A former Brick Township school groundskeeper has filed suit against the district after being fired following his failure of a breath test to detect alcohol.
The plaintiff, Brian Flynn, argues through his attorneys that the district discriminated against him by firing him over a protected disability: alcoholism. Flynn is being represented by Eatontown attorney Gary E. Fox. The suit was filed March 30.
In the complaint, obtained by Shorebeat, Flynn states he was called to the district’s human resources office Feb. 19, 2019 to take a urine test for drugs and an alcohol breath test. The breath test showed “a positive alcohol level content” and Flynn later admitted that “he had partaken in recreational cocaine use over the past weekend” and that “he would do whatever was necessary to in order to keep his job,” according to the filing.
Flynn was immediately suspended without pay, then fired on Feb. 28, 2019, after a hearing. He was told through his union representative that he would be losing his job, the complaint states. The complaint notes that Flynn had never received any verbal or written warnings prior to the tests.
According to the complaint, alcoholism is a “protected disability” under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the Board of Education should have made a “reasonable accommodation” which might include giving Flynn “time-off and/or a leave of absence so that [he] can undergo treatment for [his] disability.”
Alcoholism is argued to have been ruled a disability in a 1988 New Jersey Supreme Court case, Clowes v. Terminix International.
The complaint also states that “other employees of defendant Brick Township Board of Education have had the same tor similar situation as that of the plaintiff, however, those employees were sent to a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center for a period of thirty days and were not terminated from their employment,” though no examples were included. Flynn accuses the district of selectively enforcing its policies on the matter.
Flynn is seeking reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and interest.
The case has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. A copy of the complaint can be viewed below.