Cop Sues Coworkers and Sayreville Police Dept. for Being Called “Queer” – Is He Being a Crybaby? [POLL]
Most of us have to put up with enough crap at work from bosses and the like on a daily basis.
So to be called names by coworkers only makes the experience that much more unpleasant – but should it result in a lawsuit against those coworkers and the company - or in this case the police department in which you work?
The case centers around 16 year career veteran police officer Joseph Monaco, one of the cops in the Sayreville Police Department cited for bravery that answered the call during the 2012 shooting at the Pathmark in Old Bridge.
His complaint is that he’s being taunted as gay, even though he claims to be heterosexual, for blowing the whistle on a fellow officer he says he caught falsifying a payroll record.
Apparently the retaliatory actions by members of the force and residents alike – among them being referred to as ‘gay’ - have led to his filing a lawsuit against certain members of his department and the force in general.
According to mycentraljersey.com:
Monaco, who identifies himself as a “heterosexual male,” says that the bullying by his supervisor, Lt. Anthony Donnamaria, encouraged anti-gay slurs and taunts not only from other members of the department but also from borough residents.
After complaining about Donnamaria and acting Sgt. Michael Thiele, who Monaco says was “stealing time” from the borough by showing up late for work and not deducting the hours from his accrued compensatory time, he was ostracized by the force, he says.
This ostracism, he said, “has created a dangerous and hostile workplace.”
Monaco makes the charges against department brass in a lawsuit filed last month in state Superior Court in New Brunswick. Monaco is seeking unspecified damages for a hostile work environment and retaliation under the state’s Law Against Discrimination and the whistleblower act, as well as for defamation. The complaint names the borough, Donnamaria and Thiele as defendants.
“Police officers in other municipalities surrounding Sayreville have been told by members of the Sayreville Police Department that plaintiff is a ‘homo’ and a ‘queer,’ ” according to the complaint filed by attorney Beth Hinsdale-Piller of the Woodbridge firm Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer.
Monaco earned further scorn, he says, when he filed a complaint against Thiele accusing him of cheating the borough on his time sheet.
Monaco’s complaint says that an internal affairs investigation last year sided with Monaco and recommended that Donnamaria and Thiele be disciplined, but neither were.
Monaco says department leaders initially tried to discourage him from pursuing the complaint.
Chief John Zebrowski allegedly told Monaco that “if he went forward with a complaint ... Thiele and Donnamaria and other officers might attempt to ‘pull skeletons out of (his) closet.’ ”
Lt. David Erla allegedly warned Monaco that if he went forward with the complaint “other officers may not assist (Monaco) if he needed assistance while working.”
The alleged harassment became so severe that Monaco said he had to avoid social situations involving the department, such as union meetings and holiday parties.
Last April a doctor placed him on medical leave for “work-related stress disorder, coupled with anxiety as a result of the harassment and retaliation.”
Monaco says Zebrowski ordered Monaco to turn over his police handgun and all other personal guns, an order Monaco said was retaliatory.
After Monaco returned to work in September, Donnamaria, who remains his supervisor, refused to “speak or interact with (Monaco) in any way,” the complaint says.
Monaco says he has never been disciplined.
More often than not, anytime we've talked about bullying in school, the response has always been to "ignore the bully!" In this case, it's a little hard to ignore the bully when you have to work with them and your life may depend on it!
Would it have been better had he closed his eyes to the misdeeds of his superiors and just went on with his job?
Here's the deal: You can’t say “yes” and then complain about corruption in the state.
Were it as simple as his being called “queer” - this should not result in a lawsuit. However, it’s being harangued and threatened with non-cooperation by coworkers that have instigated the “hostile work environment” workplace lawsuit.
He needs to go forward and seek relief from the courts.