The Norwood Police Department is at the center of a gender discrimination lawsuit.
A veteran police officer claims she was passed over for promotion to sergeant because of her gender and age. As a result, she filed a discrimination complaint earlier this week in Bergen County Superior Court against the Bergen County borough where she works. The suit argues that no woman has ever been promoted by the Norwood Police Department.
What happened, though? Well, according to Officer Julie White, 43, she heard Police Chief Jeffrey L. Krapels say “he wanted young people as supervisors shortly before he promoted two men nearly half her age to higher-paying positions.” The suit further states:
“When that discriminatory remark was made by the chief, the plaintiff immediately realized that no matter what her qualifications showed, and no matter how hard she worked and/or how good her work product was, she was going to be unlawfully bypassed for that promotion.”
The suit added that White has been a police officer for 20 years and noted that this was not the first time she had been passed over for a promotion. In fact, in February she was passed over for a sergeant position by “two significantly less qualified individuals.” It’s important to note that she is only one of 16 police officers in the department and the only woman.
While commenting on the suit, White’s attorney, Patrick Toscano, said “a side-by-side comparison of White’s work record and the promoted officers shows the exact reason the plaintiff was not promoted was because of her age and gender.” He added, “To be clear, both promoted officers were substantially younger than White.” The suit further stated:
“Upon information and belief, no female officers within the NPD have ever been promoted to the rank of sergeant.”
As a result of the alleged discrimination, White’s lawsuit alleges that “Norwood officials violated New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination…based on White’s age and gender.” Additionally, it accuses Norwood officials of failing to properly train her managers, and failing to protect White from “abusive harassment, age and gender discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.”
In the end, White claims the treatment and discrimination she endured caused her to suffer mental anguish, “humiliation, loss of reputation, earnings and other benefits she would have received had she been promoted.”
Krapels has been the police chief for Norwood for more than 42 years. When asked about the lawsuit Norwood Councilman Joseph Ascolese noted he had not seen the complaint. Ascolese is the police liaison for Norwood.