An openly gay Hudson County sheriff’s officer alleges she was discriminated against for being a lesbian, with one lieutenant routinely calling her a “f***in’ b****,” according to a lawsuit filed last month.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Jasmine Cruz, a Hudson County sheriff’s officer since December 2003, says through the suit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court last month, that Lt. Lisa Kaminski would regularly make discriminatory remarks about the Muslim, gay and black communities.
Cruz alleges that she also faced discrimination from Kaminski for being Hispanic, claiming that her supervisor would make remarks like “Muslims need to get the F out of America” and that “it’s always the black ones, they’re always in trouble and that’s why they’re always in jail.”
Furthermore, Kaminski is accused of telling Cruz in late 2015 that she planned on replacing her with a “white male,” also accused of saying that “I don’t know how you’re gay, it doesn’t make sense” – as well as calling her a “f***in’ b****” on several occasions.
In June 2016, Cruz filed eight complaints with the department accusing Kaminski and Undersheriff Bruce Lamparello of discriminatory treatment, harassment and creating a hostile work environment over her sexual orientation.
In mid-August of the same year, the internal affairs unit interviewed Cruz about Kaminski, but the alleged conduct still did not stop, according to Cruz.
Although Kaminski went on leave in September 2016, Cruz maintains that Lamparello made sure she remained “a target.”
On September 27, 2016, Lamparello allegedly gave Cruz a memo, an “official order,” to remove personal items from the security desk, locks on drawers and her plants, although the memo did not have an official letterhead from the sheriff’s office and was not signed by the sheriff.
Additionally, Lamparello allegedly came to the court house in plain clothes and screamed at Cruz in front of a number of people on the same day the memo was issued.
Cruz further states in the suit that when she returned from a vacation in October 2016, Lamparello removed personal items from her work station, including a picture of her with her girlfriend.
Eventually Cruz, along with two other sheriff’s officers who had complained about Kaminski, were transferred from the Brennan Courthouse to the county Administration Building.
Due to the anxiety and stress associated with the transfer, Cruz took a leave of absence on October 17, 2016. On or about October 25, eight days later, Cruz alleges her complaints had been assigned to outside counsel, LeClair Ryan, for an investigation.
Despite this fact, LeClair Ryan allegedly did not contact Cruz until April 12, 2017, simply telling her that they are performing an “investigation into your September 2016 complaint.” She was interviewed on or about May 2, 2017 but has still not been informed of an outcome.
From there, Cruz was medically cleared to return to work on January 23, 2017, but she claims Kaminski would not allow her to return until April 2017, when she was placed on administrative leave.
As a result of the claims made in the suit, Cruz says she sustained a loss of income, sustained emotional and psychologic distress and harm, embarrassment and “permanent interference with the prospect of future economic advantage with the ability to obtain future employment.”
Additionally, Cruz is also suing for Kaminski and Lamparello for aiding and abetting illegal discrimination.
As only Hudson County View reported, Lamparello recently retired, effective November 24.
Paula Dillon, Cruz’s attorney in the matter, declined to comment, while a spokesman for the sheriff’s office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.