Ex-NYC Officer Awarded $200K in ‘Phobia’ Firing

October 20, 2009

A former New York City police officer has been awarded $200,000 after a federal judge ruled she was fired based on an improper claustrophobia diagnosis.

The NYPD fired Rachel Rodriguez in 2005 because officials believed she failed to disclose she suffered from a mental condition.

A security guard in a midtown office building told officials Rodriguez suffered a panic attack in an elevator. Rodriguez said she was mistakenly identified.

Rodriguez, a former flight attendant, also rode the elevator to her 19th-floor apartment daily.

Brooklyn federal Judge Joseph Bianco also concluded a lieutenant had mistreated Rodriguez.

The city’s Law Department said the payout “was in the best interest” of the parties.

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