Promotion denied because he was fat — or did 14 lawsuits factor in?

Studies have shown some managers have a bias against those employees who are overweight. So you might think a former police sergeant could have a case against his former department when he says he was denied promotions because he was considered too fat. But there’s more to the story.
James Citta has sued the Seaside Park, NJ, Police Department claiming harassment.
Citta claims he was told he would never be promoted because of his weight. He underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2001 to lose weight, but he claims the harassment continued.
He also says he was retaliated against for issuing parking tickets to firefighters and lifeguards and that a doctored photo showing him in a Nazi uniform was distributed at a Borough Council meeting.
Citta went on disability leave in spring 2007. He was granted permanent disability effective Jan. 1, 2008. Press accounts haven’t stated the reason for the disability coverage.
Given Citta’s weight, his attempt to address the problem, the claims about the doctored photos and disability coverage, this case is already complicated.
But wait, there’s more.
Citta was named a defendant in many of the 14 excessive force lawsuits filed against the Seaside Park Police Department between 2005 and 2007. The borough’s insurance carrier has settled 12 of those lawsuits for more than $2.7 million according to the Asbury Park Press.
Citta was use-of-force training officer for the department. He was in charge of instructing police to follow state guidelines on how to use force to subdue subjects and ensuring excessive force wasn’t used.
So, when you have a sticky HR situation, just remember this case and be glad you don’t have to be one of those who try to untangle it.