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Obese Worker For City Alleges Harassment

Sun., Nov. 12, 1995

A 500-pound city employee, fed up with being called the “Goodyear blimp” and “Shamu” the killer whale, is suing the city, his boss and two co-workers for alleged harassment and discrimination.

Brooks Motto filed his suit last week in Superior Court in Jersey City. He’s asking for unspecified damages, attorneys’ fees, back pay and employee benefits he claims the city has withheld from him.

Motto charged his superiors assigned him menial tasks and unfairly reprimanded him because of his girth.

City attorney Donald Scarinci said he was skeptical of the suit. “On its face the suit doesn’t look to have an air of truth,” he said.

It names the city, Parks and Public Property Commissioner James Madonna and the two co-workers.

The city is trying to suspend Motto for 45 days without pay for an incident in which a wall of a vacant building Motto was cleaning fell and damaged a vehicle.

Motto, who has been diagnosed as morbidly obese, has been suspended on several other occasions.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that the Americans With Disabilities Act protects morbidly obese people from discrimination. Morbid obesity is a medical term that means 100 percent over normal weight.

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