Sunday, July 13, 2014

Laflin faces 2nd suit related to police force

One case settled; new suit contends officer terminated for testimony in first.

May 24. 2013 12:01AM

By - - (570) 991-6116

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SCRANTON — A month after an age-discrimination lawsuit by a part-time police officer against Laflin Borough was settled, a former part-time officer filed a wrongful termination action Wednesday in federal court.

Tracey Schultz, of Wilkes-Barre, claims she was fired by Laflin council on June 14, 2011, because she testified as a witness on behalf of co-worker Thomas J. Stasik before the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review on June 7, 2011.

Stasik, 69, of Plains Township, had filed an unemployment claim for benefits and a federal age-discrimination lawsuit against Laflin on Oct. 3, 2012. Stasik claimed in his suit that he had worked as a part-time officer for Laflin for 22 years until police Chief Michael Flanagan stopped scheduling him to work shifts in February 2011.

Stasik alleged two younger police officers were hired to replace him.

Flanagan stopped scheduling Stasik to work because he refused to work third-shifts, according to his lawsuit.

Stasik alleged in his suit he was subjected to age-based slurs, was regularly referred to as the “old man” and his name was written on a piece of paper that was taped to a toy dinosaur placed inside the police department.

Federal court records say Stasik’s lawsuit settled in April. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Lawsuits by Stasik and Schultz were filed by attorney Gerald J. Hanchulak of Clarks Summit. Hanchulak and Laflin solicitor Sam Sanguedolce could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

In Schultz’s lawsuit, she alleges she was fired without the benefit of Laflin providing her with a pre-termination hearing. She also alleges Laflin retaliated against her because she testified for Stasik at his unemployment compensation hearing.

In a letter from Laflin Council President Thomas L. Parry on June 14, 2011, it states Schultz was terminated due to “willful misconduct on the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission examination” and working on her personal vehicle while on duty as a Laflin police officer.

Named as defendants are Laflin Borough, Laflin Police Department, Flanagan, Parry and council members Paul Benderavich, Patrick Gilhoohey, Scott Seeherman, Ray Pendolphi and Carl Yastremski.

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