TAMPA – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently dismissed a discrimination suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) filed a veteran and former Bay Pines VA Healthcare
System police officer.
In an Aug. 29 filing, U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington ruled that the civil rights discrimination claim against the VA filed by Carlton Hooker Jr. to be unfounded.
Hooker alleged he was prohibited from filing for future employment at the VA after being permanently banned from the campus. Hooker claimed that the lifetime ban was discriminatory based on race, age, disability and reprisal. According to the lawsuit, “this restriction denies him a fair opportunity to apply, compete and obtain any type of employment at (Bay Pines)."
The suit, filed in April and amended in May, claims that Hooker was was removed from a February 2016 VA town hall meeting for admittedly causing a raucous. Officers filed a disorderly conduct complaint against Hooker for his behavior at that meeting.
Hooker was allegedly “banned from the entire Bay Pines VA Healthcare System” by the director of Bay Pines in December 2016, according to the lawsuit. Additionally, hospital employees were allegedly told to only allow Hooker into the hospital for personal or emergency medical treatment.
Additionally, Hooker alleged imposition of the ban was unconstitutional because the ban was “based on information contained in a police report for which (Hooker) was never charged, fined, adjudicated guilty, or imprisoned” and “denies (Hooker0 access to federally protected activities, such as VA benefits, services, programs, etc. at Bay Pines.”
Hooker has filed at least eight lawsuits against the VA and multiple employees of Bay Pines, according to court documents. He had been employed with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System until 2010 when his employment was terminated. He has filed so many suits, that he was banned from, "filing any future action related to his employment or termination from the Department of Veterans Affairs without permission of the court."