NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – A veteran Long Island lifeguard has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Nassau County claiming that he was fired for failing a surprise swimming test while younger lifeguards, who also flunked, were kept on.
Jay Lieberfarb, 72, became a state lifeguard at Jones Beach in 1956 and in 2007 started working for the Nassau County Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park.
“One day they suddenly said that we had to do this timed swim,” Lieberfarb told 1010 WINS’ Mona River in an exclusive interview. “I was totally unprepared for it.”
Lieberfarb failed two swimming tests on June 23, 2009 but was given a second chance, according to the lawsuit. After passing one of the tests, he injured himself before getting a chance to take the other test.
The lawsuit claims Lieberfarb was told to return with a doctor’s note but was fired before he could provide one.
“It was sad and it was, I felt, unfair,” Leiberfarb said.
The lawsuit alleges younger lifeguards who also failed the tests were permitted to continue working until they passed both tests.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed the lawsuit seeking $25,000 in back pay and reinstatement for Lieberfarb.
The Valley Stream resident says he knew immediately that he found his calling five decades ago when he became a lifeguard and is hoping to continue his career.