Now, on the other side of the country, a park ranger has filed a discrimination lawsuit contending that he was terminated from his position for political reasons.
The city park ranger was initially laid off in 2010, and his job was given to park ranger who had worked on the mayoral campaign of Tony Mack, Trenton's mayor. It has been a back-and-forth since then. The state's Civil Service Commission, which determined that his termination was a violation of civil service regulations, ordered the park ranger to be rehired. However, a year later, in September 2011, he lost his job again.
According to an article this spring on NJ.com, the park ranger's job loss this time was part of a wave of layoffs of city workers. However, the ranger who had worked on the mayor's campaign did not lose his job. He was allowed to move to another position as a city employee.
The Civil Service Commission once again ordered the ranger to be reinstated. In September of this year, he was back on the job.
Nonetheless, the ranger and his attorney are pursuing the discrimination lawsuit. They are asking for unspecified damages. Attorneys representing the city and the mayor, however, want the suit, which was filed in state court, handled in federal court. They argue that the discrimination allegations are a matter of federal, rather than state, law. Their requested transfer has been granted. The ranger, however, says that he does not believe the change in venue will affect his case.
This case demonstrates that there are forms of workplace discrimination beyond the usual "protected" categories. Employees who believe that they have faced discrimination and/or lost their job for reasons that have nothing to do with their performance have every right to pursue litigation.
NJ.com, "Discrimination lawsuit filed by reinstated Trenton park ranger transferred to federal court" Jenna Pizzi, Oct. 23, 2013