An Orlando police officer who survived breast cancer said she was fired because her breast implants prevented her from wearing a bulletproof vest.
Master Sgt. Rhonda Huckelbery’s, a 25-year Orlando Police Department veteran filed lawsuits claiming she was allowed to work without a vest on doctor’s orders for 17 years. The OPD isn’t saying why they’ve suddenly waffled about the vest because of the pending litigation.
Although she was initially fired, Huckelbery was later brought back for light duty. But she blames Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney’s leadership for the gender, age and disability discrimination and retaliation she claims to have suffered.
Huckelbery was supervising the tactical crime unit three years ago, during a controversial shooting, but later cleared of any wrongdoing. Her lawsuit says months later a new supervisor gave her her first bad review and kicked her out of the unit.
According to Huckelbery, after filing a grievance, every assignment she’s requested has been given to younger, less experienced male officers.
Legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said that the officer’s story would be powerful in front of a jury.
“All you need is one breast cancer survivor or a relative of a breast cancer survivor and it’s not going to be, ‘Should she recover damages?’ It’s going to be, ‘How much can we give her?’”