Central Islip, New York. Sebastian Eric Rodriguez, of Seaford, wanted to be a Nassau County Correctional Officer just like his dad, Michael Rodriguez, who has worked at the jail for nearly 20 years. In 2007 and 2008 Rodriguez applied, scoring high marks on the entrance exams and physical tests. All that was left was for Rodriguez to be interviewed or screened by the Nassau Police Department. He left his home, cell phone numbers and his address with them while he waited to be interviewed. They called him on his cell phone but he did not get their messages until after he received a letter from them saying that he was rejected because he did not come in for the interview.
Rodriguez, by his attorney, Thomas F. Liotti, brought a Special Proceeding before Supreme Court Justice Hon. Michelle Woodard which he won. The Court found that the County, the Police Department and the Civil Service Commission abused their discretion in not hiring Rodriguez. The County appealed and won in the Appellate Division, reversing Justice Woodard’s decision.
The New York Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal and Rodriguez brought a complaint before the Economic Opportunity Commission obtaining a right to sue letter from them in March, 2012. Rodriguez has now sued the County in federal court alleging a violation of his civil rights based upon national origin. He has claimed a pattern of discrimination of the part of the County against Hispanics and other minorities. He also alleges that he was discriminated against because of budgetary problems and fiscal mismanagement within the County. In his papers he refers to a lawsuit brought against the Police Department by the Department of Justice for discrimination in hiring. The papers complain that the jail itself has been mismanaged resulting in suicides by guards and prisoners and even murders of prisoners by guards, costing the County millions in lawsuits and causing an investigation by the Department of Justice into more than one thousand cases of brutality. The Police Department has been criticized for running an unaccredited lab which had to be shut down. More than nine thousand drug and alcohol tests had to be rerun at a cost of millions of dollars to taxpayers.
Rodriguez said: “All I ever asked for was the right to work.” His attorney, Thomas F. Liotti said: “With unemployment at 9%; fiscal mismanagement and rampant discrimination on top of it, young people and minorities are having an impossible time of entering the work force.” Rodriguez is seeking his hiring and millions for the discrimination. He wrote to the County Executive on April 23rd asking for a job as a Correctional Officer. He never received a response.