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When the riffed ‘group’ is just one worker, expect a lawsuit

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

When the borough of Netcong implemented a reduction in force, 28-year employee Delores Colabella was the only employee whose position was eliminated. Colabella suspected her termination might have something to do with her age. She’s 72.

Now she is suing the borough for age discrimination.

She also filed an injunction seeking immediate reinstatement to her job. Judge Theodore Bozonelis heard the case in Superior Court in Morristown. While he thinks Colabella may ultimately prevail, Bozonelis refused to grant Colabella’s motion to be immediately reinstated to her position. He said he couldn’t do so without direct evidence that Netcong had replaced Colabella with someone younger.

Colabella says she has never been disciplined and shows up every morning early to make coffee and turn on the air conditioning.

Final notes: The borough may have won this round, but when the court actually evaluates Colabella’s discrimination claims, the employer will have to produce documentation showing the exact reasoning for eliminating the job and who is currently performing the work. In the meantime, if Netcong hires someone younger to do the same job, it will have a lot of explaining to do.

Colabella’s move to seek an injunction also shows that employees these days refuse to take their terminations lying down.

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