Thursday, November 17, 2016

Camden Judge upholds county investigator's firing.

On September 28, 2016, Camden County Superior Court Judge Anthony M. Pugliese ruled that "the findings of the Hearing Officer and the disciplinary removal of" a female investigator in the Camden County Prosecutor's Office "were justified and should not be disturbed."

Pugliese's ruling resolved a September 17, 2014 civil complaint filed by former investigator Helen Ann Legatie.  Legatie, who was hired by the prosecutor's office in 2010, claimed that her supervisors, Chief Judith Berry and Sergeant Cathy Fisher, continually harassed and belittled her.  She claimed that Fisher had called her at the hospital one day after she gave birth by C-section and demanded that she complete on-line training. According to the lawsuit, both Berry and Fisher were disciplined for this alleged act of harassment.

According to the lawsuit, Legatie's relationship with the prosecutor's office remained rocky and resulted in her transfer to the police academy, which Legatie regarded as "a demotion" to "essentially a gym teacher position."  She alleged that a short while after the transfer she suffered a "severe emotional breakdown . . . which resulted in her utilizing 911 to seek mediation with a domestic issue with her fiancĂ©, who was also a police officer."  While there are many intervening details (see the complaint at the link above), Legatie was ultimately terminated from her position on August 19, 2014.