A cancer patient is suing the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming agency workers wouldn’t let her keep her “chemo cap” on for a license photo.
Jennifer Giordano, who has stage-two breast cancer, says she was humiliated and burst into tears when workers at the Eatontown MVC insisted she remove the headscarf she wears to hide her chemotherapy induced hair loss on June 14, according to court documents.
“You have to take that thing off,” Giordano, 40, recalled the MVC employee telling her as she posed for a license photo, USA Today reported.
The mom of three boys, who said she doesn’t feel comfortable around her family without her head covered — let alone strangers — compared the violating encounter to being asked to walk around without a shirt on.
“It’s like exposing yourself in a very raw way that’s not necessary, and then to have that picture on my license for years,” she said.
“You shouldn’t be made to feel that way by anybody, especially a state agency,” she added. “They’re kind of held to a higher standard.”
Giordano says another worker finally intervened and used her old photo for the license, according to court documents.
“The treatment Jennifer received at the MVC is appalling and illegal,” her attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch said. “Breast cancer is a disability under the law and the MVC should not have harassed our client in this way, especially when the remedy, to use her old photograph, existed.”
The MVC does allow people who wear head coverings for medical or religious reasons to keep them on for new photos.
Giordano hopes her suit will push the agency to train employees on how to treat customers with medical or religious exemptions.
The New Jersey MVC declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.