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Brooklyn judge dismisses wrongful termination lawsuit

A federal judge dismissed a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former Brooklyn prosecutor, but also reprimanded the District Attorney for participating in a politically-charged conflict of interest case.

The man had been working in the District Attorney's office as an assistant DA while his father was running for the New York Senate in 2010. At the same time, the DA's office was conducting legal proceedings against Senator Kevin Parker for allegedly being involved in a physical altercation with a photographer for a local newspaper. Senator Parker was also the former prosecutor's father opponent in the Senate race. The son was immediately dismissed from the District Attorney's Office without pay due to unethical conduct and conflict of interest when his supervisor discovered who his father was.

The lawsuit claimed the former assistant prosecutor had been assigned to the same department that had been handling the assault case involving the photographer. However, a further complication was the arrest of the man due to a domestic disturbance. The man subsequently filed a wrongful termination suit claiming the DA had known all along who he was and his relationship with his father.

The judge dismissed the son's suit, contending it did not represent a violation of civil rights or racial bias, as had been previously claimed. However, he lashed out at the District Attorney, claiming the allegations embarrassed the DA's office by feigning ignorance to the potential jeopardy that could result from interfering with the prosecution of the assault case.

The judge asserted the above misconduct represented poor political judgment and mismanagement of workplace employees.

Spokespersons for the DA's office refused to comment. Ironically, the judge ultimately ruled against the opposing candidate for the assault on the photographer and sentenced him to three years' probation.

While this case represents unusual circumstances and multiple issues, wrongful termination is a serious issue according to New York law. If an employee suspects he or she has been terminated due to unfair labor practices, there are clear legal guidelines in the state and an employee should consult with a wrongful termination attorney to determine their options.

Source:  nypost.com, "And another slap at Brooklyn DA" Mitchell Maddux, May. 30, 2013

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