A recent appellate decision in the case In the Matter of Christopher D’Amico, City of Plainfield Fire Department demonstrated once again that New Jersey civil service employees have an effect means of redress for when they are wrongfully disciplined.
The D’Amico Case
Christopher D’Amico passed the New Jersey Civil Service test and was hired to be a firefighter by the City of Plainfield, a civil service jurisdiction. As part of his application, D’Amico was required to prove their residency. D’Amico submitted several documents, including an insurance card. He admitted that he modified the card to list his actual residence in Plainfield. Plainfield’s hiring committee recommended against hiring D’Amico because of the alteration, but the Fire Chief hired him anyway. D’Amico attended the fire academy. A citizen questioned several cadets’ residencies. The concern about D’Amico was determined to be unfounded, but the City reexamined his application. Even though the address was accurate and the change was known by the City when it hired him – and was admitted by D’Amico – the Director of Public Safety ordered the Chief to terminate D’Amico’s employment. When D’Amico and two other cadets reported to the Department for their first day of work they were fired, in D’Amico’s case not because of his residence, but because of the alteration.