BRIGANTINE, N.J. -- A city worker was awarded $660,000 over claims he was unfairly punished after reporting that fellow employees were shooting pigeons for fun on department grounds.
William M. Lakes, 46, who worked for the Department of Public Works, reported the pigeon shooting to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2003.
A local radio station later reported that police were investigating the shootings.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Lakes's supervisors then held a meeting and offered amnesty to anyone who came forward with information about the bird shootings.
Lakes said after he told supervisors what he knew, he was harassed and shunned by co-workers and later demoted.
Lakes said he felt vindicated by the jury's award.
"I feel there are other people that work there that have been wronged and are afraid to stand up for themselves," Lakes said told the newspaper from his Galloway Township home on Tuesday.
Brigantine City Manager James Barber called the jury's decision a "mistake" and said the city will try to have it corrected.