City's top toxicologist, fired after call for DNA testing transparency, receives $1 million settlement
Added 04-22-19 06:25:03pm EST - “A prominent toxicologist who lost her job after calling for more transparency about a controversial form of DNA testing won a $1 million settlement from the city on Monday.” - Nydailynews.com
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A prominent toxicologist who lost her job after calling for more transparency about a controversial form of DNA testing won a $1 million settlement from the city on Monday.
Marina Stajic said she was fired on April 9, 2015, because she voted in favor of publicly releasing an internal Office of Chief Medical Examiner study on “low copy number" DNA testing, which analyzes small amounts of genetic material. Critics have said the form of DNA testing — which the city has since abandoned — may have led to wrongful convictions.
“My votes on the Forensic Science Commission were in favor of the principle of scientific transparency, which I have stood for my entire career. No government employee should lose a job for standing up for honesty and sound science, but this was particularly hurtful for me because I had devoted nearly my entire career to serving the people of New York City and New York State,” said Stajic, 69.
"I hope that the settlement sends a message to OCME employees that they should speak up when they see something wrong, and that it is possible to fight back against unlawful retaliation.”
The case was to go to trial in Manhattan Federal Court next month. Emails uncovered through the lawsuit showed that Stajic, who worked as the city’s toxicology lab director for 29 years, infuriated colleagues with her vote.
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