Ramapo's first Orthodox cop sues department, town for discrimination
BY STEVE LIEBERMAN • Journal News
Ramapo's first ultra-Orthodox Jewish police officer has filed a federal labor complaint accusing the town and dozens of fellow officers of discriminating against her because of her religious beliefs.
The Ramapo town attorney today refuted Officer Baile Glauber's contentions in the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An EEOC complaint is usually a precursor to a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Michael Klein stated the town and police department respected Glauber's religious beliefs and even provided her with a work schedule giving her Sabbath off.
Klein said he couldn't comment on Glauber's contentions her fellow officers shunned her or harassed her.
Glauber, 31, a Spring Valley resident and divorced mother with a young son, contends her religious beliefs were the focus of discussions since she interviewed with police brass for a job in January 2008.
"I was interviewed for approximately one and one-half hours, during which time I was repeatedly questioned about little else other than how my religious background and my religious observance would affect my ability to perform my job as a police officer," Glauber's complaint states.
She claims she was asked if she could arrest a rabbi, handle a hostage situation at a yeshiva or work on the Sabbath.
The complaint states police didn't think Glauber could handle being an officer because of her upbringing as a Satmar Hasidic Jew, her lack of life experience outside the religious community.
She contends the department gave her a hard time about taking Jewish holidays off.
Glauber currently is working inside the station because of a non-work-related injury. She had hurt her ankle at the Rockland Police Academy, but managed to complete the physical aspect of the nearly six months of training.
She has not completed her field training and her one-year probation - when the department will determine if she remains on the force - ends in February.
Glauber's nomination as a police officer was strongly supported by Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence as a means to break ground for the Orthodox community.
Klein said Glauber's discrimination accusations lack merit. He said town and police officials followed the laws and made accommodations for Glauber, including a special work schedule.
Klein declined to speculate on Glauber's motivations or comment on whether her fellow officers hurt her feelings.
"Any allegation regarding impropriety involving police department regulations and policies is without merit," Klein said. "Our actions clearly who we tried to comply with state and federal law."
Glauber couldn't be reached for comment. Her attorney, Chaim Book of Manhattan, did not return a call for comment.