As a campus police officer at Stevens Institute of Technology, a British immigrant managed to work his way up to the position of deputy police chief. However, after a year of conflict with his police chief, the man was terminated. But was his dismissal legal? A lawsuit, once thought settled, has reignited discrimination charges at a New Jersey college as the former deputy police chief continues his lawsuit.
Former Stevens Tech Deputy Police Chief Sues for Being Fire
In 1992, a man from Britain married a U.S. citizen and immigrated to the United States. He worked as a security guard until the chief of Stevens Tech campus police recommended that he apply to be an officer on campus. During his application to become an officer, the man stated his immigration status, and after a dispute in 1996, the man had once again declared his immigration status to his employers. No effort was made to terminate him then, but in 2013, that allegedly changed.
The former deputy chief claims that in 2013, the police chief wanted to hire one of his friends to work for the campus police. When a position wasn’t open, the chief allegedly targeted his deputy chief, making the workplace hostile. On May 24, 2014, the deputy police chief at Stevens Tech was fired, though it wasn’t a total surprise. Over a month and a half before, the man was suspended on the grounds that he was not a U.S. citizen. Up until this point, the deputy chief’s immigration status had never seemed like an issue.
This alleged treatment led the former deputy chief to file a lawsuit against his former employers, but the suit was dismissed not long after. A Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that New Jersey has a state law requiring law enforcement officers to be U.S. citizens. Refusing to give up, the deputy chief took his case to appellate court. The court dismissed public policy allegations made by the lawsuit, but otherwise said the lawsuit could move forward.
Though New Jersey has a law preventing non-U.S. citizens from becoming police officers, that statute does not seem to apply to law enforcement officers at educational institutions. Now, it must be determined if this officer was legally dismissed. If not, then he could be entitled to backpay as well as a reinstatement into his former position.
This story was brought to you by the wage violation attorneys at Keefe Law Firm—protecting the hard workers of New Jersey.