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Officer says she was fired from OPD because of breast implants

An Orlando police sergeant who survived breast cancer said she was fired because her implants prevented her from wearing a bulletproof vest. (WFTV)
An Orlando police sergeant who survived breast cancer said she was fired because her implants prevented her from wearing a bulletproof vest. (WFTV)
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Updated: 6/05/2013 11:37 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. (WFTV) -- An Orlando police sergeant who survived breast cancer said she was fired because her implants prevented her from wearing a bulletproof vest.

Master Sgt. Rhonda Huckelbery's lawsuits say she was allowed to work without a vest on doctor's orders for 17 years.

The Orlando Police Department hasn't said why it is now waffling about the vest and her job, because it won't comment on pending litigation.

Huckelbery said after she was fired, she was brought back for light duty.

Huckebery said she blames Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney's leadership for the gender, age and disability discrimination and retaliation she said she's suffered.

Huckelbery is under orders not to talk and her lawyer would not go on camera.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said that argument would be powerful in front of a jury.

"All you need is one breast cancer survivor or a relative of a breast cancer survivor and it's not going to be, 'Should she recover damages?' It's going to be, 'How much can we give her?'" Sheaffer said.

Huckelbery, a 25-year OPD veteran, was supervising the tactical crime unit three years ago, during a controversial shooting at a Target on East Colonial Drive.

Huckelbery was cleared of any wrongdoing, but her lawsuit said months later, a new supervisor gave her her first bad review and kicked her out of the unit.

The suit said she filed a grievance and since then, every assignment she's requested has been given to younger, less experienced male officers.

Sheaffer said officers usually file lawsuits against their departments as a last resort, knowing even if they win, their careers are over because of the stigma of taking the issues to court.

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