A Brooklyn cop and Seventh Day Adventist was derided as a “scammer” after she requested to be off on Saturdays to worship, according to a lawsuit.
When she signed onto the job in 2016, Johanne Saint-Jean claims she was told she’d be able to adhere to her faith, a Christian sect that observe the sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Instead, she spent the next eight years being chastised by superiors who allegedly told her, “‘You’re not Jewish. Why are you practicing like you’re Jewish?’” Saint-Jean, 37, told The Post.
Bosses told Saint-Jean “there is no place for her in the police department” because of her religion, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.
Saint-Jean, who lives in Baldwin, LI, said she joined the NYPD at age 29 because it had been a dream of hers, but that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
She was granted religious accommodations to have her required days off.
But bosses told her other cops were angry a newbie would get a weekend day and began criticizing her beliefs.
“I don’t understand your religion,” one boss told her, according to court papers. “Your religion is messed up.”
A supervisor also said her religion was “not for black people” and she starting being assigned to work Saturdays, she said.
As a result, she was forced to use her own accrued time off for the Sabbath and has lost out on valuable overtime and transfers to specialized units, she claims in the legal filing.
Her problems multiplied in 2020 when Sgt. Robbin Abrams became her new boss, she contends.
He allegedly told her that “no cop wants to work with you because you are a scammer.”
That same year, her bosses decided she was absent without leave on a Saturday and sent Nassau County police officers to her Long Island home “to harass her,” she claims in the litigation, which seeks unspecified damages.
“When the officers arrived they informed her that she was AWOL and stated that her supervisors had not been able to reach her,” the suit states. “This was preposterous as plaintiff was off on that day.”
She has filed four or five formal complaints, but they only led to more bullying, she said.
Saint-Jean, who has three children — ages 6, 14 and 16 — hopes the lawsuit will force the NYPD to change.
“I’m asking for a change so nobody else who comes on has to deal with this, especially as a black woman,” she said. “Some days I get to work and I sit in my car and I think, ‘Should I go in? I can’t do it.’”
“Publicly, the NYPD champions their diversity as a tool necessary to protect the diverse population of New York City,” said her attorney, John Scola. “In practice, officers like Johanne Saint Jean are denied advancement within the department and openly harassed for asserting their religious beliefs.”
The NYPD said in a statement it “does not tolerate discrimination in any form.” It declined to comment on pending litigation. Abrams couldn’t be reached for comment.