Discrimination Lawsuit
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A discrimination lawsuit was filed against the City of Johnstown Tuesday, along with its former Johnstown police chief, Craig Foust, and its former acting city manager, Melissa Komar. Scott Haymaker, a former Johnstown police officer and detective, filed suit in federal court on Oct. 9 alleging he was not given equal opportunities at the Johnstown Police Department due to his military affiliations. Haymaker joined the United States Army in 1988 and the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1996. He was hired by the Police Department in 1997 as a patrol officer. According to the lawsuit, in 2004 Haymaker became a detective where he was promoted to the Police Department's Bureau of Criminal Investigations, also known as BCI. The lawsuit said in 2011, Haymaker was promoted to the position of patrol sergeant. Throughout his career with the Police Department, the lawsuit said Haymaker was periodically deployed. When he returned from deployment, it states the chief of police at that time, Craig Foust would repeatedly express frustration with Haymaker due to his military affiliations. It said Foust repeatedly complained about how Haymaker's active duty deployments inconvenienced the Police Department. The lawsuit also stated Foust stated that Haymaker could either be a police officer or a soldier, but not both and pressured other police officers into asking Haymaker to voluntarily resign his position with the BCI, on the basis that Haymaker's military related absences were creating problems for the other detectives in the BCI. The lawsuit alleges Haymaker was demoted and or removed from consideration for several promotions due to his military obligations. Paperwork stated after taking a military leave in 2011, Haymaker was transferred from the BCI back to the Patrol Division. Haymaker filed a complaint regarding the transfer and as a result was promoted to patrol sergeant. It stated in the fall on 2011, a vacancy was posted in the BCI where Haymaker applied and was selected for the position. It stated his selection was contingent on him voluntarily surrendering his promotion to sergeant, which he did. It also stated when Haymaker returned from his deployment in June 2013, he asked to be reassigned to the Task Force or to be promoted back to sergeant. The lawsuit said those requests were ignored. In March 2014, it said Haymaker was transferred from the Detective Bureau back to the Patrol Division, alleging Haymaker was also suspended for purportedly not following the chain of command and removed from the promotional exam list. In 2016, after contacting a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act USERRA investigator, Haymaker was allowed to take an exam for two separate captain's positions after first alleging he was not permitted to take the exam. He submitted his application for captain, but said it was unsuccessful. Haymaker claimed two individuals chosen for the Captains positions had less supervisory experience than he did. The lawsuit said neither officer promoted had military affiliations or had been inactive during their employment with the Police Department. In March 2017, Haymaker said he applied for the chief position after Fousts retirement where he was not even interviewed for the position. Haymaker retired from the Police Department in April 2017. According to paperwork in the lawsuit, USSERA "prohibits discrimination in employment against an individual on the basis on his or her military service. Specifically, a person who is a member of a uniformed service shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership application for membership, performance of service, application of service, or obligation." The lawsuit stated the City of Johnstown violated those provisions by denying Haymaker promotional opportunities due to his military service. It also stated Foust and Komar retaliated against Haymaker when they failed to appoint him to the position of captain. The lawsuit said Komar set policies for the city as acting city manager and had authority to make policy-making decisions on behalf of the city. Haymaker is requesting Foust and Komar be jointly liable for damages in excess of $50,000 including compensatory damages for embarrassment, humiliation emotional distress and damage to reputation that he suffered as a result of their unlawful conduct and punitive damages. Haymaker is demanding a jury trial.