- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Supreme Court will review a state trooper’s million-dollar whistleblower and discrimination lawsuit that had been overturned by an appeals court.

The court agreed last week to hear Detective Sgt. 1st Class Brian Royster’s case against the state. A jury awarded the trooper more than $1 million in 2012 - a decision that was overturned by a state appeals panel in March.

Royster, who is black, filed suit in 2005 and claimed white troopers who had been accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct were disciplined less severely than black troopers and that he was given unfavorable assignments after raising the alarm about those issues.

“We tried to settle this case,” Royster said of the lawsuit last week. “They’ve been fighting me ever since because I more or less opened Pandora’s box.’”

Royster claimed the unfair treatment caused him undue stress, leading him to develop ulcerative colitis, according to the lawsuit. He said he asked the state police to accommodate his illness but was reassigned to an organized crime surveillance detail instead.

“They put me on the worst job that someone with ulcerative colitis could have,” said Royster, who now works as an assistant professor in the criminal justice department at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City.

The state Attorney General’s Office appealed the jury’s decision, arguing it was immune from the disability claim and that the whistleblower allegations were improperly considered. A judge dismissed Royster’s disability claims, finding the state could not be held liable because of sovereign immunity.

A spokesman for the state attorney general declined to comment.


Information from: NJ.com, https://www.nj.com

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