A Brooklyn woman who was fired from her call-center job at the city's Financial Information Services Agency in June, allegedly for singing the Bob Marley song "I Shot The Sheriff," is suing to get her job back.
While the Agency argues that 52-year-old Nicole Phillips acted in ways that deemed her mentally unfit to work in the spring of 2013, Phillip's attorney Joel Field counters that none of his client's actions justified the mandatory leave of absence that lead to her firing.
According to a letter from the Agency, shared with the Post, Phillips acted "in a threatening manner toward the deputy director... while loudly singing lyrics to herself about ‘shooting the deputy.'"
Field told us this morning, "The song, my client tells me, is a Jamaican song that's sung at weddings, and very often they would sing at work toward the end of the day. So what?" Adding, "Maybe she should not have been singing, but don't say that she can't work because she has a mental disorder!"
In a letter posted anonymously to a website called LetterToBarackObama.com in November of 2013, Phillips writes, "I am Jamaican I love Bob Marley everyone been sing[ing] in the call center when lines are slow."
The Agency also accused Phillips of pouring salt around her desk to "keep the demons down." According to Field, Phillips had spilled salt on herself, and brushed it off, adding, "That's not a reason for taking a job away for a woman who's been there for 27 years!"
The Post reports that a supervisor ordered Phillips to undergo a psychological examination in September 2013. It wasn't until the following August that a judge ruled Phillips unfit for duty, based off of two doctor reports from the previous September. Field added, "How can you make a determination that a person is unfit for duty based on an examination that took place over a year before?"
Phillips, who reportedly made an annual salary of $73,248, is suing for backpay, and to get her job back. A Law Department spokesman told the tabloid that her case is "under review."