Paterson paying ex-affirmative action officer $125,000 to settle wrongful termination lawsuit | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Paterson paying ex-affirmative action officer $125,000 to settle wrongful termination lawsuit

By Jayed Rahman
Published: November 18, 2020

city-hall

Municipal officials agreed to pay $125,000 to former affirmative action officer Andrea Kinion to settle her wrongful termination lawsuit.

Kinion’s employment was allegedly terminated in August 2016 while she was on disability leave. She had worked for the city since 1996, says her lawsuit.

She became disabled in 2007 after fracturing couple of vertebra in her spine and severing her sciatic nerve. She had to undergo four surgeries, last of which was on November 8, 2008. She took a 2.5-year leave of absence and returned to work in 2011.

On August 13, 2014, Kinion allegedly tripped over a scaffold rod lying on the floor during work, exacerbating her disability and requiring two more surgical procedures in January and April 2015. She was approved for workers compensation and temporary disability, says her lawsuit.

Kinion, a supporter of former mayor Jeffery Jones, also claims she faced political retaliation from mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration. She alleges former business administrator Nellie Pou and former personnel director Abby Levenson, both appointed by Torres, targeted her.

Levenson “unfairly” criticized her for her work performance, claims the lawsuit filed in November 2016.

Levenson and Pou held an administrative hearing before terminating Kinion. Kinion’s lawsuit alleges Levenson tried to “pressure and coerce” another employee, Eugenia Byfield, into “lying under oath.”

Kinion was fired for missing too many days at work. Her termination was upheld by a state commission and an administrative law judge.

Kinion’s salary was $51,000 before her termination.

Kinion tried to run for mayor in 2018. Her write-in campaign failed to garner much support.

Members of the City Council approved the settlement in a special meeting on Tuesday night.

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