FDNY has implemented a new anti-nepotism policy that has sparked some headlines over the past week. The policy, which states it is merely making clear what the city charter already requires, “prohibits City employees from using, or attempting to use, their position to obtain financial gain, privilege, or personal advantage for themselves or for people with whom they are associated with, including close relatives.”
An investigator with the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office has filed suit claiming he was denied a promotion in retaliation for his having testified before the state legislature on a pension bill, and on account of his gender. Mark J. Roberts filed suit naming the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Fire Marshal Joseph E. Thomas as defendants.
A Florida firefighter who claims he was fired after reporting the misuse of COVID related funds, has filed suit alleging retaliation and whistleblower violations. Kevin Nelmes filed suit against the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District claiming that he was wrongfully terminated earlier this year.
A probationary firefighter who claims he was sexually harassed and denied an accommodation for his psychological conditions has filed suit alleging sexual harassment and disability discrimination. Johnathan Schaupp filed suit today in US District Court against the City of Casa Grande Fire Department
A California firefighter who retired in 2019 has filed suit claiming he was forced to resign due to discrimination and a hostile work environment based upon his age and disability. William Hatcher was a fire inspector/fire prevention specialist with the El Segundo Fire Department.
The owner of a building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island has filed a pro se lawsuit against the Pawtucket Fire Department, various fire officers, the city, the mayor and members of the state fire marshal’s office claiming each violated his civil rights. Mark E. Amesbury, doing business as Polytechnic, filed suit in US District Court alleging violations of his 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment rights
A former DC firefighter who spent two years in prison in Virginia has agreed to a $390,000 settlement from Fairfax County. Elon Wilson lost his job with DC Fire & EMS after being arrested by a police officer who later resigned while facing accusations of making pretextual stops.
The parents of a Los Angeles County firefighter who was shot and killed by a coworker while on duty earlier this year, have filed suit against the estate of the firefighter-shooter. Tory Carlon was shot and killed while on duty at LA County Station 81 on June 1, 2021 by Jonathan Patrick Tatone.
FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro was in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, called before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis to answer questions about why the discipline of nine firefighters for racists remarks was not made public.
The town of Brookline, Massachusetts has agreed to pay an African American firefighter $11 million to settle a dispute that dates back to 2010 and resulted in at least five separate lawsuits. Gerald Alston claims his problems began when a when a supervisor left a voice mail calling him a racial slur while he was off on a work-related injury.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit filed by an FDNY fire marshal who was removed from an investigation into the cause of a fire on the set of a Bruce Willis movie that killed a firefighter on March 22, 2018. Scott P. Specht filed suit alleging a violation of his First Amendment rights, retaliation under NY civil service law (whistleblower), and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The family of a Texas man who died after being struck by a Weslaco Fire Department ambulance yesterday has filed suit against the fire department and the unidentified ambulance driver. Juan Pedro Guerra was killed on October 4. 2021 as he crossed a road after being released from the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center.
A lawsuit filed by twelve South Carolina firefighters seeking to block a vaccine mandate, has been removed to federal court due to the Constitutional questions raised. The firefighters filed suit against the St. Johns Fire District, the fire chief, and each of the commissioners.
Nine FDNY firefighters have been suspended without pay following an investigation into racist memes. It is not clear when the suspensions actually took place but confirmation of the discipline became public in a New York Times article published last week.
A Louisiana firefighter who was terminated for failing to provide medical documentation relative to a COVID-related hospitalization, has filed suit alleging disability discrimination, whistleblower violation, retaliation, violation of his due process rights, and negligent supervision. Kevin Jerome filed suit against the Rapides Fire District # 4, Chief Britt Bolen, and the Rapides Parish Police Jury.
FDNY has prevailed once again in a lawsuit challenging its no-beard policy. In a ruling handed down yesterday, US District Court Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis concluded the OSHA prohibition of facial hair at the SCBA interface serves to create an undue hardship that relieves fire departments of an obligation to grant religious accommodations.
A Superior Court judge has rejected a request by the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters for an injunction to block the state health department from implementing a COVID19 vaccine mandate. The suit sought an injunction against the state’s planned COVID19 vaccine requirement on the grounds that it violates collective bargaining laws by imposing a mandatory condition of employment on firefighters.
A lawsuit filed by nine firefighters in the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who were terminated for refusing the get a COVID19 vaccine, has been dismissed. The dismissal was granted by Northern Mariana Islands Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho following entry of a stipulation by the parties.
A South Carolina firefighter has been charged with driving under the influence following an apparatus accident last week. John Russel Hendrix Jr. of the Starr Fire Department was operating an engine that went off the road, and rolled over.
A Colorado man who was arrested following a traffic stop in 2019, has filed suit against a fire department medic and several police officers for their roles in his arrest. Steven Reycraft filed suit today in US District Court naming the Manitou Springs Fire Department, Paramedic Ashley Wardell, four Manitou Springs police officers, the City of Manitou Springs, and a doctor/medical director.
Fire Service and Public Safety Legal Issues Blog by Curt Varone
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