Jury Finds Virginia Firefighter Not Forced to Resign

A Virginia firefighter has lost his bid to get his job back and collect back pay. Bristol firefighter Robert Taylor resigned from the department back in 2011 following allegations that he was working while on extended sick leave following knee surgery.

Taylor claims his resignation was not voluntary and his decision to rescind the resignation less than an hour after he submitted it should have been honored by the department.

Taylor testified that at a meeting with the fire chief on July 26, 2011, he was “dazed and confused”, believing if he did not resign he would be “blacklisted”. He also characterized the meeting as an ambush.

After consulting with union and legal advisors, he sought to rescind the resignation, and sought the opportunity to grieve his termination. Those requests were denied prompting Taylor to file suit in the Virginia Circuit Court for Bristol claiming the denials were a violation of his due process rights.

The case was removed to Federal court, where yesterday a jury concluded that Taylor’s due process rights had not been violated, nor had he been forced to resign. The verdict took just 20 minutes of deliberation.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Taylor v Bristol

More on the story.

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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