Alabama Firefighter Sues For Wrongful Termination

Marlin Slade Chappelle, a firefighter in the Leeds Fire Department who was terminated in June 2010, has filed a Federal lawsuit against the city of Leeds and its Mayor Eric Patterson alleging retaliation and discrimination. The action was filed last Friday in US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Chappelle, a 10 year veteran of the department, alleges that he was terminated in retaliation for reporting that the fire chief and a fire captain were using city time to conduct outside business, and for complaining about alleged discrimination of a female employee in the department. The employee, Ashley Graves, filed an EEOC charge against the City.

Chappelle claims that on May 10, 2010, he sent a letter to Mayor Patterson and the Leeds City Council stating that he was being discriminated against and retaliated against, but the retaliation thereafter increased. On May 24, 2010 he was suspended and on June 7, 2010 he was terminated.

The lawsuit also alleges that Chappelle was wrongfully under paid for his job because he was not paid 5% above his base pay for having paramedic certification.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Chappelle v Leeds

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.
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