- Associated Press - Monday, April 21, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - A 19-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who says she was forced to retire because of a hearing impairment she suffered 14 years ago has filed a lawsuit seeking to get her job back.

Detective Delores Facey said in her complaint she is able to do her job with the help of hearing aids. Her lawsuit, which was filed against the city and its municipal retirement board, alleges discrimination based on disability.

On March 31, Facey’s supervisor ordered her to turn in her handgun and the federal credentials she used to work with the FBI in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, to which she had been assigned just five months earlier. She was then escorted out of the unit’s downtown office.

“I just started crying,” Facey, a married mother of three, told The Boston Globe (https://bit.ly/1i7DO2c ). “I was hurt. I was embarrassed.”

The Police Department said it could not comment on pending litigation. City officials said they could not comment because they had not seen the complaint.

Facey suffered hearing loss in 1999 when she practiced at the department’s firearms range without ear protection. Hearing aids helped her hear at normal levels and she was able to stay on the force for years.

She returned to work in March 2013 after an extended leave for an unrelated back injury.

But department officials filed an “involuntary accidental retirement petition” with the city’s retirement board, stating that Facey had to retire not because of her back, but because of her hearing.

A three-doctor panel hired by the state examined her and unanimously agreed that her impairment qualified her as too disabled to perform her duties. Facey countered that she was not tested while wearing her hearing aids.

On March 18, the board informed Facey that it had voted to force her retirement.

Her lawyer, Harold Lichten, said there is nothing forbidding Facey from wearing hearing aids on the job.


Information from: The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com

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