NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A former 60-year-old patrolman with the Charleston County Aviation Authority police department claims in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that he was fired because of his age.
Bobby Hoskins was hired by the department in February of 2007 and was promoted to the command staff in less than a year, according to the lawsuit. He claims that over the next 10 years as a training officer, he had “excellent” performance evaluations and received annual raises.
Hoskins claims in the suit that the issues began in March of 2017 when a younger supervisor gave him the worst performance evaluation he had received in several years, which Hoskins believes was done to try and force him into retirement, according to the lawsuit.
One year later, the supervisor threatened Hoskins to “self-demote” or it would not end well, the suit states
In April 2018, that same supervisor said Hoskins’ would be subject to a “summary review” which Hoskins’ claims he had never heard of. At that point Hoskins obtained legal counsel and drafted a document detailing the actions taken against him concerning his age.
At the meeting, Hoskins claims he had to sign documents with complaints made against him by his patrol squad as well as a “performance improvement plan” but his supervisor refused to give him a copy of either one.
Five days later, Hoskins was placed on administrative leave for allegedly mishandling an incident about a male passenger touching female passengers at the airport. Three weeks after he was placed on leave, Hoskins was fired for allegedly mishandling the incident, and the lawsuit claims no disciplinary action was taken against any of the other four employees involved in investigating the incident.
Hoskins claims in the suit that the same supervisor brought up his age in front of coworkers and referenced that Hoskins had worked with his father in the old Charleston County police department when the supervisor was just 10 years old.
The lawsuit states that in 2017, Police Chief Doug Isley told Hoskins several times that he could find someone to do Hoskins’ job at half the price when he was passed over for promotions in favor of three younger officers.
In August 2017, Hoskins claims he was transferred from training officer to patrol sergeant, which the lawsuit claims was actually a demotion.
The lawsuit also states the supervisor was building a case to fire Hoskins by allowing squad members to jump the chain of command and contact the supervisor directly.
Hoskins is suing for wrongful termination under the age discrimination in employment act and is seeking damages including back pay and attorney costs.
The lawsuit names the Charleston County Airport District as a defendant.