First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Ohio Firefighter Alleges Retaliation Over Refusing Prior Promotion

Today’s burning question: I’m a black firefighter and in September, 2010 I placed 5th on a promotional exam for lieutenant. Last December, the chief offered me a promotion to lieutenant, but when it was disclosed that I was selected out of turn because of my race, I turned it down. Now the chief has gone past me on the list, and I think it’s because I didn’t take the promotion last year. Do I have a case?

In a nutshell, that is the story of firefighter William Phelps of the Berea Fire Department in Berea, Ohio. Dave Statter covered this one quite well, so I won’t repeat it all here – suffice it to say: you can’t make this stuff up!!!!

Here’s is Dave’s take.

Here is a copy of FF Phelp’s complaint. phelpslawsuit

More on the story.

Comments - Add Yours

  • ukfbbuff

    My 2 cents from Calif..

    My FD allows up to three “Turn Downs” for a

    If William Phelps is being hired off of a
    “Currently” Used Exam List (ie., years 2010-2012) he should be given the job offer.

    If on the other hand, if this Promotion is off of a “New” List (Newly established after Septemebr 5, 2011) then he has to Compete with all of the other candidates.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.